The Benefits of Internal Promotion and Who to Promote




  • Promoting from within for new positions saves time and money for restaurants.
  • Internal promotions boost employee morale and ensure a good cultural fit.
  • Employees who demonstrate strong leadership, great communication skills, and good work ethic are excellent candidates for internal promotion.

It’s no secret that employee turnover is ever-present in the foodservice industry. Staffing and training can put a toll on the restaurant manager’s time, and the learning curve required for new employees can cause frustration within the team.

Maximizing employee retention is critical for the success of your restaurant. There are many ways to build a happy and successful team, but it almost always comes back to recognition. Your staff wants to be seen and recognized for their hard work — it drives them to work harder and be more dedicated to the success of the restaurant.

Internal promotion is the best way to recognize your staff who rise to the occasion. Here are reasons to consider internal candidates for new roles and how you can identify who to promote when making hiring decisions.

Internal Promotion Saves Time and Money

Server holds tray of coffee drinks next to table of guests

Finding the right employees can be challenging. They need to be hard workers, have the right experience, and be an excellent cultural fit for the restaurant and staff. When you’re recruiting and hiring new employees, it’s hard to know if they’ll fit the bill. Sure, you can go with your gut, but until you see an employee in action, you won’t really know. On top of that, even the most experienced worker will still need onboarding. External hiring requires more training, which can cost your restaurant time and money.

Looking at existing staff to fill your staffing needs is a good opportunity to see if the potential hire is a fit for the job. You already know their work ethic and what they’re capable of, and you’ve seen firsthand how they fit in with your restaurant’s company culture and mission.

If you hire externally, it could cost you more, too. According to the Wall Street Journal, “… external hires get paid 18% to 20% more than internal employees do for the same job, but they get lower marks in performance reviews during their first two years on the job.” In other words, external hires often require higher pay than internal employees, but don’t perform as well.

Internal Promotion Boosts Morale

Internal promotion: Chef smiles at camera while chopping lettuce

Giving employees clear career goals can help boost morale. While all employees should work hard regardless, if your staff knows that working hard pays off, they’ll work even harder, and it’s a win for everyone.

It’s essential to encourage employees to step up beyond their specific role and recognize employees who are trying to learn skills. LinkedIn’s 2020 Workplace Learning Report found that 44% of Generation Z and 36% of millennials would spend more time learning if their manager recognized their efforts.

Creating a culture of growth and learning is motivating and inspiring. For employees, their development plan will give them something to work towards, and knowing that internal promotion is a possibility will help them rise to the occasion.

Internal Hires Already Know Your Restaurant

Chefs prepare dish in an assembly line

Your existing staff already knows the ins and outs of your establishment. The restaurant’s culture is part of their DNA, and if the employee is worth considering for a new job or promotion, likely, they’ve already proven they’re a good fit.

Unlike external candidates, your current staff is familiar with the restaurant floor and the layout of your kitchen, and they know how to move around it quickly and efficiently. Internal hires are familiar with your restaurant management software, payroll, and all of the other company policies and processes you have in place.

Internal hires know your customers, and your customers know them. Happier employees mean happier customers, and if the employee you’re looking to promote has been around for a while, they’ve likely made a positive mark on your customers. There is a direct connection between your staff and customer satisfaction. A Glassdoor report found that in food service, “each 1-star improvement in employee satisfaction predicts a 3.2-point increase in customer satisfaction” out of 100.

Customers enjoy knowing the restaurant’s staff, and they look forward to seeing the faces they’ve come to know and love. By using internal promotion, you’ll not only boost employee morale, but you’ll make customers happier, too.

What to Look for and Who to Promote

Internal promotion: Server smiles at camera while holding tray of food

Any good manager knows it’s important to pay attention to the successes and failures of your staff. But it is not just about wins and losses — it is about how they navigate the challenges they face and watching how their leadership skills and personalities shine through.

Ask yourself these questions when considering an internal hire:

  • How do they face adversity and handle stress in their current position? Can they keep their cool?
  • Are they well-liked by other employees while still being able to show up as a leader?
  • Are they committed? Do they show up on time, and put in extra work without looking at the clock?
  • Are they a quick learner, eager to learn new skill sets, and will they rise to the challenge?
  • Is customer satisfaction important to them? Do they have good communication skills?
  • Could you see them in a leadership position? Are they confident in their skills and a good teacher?
  • Do they align with your mission and guiding principles? Are they a good cultural fit?

Personality, dedication, and willingness to learn are driving factors in whether or not they are a good fit for a promotion. But if you’re on the fence, you should also look at their years of experience, how long they’ve been with you, and whether or not you’d be okay with losing them as an employee. As we talked through earlier, employees want to be recognized, and if you’re not giving that to them, you might lose them to another restaurant that will.

If the employee meets your hiring criteria, is a good cultural fit, and you want to retain them as an employee, then they’re likely ready for the promotion. It’s a win for everyone.

Promoting Internally Is Good for Business

Server stands in restaurant holding iPad smiling at camera

Internal promotion is a great way to grow your team. It saves time and money while boosting employee morale. Creating a development plan for your staff will give employees a clear path to success and encourage a good work ethic and willingness to learn. Employees who demonstrate strong leadership and work ethic make great internal hires.

If you make internal hiring and career development a part of your business plan, it builds autonomy while also developing a stronger sense of team amongst your staff. Still, there are times where you find yourself in a bind for good help, and that’s why we launched Pared.

Our team of 10,000 carefully vetted professionals are here when you need them. In as little as two hours you can find a Pared Pro to fill your staffing needs for a line cook, server, barista, bartender, pastry chef, dishwasher, and more. When you’re in a pinch and need a hospitality professional you can trust, Pared is here to help.

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