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How to build a strong employee referral program

Posted on November 29 2018

The turnover rate rose for the fifth consecutive year in 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Where should restaurant owners go to find talent that will stay?


Top performing employees may be the best sources for new team members. Take the time and care to develop a clear, concise and rewarding referral program to unlock employee recommendations and turn your team into a recruiting machine.

  1. Tier rewards. We recommend offering three monetary rewards, the first of which is offered when the referral is hired. The next comes when the new hire stays 90 days and then again at their 1-year anniversary. Worried about keeping track? Implement a system or tool to keep track for you.

You can also look into providing other incentives to employees that align with your company culture, such as complimentary meals. Just make sure you’ve got your rewards well documented.

  1. Keep the program consistent. Set up a program that is repeatable and easily trackable. Include the referral program in your employee handbook so that each employee can view the terms.
  2. Keep your word. Provide referral rewards on time and in the manner that you promised. Again, it’s often important to have a tool or process to help you keep track of the rewards.
  3. Show off your culture. The first question a potential referral may ask is, “What’s it like working here?” Highlight your culture and your crew on social media. Show the fun, the dedication, the patience and the passion through pictures and updates. If you’re just getting started, Instagram is great choice for easy-to-manage, photo-centric content.


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