3 Things Successful Fnb Managers Do Differently

Last edited on 25 Aug 2016

The Food and Beverage (F&B) industry is notoriously tough in Singapore. Statistics reported in a report printed in The Straits Times show that more than half the 369 small eateries registered in 2011 had closed by early 2015. In particular, labour is often cited as a constraint and stories about the difficulties facing F&B operators in hiring and retaining staff are common. Popular restaurants may be forced to keep part of their premises closed at peak times due to the shortage of service staff. However, the level of pain experienced varies significantly across the industry.

Freeboh operates Singapore’s first shift-based hiring marketplace, and this provides unprecedented insight into the dynamics of the F&B labour market. Shift-seekers on our platform bid directly for shift opportunities based on a number of variables, including salary, location, nature of work, and other privileges. Across our customer portfolio, the best-performing employers may pay as little as 15-20% of what their worst-performing peers pay per applicant, and their positions are filled within hours, not days. While salary obviously plays a part, it is not the sole determining factor. We have identified three things that successful employers do differently.

1. They communicate their values and vision in their job listings.

Our most successful employers invest effort to infuse their listings with character. They give succinct, but enticing, descriptions of their company culture that convey why they are different from other employers. They describe the work in aspirational ways, going beyond merely listing the tasks to defining the desired outcomes. To pull these off successfully, they need to be clear about their target demographic group, and tailor their messages accordingly.

2. They provide flexibility

Many shift seekers are looking to work shifts because they are unable to commit to permanent jobs with a fixed schedule due to school, family or other commitments. The best employers recognise this and set up their shifts to cater to variable schedules. For example, they offer a range of shift timings, not just one or two fixed slots. Also, they avoid locking down applicants to long commitment periods. While employers generally prefer a longer commitment, this has the downside of deterring potential applicants and slowing down the hiring process.

3. They provide monetary and non-monetary benefits

While it is good to attract potential applicants with benefits, the best employers find ways to provide benefits that potential employees value, but which don’t actually cost that much to provide. For example, one employer on the Freeboh platform offered access to the gym and pool facilities in the building, which sounds attractive for staff, even if they would typically not use it. More importantly, employers in locations that require travel, such as East Coast Park, may need to consider providing transport or transport allowances to help potential applicants overcome the perceived challenges of the location.

Given the long-term challenges facing the F&B industry, and the general difficulties with acquiring labour in Singapore, there is no silver bullet that can completely resolve all hiring issues permanently. However, we hope that by applying the best practices identified above, F&B operators will find their positions slightly easier to fill, allowing them to focus on serving delicious food to their clients.

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