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The Biggest Restaurant Job Ad Mistakes

It’s easy to overlook the importance of writing a good restaurant job ad. But, if you want great candidates on interview day, you’ve got to make a great first impression. Make the following mistakes, and the best applicants will just skip your posting.


I have worked in restaurants for fifteen years. Sadly, I’ve skipped over hundreds, probably thousands of uninspiring restaurant job ads.

Great candidates demand great workplaces. They don’t have time to waste applying for every open position. They want to know how they can help you and how you can help them.

So, tell them how the open position will complement their skills and advance their career. Be upfront about the schedule, pay, and benefits. Give them something to get excited about, and let them decide if the position is a good fit.

But do yourself a favor—don’t make the following job ad mistakes!

Part-time with Open Availability

Landing a prized position in the food/beverage industry often means sacrifice.

We work our way up the ladder. To land a job in an exclusive restaurant, bartenders often take a step backward and barback. Servers accept positions as hosts with the hopes of a promotion during the busy season.

We know how to earn our keep.

But, one of the biggest sacrifices is open availability—especially for a part-time job.

When a job ad asks for open availability, it shows unpredictability.

We worry about scheduling issues. Are you going to schedule me three clopens and an on-call every week? Besides, if we’re seeking a part-time job, we have other responsibilities.

Hiring Managers:

Before requiring open availability, ask what shifts you need to cover. If you desperately need help on Friday Saturday and Sunday, require weekend availability. If you’re still struggling to schedule vacations and other requests, work with your team to get more flexibility.

Job Seekers:

Counter strict availability requirements by offering an availability that is consistent but flexible.

DOE/Competitive Pay

If you want to attract the best talent in the industry, tell them what you can offer. Are you willing to pay big? Tell them—the best employees are most easily convinced by pay.

Don’t forget the front of the house. Sales equal money. Servers swoon over positions that regularly sell over $1,000 a night. If you can offer shifts like that for Sunday brunch, put it into your job ad and reap the benefits.

Of course, you’re willing to pay more for more experience. But, the more you say upfront, the better your chances of attracting good employees.

Offer a range. Rather than saying DOE, say $16-$19 per hour. Your candidates will be more likely to stick around once hired if they know what they are in for ahead of time.

Application Tracking Systems (a.k.a ATS)

Use third-party applicant tracking systems (such as talentReef, greenHouse, or iCIMS) at your own risk. We spend a long time on our resumes. Third-party applications that ask us to do it fill in all your employment history and job responsibilities and finally conclude with a long personality survey discourage a lot of potential applicants.

While applicant tracking systems save time on the restaurant end, they consume more of the applicant’s time. Just like you, we are looking for more bang for the buck. Not to mention that great applicants will slip through the algorithm.

No Information About the Employer

What’s with job postings that don’t tell you anything about your potential employer. We hate vague descriptions. If we don’t know where we will be working, we become suspicious. Who knows what kind of shady stuff you could be getting into?

Your job ad is an introduction.

Say hello!

Show potential employees that they want to work with you; show them that you have something to offer them. Show them that you are proud of your restaurant and excited about the future. Tell them about what you do, what it is like to work with you, other pertinent information.

And, please, include the name of your restaurant.

Too Long

One thing that job seekers have in common with restaurant owners and managers is that we’re all busy. To attract high-quality applicants, keep your job postings short and sweet. Give information about the job requirements, the location, the pay, and the benefits. Give potential employees a taste of your work culture, and let them know about any perks.

Listing 20+ job responsibilities and another 15+ job requirements will bore most qualified applicants. They may feel like the expectations are unreasonably high.

Instead of reading the ad and deciding if they are a good fit, they’ll skip to another job posting. You’ll end up with more people who are applying for every job without ever reading the description.

Don’t fall into the cycle of hiring any warm body that walks in. Nobody wants that.


Sometimes we can sense drama. Note the difference between “upbeat cook with a great attitude” and “bad attitudes need not apply.”

We pick up on the way people treat each other in your restaurant.

It’s easy to recall past adversity when thinking about new employees. But there lies the mistake. Focus on what you don’t want in a future employee, and you waste your chance to attract the employees that you want.

Take a moment to forget the past and dream about the future. Who is the perfect person for the job? What are their skills and aspirations? What can you offer this person if they were to walk through your door today?

EZ Shortlist

We understand that you have the best intentions at heart. You want to create the best-looking job ad, you want to offer the best, you want to hire the best. But, you may not always have the necessary time to do it all by yourself. So, let us help you.

Introducing EZ Shortlist – your personalized premium recruitment service. Just tell us about the job you are hiring, and we will take care of posting, sourcing, and conducting the first round of vetting. You will receive a shortlist of hand-picked vetted candidates matching YOUR needs and saving you tons of time. And, in this business, time is money!



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My first restaurant job was working the graveyard shift washing dishes at a truck stop. I've since worked in every position in every type of restaurant. My three favorite things about the industry are the people, the contagious energy of hospitality, and the stunning views. This profession can take you anywhere. I have passed my nights in quite lakefront restaurants and watching stunning ocean sunsets. But, my favorite of all was working just below Yosemite Falls, in Yosemite National Park. I've always been a writer, and this industry has allowed me to travel, stay home with my son, and go to school, all while making good money. It is by far the best paying part-time gig! I am currently finishing a Masters in Technical Communication.