The restaurant employee turnover rate is higher than the national average, and that figure is on the rise. In fact, the employee turnover rate is one of the industry’s most pressing concerns, according to Nation’s Restaurant News. The magazine’s Annual Operator’s Survey revealed that 51% of restaurant operators say that attracting and retaining top talent is one of the biggest challenges they face.
A high restaurant employee turnover rate can hurt your business by creating steady flow of new workers who are unfamiliar with your clientele, menu, and operations. There are only so many hours in a day, and more time you spend training new employees means less time you can spend on other areas of the business.
How can you attract and retain loyal employees? Here are six tips that can help:
- Offer advancement: Don’t be shy about discussing upward mobility with staff. Employees who know they can advance are more likely to stay motivated, which can lower restaurant employee turnover rate. Promoting from within can also benefit your business because you are already familiar with the employee. It also saves time and resources that would have been spent on recruiting and training new candidates for management or supervisor positions.
- Provide tools for success: A PwC study of Millennials from 75 countries found that 59% of workers say state-of-the art technology in the workplace is important when considering a job. Don’t make your staff struggle unnecessarily with outdated technology tools—-give them what they need to be successful and provide the highest level of customer service. If point of sale (POS) terminals are outdated and could make an employee’s job harder or you’re missing key components—like a kitchen display system, CRM or tableside ordering and payments, talented staff may look for job opportunities elsewhere, where their ability to work efficiently is supported by that technology.
- Training and cross-training: Good training is essential to keep restaurant employee turnover low. Working at your restaurant shouldn’t be “sink or swim.” A well-trained employee will be more confident and make fewer errors. Give every employee a copy of your training materials and the tools they need to succeed. Reward long-term employees with training for additional jobs, for example, train the best servers to also tend bar, enabling them to develop additional skills.
- Tipping or no- tipping: Some restaurants have been experimenting with doing away with tipping. A no-tipping policy closes the wage gap between front- and back-of-house staff and servers have the predictability of set wages. However, servers can also make less money under a no-tipping model, and if you decide to implement that model, your long-term staff may be tempted to jump ship.
- Create a team environment:Show enthusiasm and lead with a positive attitude, and your employees will follow suit. Nothing is faster at killing the desire to work hard than a boss who gives the orders and then sits around while everyone else is hustling. Lead by example and make sure everyone is moving in the right direction.
- Scheduling: Although restaurant hours are distinctly different from office jobs, a healthy work/life balance is important to keeping restaurant employee turnover low. Employees will burn out quickly if they feel like they’re working harder than other employees for little gain or if they can’t take time off. Be fair and transparent about scheduling and give workers more control over their shifts by allowing shift swaps and mobile scheduling.
Industry-wide, restaurant employee turnover has been increasing, but you can create a work environment that staff won’t want to leave. Evaluate your current strategy for employee retention, how effective it is, and don’t delay if you need to make changes—a rock star employee could be ready to walk out the door.