News & Events

Help Wanted: In the Back-of-House

The National Restaurant Association (NRA) reports that restaurant operators nationwide are having a tough time filling back-of-house positions. In fact, for 2017, 3 out of 10 operators indicate they currently have job openings that are “difficult to fill” and list this as one of their biggest challenges.

So, why the challenge you might ask? The NRA cites a shrinking talent pool as the economy approaches a full employment status (source). But, there are additional factors we find are contributing to this predicament.

  1. The Impact of Immigration

    As our current administration seeks to tighten the belt on legal immigration, the restaurant industry stands to lose even more prospects from the hiring pool. That’s because more than 23% of people employed at restaurants are foreign-born. And, that concentration is even higher among back-of-house positions with 43% of restaurant chefs and 25% of restaurant managers being foreign-born (source).

  2. Scarcity of Qualified Talent

    In December, Thrillist wrote about the shortage of cooks as potentially “wrecking American restaurants!” Though the headline is a bit dramatic, the reality is as simple as supply and demand. But, while restaurant operators reported roughly one in four job openings were filled by first-job hires last year, the supply of a more experienced talent pool is lacking. From the sous chef to the top chef and the senior management team, the back-of-house is the heart of the restaurant. And, if there’s any place you want your qualified team, it’s there! The Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates a 15% growth in the number of Americans working in restaurant kitchens by 2025 (or 200,000 jobs). Will the applicant pool be ready?

  3. Increased Demand

    Between 2004 and 2014, more full-service restaurants opened than any other part of the industry, including fast food. And, today, there are 620,000 restaurants nationwide with more than 1 million total locations. As new restaurant concepts take shape every day, a diversity of skills and talent will inevitably follow. For the first time since 2008, the industry hit a turnover rate higher than 70%. With this level of insecurity, restaurants are turning to recruiters, like TalentServed, to help find the qualified hire looking for a career in the business versus a job in the business.


These days the back-of-the-house is most frequently referred to as the “heart-of-the-house.” And, with more than 10% of the U.S. workforce working in the restaurant industry, that’s a whole lot of heart! In fact, TalentServed’s Job Board currently includes 63 culinary-focused job openings across the country. So, don’t contribute to this shortage of talent, take advantage of the opportunities provided by this perfect storm and find a great new job today!