Should Your Food Business Hire Temporary Staff?

temporary staff

Who’s on staff? Many foodpreneurs find the process of searching, vetting, and hiring qualified employees to be a nightmare. And in the small business world, when your needs or cash flow could change quickly, bringing full-time employees into the mix can be scary. But you can’t do everything alone, forever. You’re going to need help! And temporary staff may be the answer.

Why temps?

Hiring temps, or temporary staff, is one method that can relieve your work burden without adding administrative stress. They work within your needs, they’re quicker to hire, and in today’s low-unemployment market, they may simply be more available than full-time workers. If you’re a seasonal or event-based business, you may simply not have enough work to bring on a full-time or part-time employee. If you’re looking for a flexible hire to run your weekly farmer’s market table or a seasonal trade show circuit, temporary workers might be the right solution. Temporary workers will be best for you if:

  • You’ve got a rote task to outsource. Bringing in a temp for a process you don’t have SOPs for can be a nightmare.
  • You have the bandwidth to oversee them. At the end of the day, you’re responsible for the quality of work your temporary workers do. That means having the time to train, engage with, and manage them.
  • Your hours are erratic. You’ll have a hard time finding an employee to work odd shifts or irregular hours, which is where a temp can come in.

Where to find them

Having temporary contracted staff should relive the administrative burden of hiring. But if done incorrectly, bringing on temporary workers can be a nightmare. Using an agency or other temporary hiring platform ensures that someone is vetting the candidates, and that they will have relevant skills and solid work ethic. The right service for you depends on the work you need done, and how quickly.

Agencies

Agencies that staff temporary workers are age-old, meaning that they often have a wide pool of candidates and a good understanding of a client’s needs. The time to find an employee can be longer than with a digital platform, so this option is best if you’ve forecasted your needs correctly. However, not all agencies work with the food and beverage industry. Do the research in your area, as more local services are appearing (like MaineCater!) but remain relatively rare. If the work you need done is more administrative, you may still have good luck.

Digital Platforms / Apps

In today’s gig economy, everyone is doing a little work on the side. Take advantage of platforms like Shiftgig or Wonolo to find temporary staff as quickly as your fingers can move. These workers tend to be less thoroughly vetted than those from an agency. However, they may be more likely to have the skills you’re looking for. If you have a one-night need or an emergency, you’ll likely have more success here.

Craigslist

Before the rise of the gig economy, many companies found their workers from online resources like Craigslist. Don’t discount this site as being just for selling old junk! If you have the time to spare, using Craigslist can help you find candidates to help with on-the-fly projects, like dishwashing for catering events or packaging food items. Keep in mind, however, that the candidates are not vetted!

Good entrepreneurs know they can’t do it all by themselves. Utilize temporary labor to keep your business operations smooth during uncertain times.

Want more foodpreneur news, resources and interviews in your inbox? Check out the newsletter!

Get the Newsletter

Our weekly newsletter contains everything a food entrepreneur needs to stay current, share connections, and succeed in the business. Sign up for interviews with experts, insights from peers, and all the most relevant industry news. Don’t get caught without the resource every foodpreneur is talking about. Subscribe now!