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10 Ways To Reduce Staff Turnover In The Restaurant Industry

10 Ways To Reduce Staff Turnover In The Restaurant Industry 2560 1707 Emma Dittmer

Staff turnover in the restaurant industry is much higher than in other industries. In some cases, it’s almost double. With all the curveballs 2020 has thrown at us, this is only increasing. Considering the costs associated with recruiting, hiring, and training new employees, it’s a huge concern for your bottom line.

While these statistics can be overwhelming, it’s not all doom and gloom. We’ve put together ten ways you can reduce staff turnover, retaining talent, and increasing your restaurant’s financial performance. Let’s boost employee satisfaction, driving long-term loyalty! 


What is Staff Turnover?

Staff turnover refers to the proportion of employees who leave an organization over a set period. Traditionally, it is calculated on a year-on-year basis, expressed as a percentage of the total workforce numbers. In an HR context, a high turnover rate refers to lots of employees leaving the business. Most businesses strive to keep this figure as low as possible. 

According to the 2018 National Restaurant Association report, the average turnover rate sits at around 74.9% for restaurants, with fast-food companies losing between 130% and 150% of their workers every year. Other industries in the private sector are sitting at 48.9%, to put it into perspective. Interestingly enough, the kitchen has the lowest turnover rate, while those in management roles are most likely to move on.  

The reality is that employees leave their jobs all the time. The reasons vary, and it won’t always be in your control. The high-stress environment of the restaurant industry coupled with lower pay rates can make it tricky to retain your staff. However, rather than accepting this as a regular part of doing business, focus your attention on a few critical strategies to keep your turnover under control. 

10 Ways to Reduce Restaurant Staff Turnover

1. Future-Proof With A Higher Wage

One of the top five reasons employees leave their job is for a better-paying position elsewhere. Increasing your payroll isn’t always the most appealing prospect as an employer, but it’s essential to think about the bigger picture. Recruiting, onboarding, and training new staff members is time-consuming. It costs a fair amount too. By offering your employees a more competitive wage from the outset, you’ll reduce your turnover in the long run. 

Better yet, keep your most talented employees by offering them a raise. Even if it’s a small amount, it’ll make an exponential difference. 

2. Focus On Your Culture

Uncover where the gaps are in your company culture with regular staff surveys. Keep them anonymous, so you get honest feedback and ask the tough questions you need to address. If you’re sensing a dip in morale or tension between employees, it’s an opportunity to get to the bottom of it. Creating a positive work environment is one of the best ways to improve employee engagement. 

Take it a step further by introducing an employee handbook. Get everyone aligned from day one on company values, creating a sense of unity and a common goal. A collaborative work environment is crucial in this fast-paced industry. 

3. Refine Your Hiring Process 

Hire right from the get-go, and you’ll curb your staff turnover instantly. When you’re under pressure to fill positions, it’s easy to go for someone who is “good enough,” but this won’t serve you in the long run. Aim for that outstanding employee and allow yourself some breathing room so you can afford to be patient. Consider someone’s qualifications, check their references (twice) and understand their skills before you make a move. During the interview, ask about their short and long-term goals. It’s one of the easiest ways to ascertain their views on staying put. 

On the flip side, be sure to highlight the growth opportunities available to them at your restaurant. They must be able to picture their career trajectory.  

4. Source Internally

The employees you already have within your fold are a considerable asset. When a new position opens up, look at your existing team. Identify any candidates who might be suitable for the role, opening up applications internally before you start outsourcing. 

Employees will also offer great referrals. If they love working for you, they’re going to want good people on the team. Instituting something like an employee referral program could be an exciting way to incentivize quality recommendations. 

5. Plan For Seasonal Turnover

Seasonal turnover is inevitable. Unfortunately, it’s one of those things restaurant owners have to deal with regularly. Instead of shying away from it, include it in your plan for the year. Ensure you invest in your core staff, accounting for seasonal adjustments by kickstarting hiring and training with plenty of time to spare. 

6. Making Training A Priority

The training program you use to onboard new employees sets the tone for their relationship with your restaurant. Take the time to train appropriately, making employees feel valued. Ensure they have access to all the information they need, unpacking your style of business and any quirks or requirements. 

Once your employees are up to speed, they’ll be confident in your restaurant, allowing them to perform. If you’re professional in your training, you set a standard they’ll adhere to during their shift. 

Take it a step further by encouraging cross-training. Employees may have started with one set of skills but continue to broaden their skill set with new opportunities. Whether it’s assisting with reservations, understanding the accounts, or helping with food prep – an empowered employee is a satisfied employee. 

7. Schedule Fairly

It’s not uncommon for employees in the restaurant industry to work for multiple establishments. Why? They’re not getting enough shifts at each place, so they have to double-up. Consider your employee breakdown, creating a schedule that converts to an evenly spread payroll. You want to pay your staff well enough that they aren’t looking for more shifts elsewhere.  

Re-arrange your schedule to ensure everyone gets an appropriate amount of time. You will need to manage burn-out, too, reducing the hours of those working well above the usual. It’s about balancing employee expectations and output, keeping longevity in mind. 

8. Create An Employee Loyalty Program

Recognize and reward your employees for their work. Introducing a program like Employee Of The Month is a great way to incentivize performance. On top of that, it creates an environment of praise where employees feel noticed and valued. 

Consider introducing a longevity bonus, encouraging staff to stick around for set periods. The reward doesn’t have to be monetary, and it could scale over time. Whether it’s a gift certificate or a shift choice, it’s a way of recognizing their commitment. 

9. Make Communication A Priority

It’s easy for team unity to face challenges in the restaurant industry. You have various teams working in different areas, and sometimes an “us versus them” mentality can arise. Promote healthy communication and a positive atmosphere by hosting regular staff meetings. Make a point of accepting suggestions and implementing changes, making staff feel heard.  Getting to know each other is one of the best ways to break through any divides. 

10. Conduct Exit Interviews

One of the best ways to gather insights about your business is via exit interviews. When an employee decides to part ways, set up an honest and open conversation where you can unpack their reasons. 

Ask specific questions, keeping a record of their responses. Over time, you’ll be able to see if any patterns are emerging. Highlighting areas of improvement you can focus on internally. These can also be a good baseline for research so you can make better-informed decisions in the future.

Start Reducing Employee Turnover Today!

For many restaurant owners, reducing staff turnover is a priority. Start by implementing these ten tips, increasing your employee engagement and satisfaction and ultimately increasing retention for the long run.  

Article Contribution by Hourly.io

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