As labor pressures piled up in recent years, operators had been working to reduce the barriers that prevent potential applicants from taking the first step toward getting a restaurant job. Namely, getting out of the house to applysomething that has become even more of an obstacle amid the coronavirus pandemic and its related restrictions.

One potential solution? The debut of “Snapplications.” Last spring, McDonald’s Canada became the first brand in that country to do a major hiring push via Snapchat. During its special one-day hiring event, potential applicants could film a 30-second video using a specific Snapchat lens and upload it to McDonald’s hiring portal. In the theme of keeping things simple, the Snapplication required just four steps.

"We wanted to offer a convenient and flexible application process to attract more young people through our one-day virtual hiring event," Stephanie Hardman, senior vice president and chief people officer at McDonald's Canada, said in a statement. "From youth applying for their first jobs to experienced candidates, Snapplications is a new and exciting way for people to kick-start a career at McDonald's Canada."

A quick-service competitor of McDonald’s is trying a different tack when it comes to the workforce—one that’s certainly aimed at improving hiring but also retention. At the start of 2020, Taco Bell unveiled that it would test paying some general managers a six-figure salary, giving managers of corporate-owned units in certain markets $100,000 annually.

The taco chain also received some hype for its somewhat unorthodox “hiring parties,” events it held last year in hopes of boosting hiring before the busy summer season. At locations across the country, the chain hosted nearly 600 of these parties, similar to job fairs, where attendees could apply for a job, take part in interviews on the spot, enjoy free food and play games such as trivia. The chain says these parties resulted in a 66% hiring boost at restaurants that participated.

Noncom connection:

At Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., the dining team hosts three-hour hiring events where students can learn more about working in foodservice. Students are interviewed and can get help filling out paperwork during that time, and Director of Dining Services Karen Adkins says many of them walk out with a new job.