Culinary Agents Founder and CEO Alice Cheng

Hiring for Hospitality in 2021 With Culinary Agents Founder and CEO Alice Cheng

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If you’re in the hospitality industry, then you’re no doubt familiar with the following stat: half of U.S. hospitality workers aren’t planning on returning to their old jobs after the events of the past year—over a third of these hospitality workers said they aren’t even considering reentering the industry, citing wanting higher pay, a less physically demanding workplace, and better benefits. 

While this may sound bleak for hospitality professionals direly needing talent, Alice Cheng has a positive outlook. Cheng knows a thing or two about the hospitality industry, parlaying early experience working in a restaurant into her current role as the Founder & CEO of Culinary Agents, an online hospitality platform, including an industry-specific job board. 

We spoke with Cheng about the reasons behind the shifts in hospitality hiring, her outlook for the industry, and what professionals can change to begin attracting top talent once again. 

HT: Why is recruiting such a challenge for hospitality employers at the moment?

AC: Finding and hiring the right team members is an ongoing challenge and priority for hospitality employers. At the moment, due to COVID-19, employers are trying to fill multiple positions simultaneously as they plan to reopen, expand and recover. This will continue to drive competition as candidates thoughtfully choose where they want to work and if they want to return to the industry. Since so much time has passed, some workers have decided to pursue other opportunities outside of hospitality. 

HT: Do you think people will return to the industry?

AC: Yes, I think people will return and have returned to the industry. It’s true that some people have found work in other industries during the past year and may not return to hospitality immediately or ever. However, there are many who continue to dedicate their careers to hospitality, and either have already or are eager to return. It’s a broad industry with a variety of career paths and flexible opportunities. Workers drawn to what the industry offers will come back. 

HT: How can the industry work to attract new talent?

AC: The overall hospitality industry has been transforming over the years into a more equitable workplace. As employers continue to support improved working environments, the overall industry will continue to attract and retain talent—continuing to innovate and invest in new areas of traditional and nontraditional areas of growth keeps things exciting and attracts talent. 

HT: What are short-term tips for increasing hospitality industry applicant traffic?

AC: Market your job opportunities and make it as easy as possible for candidates to apply to them. Highlight your employer value proposition and benefits offered in multiple places and across your hiring efforts. Be transparent in job descriptions and responsive to applicants.

HT: What long-term changes do employers need to make to attract top-quality candidates?

AC: Employers should be aware and intentional of their company culture and employer brand. This is a large but widely connected industry, and reputation and actions can make a difference when recruiting—thinking creatively and working within your means to offer whatever you can to existing and potential employees, being transparent and genuine can go a long way. 

HT: How can Culinary Agents help hospitality employers solve their hiring challenges?

AC:We offer a targeted hospitality talent pool, additional visibility, and employer branding.

Gain exclusive access to our nationwide hospitality-specific talent pool comprised of 1 Million+ professionals, ranging from all levels of kitchen and service and all hospitality-related positions. 

Jobs will automatically be distributed to our private network as well as to over 500+ partner sites, including major job sites like Indeed, ZipRecruiter, and LinkedIn, as well as industry sites like Open For Good by the James Beard Foundation.

Our unique technology helps talent discover employer brands and opportunities based on their preferences and where they are already looking. 

Get actionable tips and tricks for increasing your applicant traffic and strengthening your overall hiring strategy, including additional insights from Cheng, in our post Four Key Challenges in Hospitality Recruiting and How to Overcome Them.


About Culinary Agents
Culinary Agents is a website to find jobs and career-related information about the hospitality industry. Our growing community includes over one million members and 32,000 businesses nationwide. The platform empowers aspiring and existing talent to easily discover and apply to the best jobs. Culinary Agents also provides job marketing, recruiting, and employer branding solutions to help businesses hire the best talent.

About HiringThing
HiringThing’s approachable, adaptable ATS used throughout the hospitality industry. The HiringThing platform empowers everyone, everywhere, to hire their dream team. Franchisors, multi-location organizations, and other hospitality professionals can benefit from HiringThing’s easy-to-use, feature-rich applicant tracking system. Set up your demo today!

Author: Pat Brothwell

Pat Brothwell is a content marketer at HiringThing, an award-winning online recruiting software provider dedicated to changing the way businesses hire talent. Questions? Contact HiringThing Marketing.

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