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Shuckin’ Shack CEO Shares Labor-Shortage Strategy With Industry Insiders 


Hiring and keeping employees in the restaurant industry in the midst of a global pandemic has been shuckin’ hard work. 

That being said, our CEO, Jonathan Weathington, did just that. 

Not only did he manage it, he blew it out of the water. 

Pun intended. 

In less than one month he hired 30 people for one of his 16 Shuckin’ Shack restaurant locations. 

If you’re in the industry, he says that you can do it too using his labor-shortage solutions. 

Interested? Here’s the tea.

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The Impact Of COVID-19 On The Restaurant Industry

The restaurant industry has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic. 

Quarantining and lockdowns with little notice have left the industry struggling. 

Businesses had no choice but to let staff go due to no work and an uncertain future. As a result, over 2.5 million people working in the industry lost their jobs throughout the course of 2020. 

It’s no surprise, therefore, that now restaurants are opening up again businesses are struggling to find enough staff to keep operations running, let alone cope with a surge in customers. 

While there may be plenty more fish in the sea, apparently these ones don’t want their old jobs back! 

In fact, Less than half of those 2.5 million jobs have been filled. 

Our Shuckin’ Shack CEO explains how all 16 locations across the east coast have been affected and how he was so successful in the hiring process.

Employers Need To Do More For Their Employees

Prospective employees hold all the cards when it comes to their job search and employers need to recognize it. 

There has been a culture shift in the industry as a result of Covid as it’s unlikely things will ever go back to how they once were. 

Employees don’t want that. 

They’ve been bruised by the lack of job security and the toll taken by working long hours.  

The old ways of attracting new employees, and retaining current employees, are no longer working. 

So, what can employers do? 

Of course, number one is always going to be to offer a higher starting salary. This is the way that you are going to get that initial interest from job seekers. 

An increased starting wage is unlikely to be enough to turn job seekers into employees. 

In fact, it might not even be enough to get them to an interview. 

As a result, restaurant owners need to think about what else they have to offer. 

But what does this look like?

Shuckin’ Good Hiring Incentives!

Bearing in mind the need to work harder to attract new staff, Shuckin’ Shack has put in place a number of new hiring incentives. 

Our Wilmington, North Carolina location is leading the way. Something must be working as the restaurant hired 30 new employees in just a matter of weeks. 

Let’s take a look at what’s on the menu. 

Firstly, employees are paid a starting wage of $13 per hour and are only expected to work a four-day week. 

One huge incentive is a $500 bonus payable to employees after 60 days if they don’t call out of work for more than 3 days during that period.

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Have These Incentives Worked?

To an already struggling industry, the thought of giving out $500 bonuses may feel like a big stretch. 

It’s important to remember that this is a long play game. 

The benefits of offering these incentives can be seen from the outset of the hiring process. 

Restaurant owners will attest to how difficult it is to fill an open position. Before you get to this point, you’ll often have a number of applicants that don’t show up to interview. 

While the initial interest might be there when you throw the net wide, reeling in an applicant might just prove to be too difficult. 

It’s probably unsurprising therefore that the number of applicants who actually accept a restaurant job is incredibly slim. 

This is why the additional benefits offered are so important. 

It gives applicants a reason to want to work for you and through offering them incentives, they will feel more valued and appreciated. 

In turn, communication will be easier and the overall hiring process more successful. 

The result? Hiring new employees that are right for your business.

Offering Hiring Incentives As A Franchise Owner

When you’re operating as part of a seafood restaurant franchise like Shuckin’ Shack, you’re not restricted by the hiring incentives you can offer. 

The choice will be yours as the restaurant owner. 

The most important takeaway to remember is that you need to make your business stand out from the crowd. 

When there are 10 restaurants all offering jobs, why should an applicant choose you?

You need to offer them something they can’t get elsewhere. 

As with everything, there is no guaranteed success, and strategies that work for one business will not always work for others. 

Doing the same thing as other businesses when what they are doing isn’t working is, however, likely to fail. 

Be as inventive and innovative as you can with both your hiring incentives and the overall hiring process. 

Whatever you offer, it needs to be tasty enough bait to get those applicants to take a bite!

Advice For Restaurants In A Post-COVID World

It’s a challenging and difficult time for an industry that has already had a crippling year. 

When so many restaurants are throwing in the towel, how can you keep your business afloat?

The key is to be adaptable and recognize that you need to move with the times. If you don’t you’ll be left behind. 

Things are unlikely to ever go back to the way they were pre-COVID. 

Employees have realized that they want, and deserve, more. They’re also prioritizing their physical and mental health more than ever before. 

Offering higher pay is always going to be the best place to start. A fair, set wage is the minimum applicants expect. 

Hiring incentives goes further than this. 

Why not try asking applicants what they want? You can guarantee that there will be a general consensus on certain things. 

They want to feel like they’re part of a team. 

They want flexibility in working hours so they can spend more time with family and friends. 

They need to feel valued and appreciated. 

While it might feel like a lot of work, and money, in the short term, when you find yourself attracting the best employees – it’s going to feel so shuckin’ good. 

Interested in learning more about our Shuckin’ Shack Franchise? Please visit our website for more information.