A well-planned strategy is key to successful recruiting

New Westminster, BC, restaurant Piva Modern Italian’s 360 degree approach to recruiting resulted in hiring a talented opening team on time and on budget.

It is well-documented in the media and throughout Canadian hospitality and tourism that many in the restaurant industry face an uphill climb when it comes to recruiting, especially for their kitchen positions. It’s true: job seekers are entering our industry in fewer numbers than previous years. Combined with the fact that Canadians are eating out more often than ever before, the stress on restaurant owners and managers to source and hire qualified talent to operate their businesses is greater than ever. Given the short candidate supply and high business demand, some business owners have resorted to shortening store hours, eliminating lunch service, and even closing for entire business days to keep operating.

However, the situation is not all doom and gloom. Indeed, there are significant hiring challenges facing the hospitality and tourism industries in Canada today but, by taking a holistic approach to recruiting, success can be achieved. A notable example that we will explore here is Piva Modern Italian, a new upscale-casual restaurant in the city of New Westminster, British Columbia.

About Piva Modern Italian

Piva is a 135 seat rustic-modern Italian restaurant set to open in late 2017 at The Anvil Centre at New Westminster’s historic cultural district. The Anvil Centre is a brand new cultural and community centre that will attract many conference attendees, business representatives, and local residents to Piva Modern Italian’s dining room on a daily basis. The street-level restaurant also has a 20 seat sidewalk patio, ideal for people-watching while enjoying lunch, dinner, or drinks.

Specific Staffing Needs

Front of House: 35
Back of House: 15

Recruiting Approach

Piva’s management, including General Manager Justin Syens, contacted EightSix Network in their very early stages of construction to discuss their recruiting strategy. Leveraging their years of recruiting experience and knowledge of the local job market, EightSix and Piva decided that a comprehensive recruitment marketing strategy, including job postings, active recruiting within EightSix’s Talent Community, premium distribution campaigns, leveraging new hires’ social networks, and blog articles would allow Piva Modern Italian to recruit a strong opening team by their final training group in early November 2017.

Piva began recruiting for its management team on in Spring 2017, before recruiting for their hourly positions in earnest mid-August. A combination of regular job postings and featured jobs were used to bring awareness to its open positions. All online hiring was centralized through Piva’s EightSix Network account, including linking potential candidates visiting to Piva’s careers page on Piva’s hiring team also reached out to potential candidates within EightSix Networks’ 150,000-plus candidate community for specific, harder-to-fill positions. As top candidates were hired, Piva was advised to encourage its new staff to reach out to their personal and social networks to attract additional, like-minded individuals.

Approximately six weeks before opening date, EightSix Network launched its first of two Premium Distribution campaigns for Piva, promoting job postings across the web and resulting in increased views and applications. Concurrently, EightSix published an Industry’s Finest profile on the new restaurant and its General Manager and promoted this blog article, along with links to Piva’s job postings, on social media. Piva’s marketing team worked closely with EightSix to promote this content to its own social media following. This feature was used to not only attract applicants but also potential customers as it contributes to the media hype about the new restaurant.


Piva Modern Italian achieved its goal of hiring and training a talented service, culinary, and management team in advance of opening day. In all, Piva on-boarded 35 Front of House hires and 15 Back of House hires on time and on budget.


In today’s candidate’s market, it is more important than ever to employ a 360 degree approach to recruiting for your restaurant or retail business. This includes passively attracting candidates using job postings, hiring fairs, and online media as well as actively reaching out to candidates within a qualified pool (such as EightSix’s Talent Community) and leveraging the social networks of those individuals’ hired along the way.

For Piva, having this clear strategy allowed them to cost-effectively reach their hiring goals in time for opening day. Also, having a knowledgable and professional partner to support your recruiting campaign from start to finish can improve success. “Working with EightSix has been a game-changer for us,” states Piva General Manager Justin Syens. “[EightSix] promoting our ads was key to the response we received and, in this market, you have to put a little extra effort in so we actively recruited using EightSix’s Talent Community database as well.”

Piva Modern Italian’s experience proves that with a strong management team, a clear strategy and marketing budget, and an effective recruiting partner, talented teams can be built in even the toughest recruiting market.

About the Author: 

Justin McAleenan

Co-founder @ EightSix Network