You’re Invited To……A Hiring Party! The Taco Bell Approach to Recruitment by Forbes – Entrepreneurs

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Sticking up a handwritten sign in the window? Recruitment days? Job Fairs? All of these methods of sourcing staff are “old school” it seems.

Franchise giant Taco Bell is showing us how large scale recruitment really can be done, by throwing hiring parties!

The fast food franchise chains such as McDonalds, KFC, Subway and of course the Mexican fast food chain mentioned above are all facing the same recruitment challenges as restaurants and fast food joints face across the board. It’s tricky to recruit (and retain) good quality staff who are generally employed on minimum wage levels when there is so much competition out there – both from each other and from other sectors such as retail too. Fast food franchise owners aren’t in a position to be able to offer increased wages – the industry operates on the tightest margins with little wiggle room. And that’s why the savvy franchisors (and their franchisees) in the fast food world are revisiting their recruitment methods, looking at effective ways in which they can lure new recruits into their fold – and making sure they do their best to retain them long term too!

Taco Bell has been expanding through franchising since 1964 – now owned by Yum! Brand Inc – and with apparently  7,072 Taco Bell restaurants in 27 countries worldwide in 2018, it has a lot of job positions to fill! Last year the chain trialed a new recruitment initiative, with it’s very first hiring party taking place in Indianapolis in July 2018. They provided free food, games and prizes to entice job seekers to attend – and if those job seekers were suitably bowled over they could be interviewed (and hired!) on the spot. The trial event was so successful that the chain reported hiring 40 individuals during a six hour period. And on the back of that, the chain are now rolling out their hiring parties across the US – a massive 600 are planned to take place next week between April 22 and April 27 2019.

Also partying fast and hard are Shake Shack –whilst the cult burger chain does not franchise domestically, it now has a number of international locations and has just announced the launch of its tenth store here in the UK.  Again conscious of the need to step up their recruitment game in a competitive marketplace, they’re also running “pop up parties” in the pre launch stage of a new location – with freebies like sunglasses and T shirts just for attending! Again, they’ve reported great success with this method.

Like lots of employers across the board, the likes of Shake Shack and Taco Bell also use incentive schemes as part of their “bigger picture” tactics for retaining staff. As well as profit sharing schemes for employees, Shake Shack also give out cash bonuses for things like arriving to work on time, completing food safety certificates and referring friends into the company. Interestingly, in their Las Vegas locations they’re also trialling a four day week! Taco Bell offers free meals, but also educational benefits such as tuition programs and additional training. And franchise fast food giant McDonalds announced last year that has that it was trebling its tuition-reimbursement program for employees who work at its stores for at least 90 days – previously it had been nine months.

What I love about the “party on” approach to recruitment is of course firstly how cost effective it is for the employer. It’s relatively cheap to put on and promote these events and streamlines the process completely. But also importantly it fits with the personalities of the brands using it and appeals to their identified target market, establishing the company as a fun, friendly and supportive employer and working environment from the very outset and making sure that the right type of candidates come through the door. It’s great for relationship building from day one.  It’s fair to say it’s already got me thinking of different approaches to recruitment within my own franchise brand!

Of course, getting the candidates through the door is one challenge – but not everyone will turn out to be the right fit for the job. I loved reading about the approach of Ivar’s, the seafood chain which hasn’t yet reached this side of the pond. I don’t know if they still utilize this method, but it was reported that they sent any rejected candidates a coupon for a free cup of chowder or a free dessert. “We can’t hire every person who applies to us but we can keep them as a guest,” said their Director of Training Patrick Yearout. How true!

April 17, 2019 at 08:18AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs