Restaurant Turnover: The 8 Best Retention Strategies
Restaurant employee turnover has always been an issue, but we’ve seen a consistent increase over the years. NRA’s Chief Economist, Bruce Grindy, reported that “the turnover rate in the hospitality sector topped 70 percent for the second consecutive year, but still remained below pre-recession levels.”
Some of the turnovers are largely based on the demographics of restaurant employees. Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that the hospitality industry employs more teenagers than any other industry. Many teenagers use restaurant jobs to get job experience to later move on to another career, affecting the turnover rate. In other cases, better opportunities at other restaurants can be a reason for the high turnover rate.
Although some factors can be out of an operator’s control, there are some areas that can be fine-tuned to improve job satisfaction. According to Investopedia, after factoring in the entire hiring process, hiring an hourly employee can cost close to $3,500! With this in mind, restaurant operators should put emphasis on one of their biggest investments – their employees.
We’ve put together a handy list of how to avoid restaurant turnover and boost retention to create a better work environment.
Prioritize Onboarding and Training
Staff members that don’t receive proper training are typically unhappier than ones that do. Lack of training can leave employees feeling unaccomplished and unsupported. Usually, their lack of training will end up costing your restaurant more than it would just to take the time to onboard the employee. Put a training program in place so that new hires feel successful in their role.
One of the key ingredients to a happy employee is work/life balance. No one likes to have to constantly reschedule plans because they found out they will be working tomorrow after all. Employees need advanced scheduling. You should be giving staff members at least two weeks’ notice of their work schedules so they have time to plan accordingly.
Avoid Double Shifts
Occasionally working both a lunch and dinner shift can be a good time for restaurant staff to pick up some extra cash. However, when it becomes a frequent occurrence, it can be hard for your employees. Long double shifts are hard on the body, as well as on the mind. Exhaustion, mental fatigue, and overall body pain are common effects of working constant double shifts.
For non-table service restaurant staff, getting tips can be tough. Find ways to encourage tipping from customers so your employee can receive a little extra money for a job well done. Consider adding a tip line to your receipts or even a tip jar. Don’t be scared to get creative with your tip jars either! Catchy tip jars are far more effective than plain ones.
A surefire way to reduce turnover is to show employees you care. One of the first ways you can do this is by providing free meals or discounted meals to your staff. Other ways you can boost morale is to recognize achievements, choose an employee of the month, feedback surveys, and contests and/or giveaways.
Occasional Shift Choice
This probably isn’t feasible 100% of the time, but occasionally allowing employees to choose their shifts is another great way to boost morale. Some shifts/days may work better for employees’ schedule outside of work or some may be more productive during certain shifts.
Restaurant owners hate to see employees quit, especially good ones. Conducting an exit interview is a great way to gather information about how employees felt about their time at your restaurant. Look for trends in employee concerns so that you can make adjustments in the future. Some employees might not feel comfortable being completely honest with a fellow restaurant employee. If you don’t have an HR department, you may have to look into hiring a third party to conduct the interview.
Some may be more comfortable with traditional restaurant solutions such as kitchen printers and paper tickets, but modern solutions tend to create a more efficient work environment. Ticket times will be faster, customers will be happier, and your FOH and BOH will be less chaotic, leading to a much more enjoyable workplace for your employees.
Reducing restaurant turnover is important, but the same goes for customers. If you like this blog article, try our piece on 7 restaurant management tips.
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About the Author
Emily Wimpsett was a Content & Social Media Specialist at QSR Automations. Emily was born and raised in Louisville, but considers herself a die-hard University of Kentucky fan. For college, Emily attended Indiana University Southeast and obtained a degree in Communications with a track in Advertising. In her free time, Emily enjoys just about every water related activity, but she is partial to kayaking and whitewater rafting.