5 Tips to Combat Against Restaurant Turnover


Are high turnover rates causing you high stress? We’re here to help turn that around. With staff turnover rates in the restaurant industry rising to 72% in 2015, up from 67% in 2014, restaurateurs are left having to suffer through the aches and pains that come with lost talent and what’s become a revolving door of new faces. Every time a restaurant loses an employee, all the money that’s been invested into them throughout the course of their training and employment is lost as well. Here are 5 quick tips to aid in your quest to reduce staff turnover rates at your restaurant.



1. Practice Careful Hiring

Employees are a key ingredient in establishing your restaurant's reputation, building customer loyalty and creating a positive work environment, so it only makes sense for you to go the extra mile to ensure you hire the right employees. It’s important to implement a solid hiring process to determine which candidates are the right fit for your team.


Here are a few essential steps to consider adding to your hiring process: ensure job postings are specific and informative, assemble a strong set of open-ended interview questions, always check references, make note of each candidate's body language, and have another senior employee join you while conducting interviews.


Carrying out a few of these hiring processes will increase your chances of discovering superstar staff, and decrease your chances of hiring someone who will become part of the turnover statistic. For more information on how to assemble your restaurant's dream team, click here.


2. Provide Adequate Training for All Employees

Often overlooked by restaurateurs, providing adequate training to all of your employees is crucial. We know that time is money, especially in the restaurant industry. But while quick training, followed by letting your staff learn through trial and error may be tempting, you’re welcoming the possibility of miscommunication and staff error later on. Proper training allows your staff to gain a true understanding of how they can excel at their job, making them more likely to remain at your restaurant.


Since using and mastering your POS is one of the biggest components of staff training, along with menu knowledge and customer service standards, make sure your POS company can provide both you and your staff with in-depth training. Having trained professionals teaching your staff the ins-and-outs of your POS will take some much needed weight (and stress) off your shoulders.

Looking for more specifics to exercise during your restaurant’s training process? Here are a few examples: Have new employees shadow each role in the restaurant from hostess to cook so they have an understanding and appreciation for the different responsibilities of each job, have new staff study for and complete a small test about your menu, pair new staff with more senior employees who will be their go-to for any questions about the restaurant, service, or menu knowledge. By investing the time in adequately training each of your employees from the get go, you’ll have increased productivity, decreased labor costs, and last but not least, a solid employee retention rate.



3. Recognize & Reward

Countless restaurant industry studies have noted a correlation between staff dissatisfaction and turnover rates. If you think low morale may be contributing to turnover rates in your restaurant, consider lightening the mood with regular recognition and rewards. The excitement of a good old competition, or the possibility of a reward can work as great motivation for your staff to increase their sales – a win-win!


Get creative with both the contests and rewards you give. Check out a few of these ideas:


An Employee of the Month contest allows you to reward your hardworking and committed employees while also motivating even the lowest of performers. Recognition alone goes a long way, but rewarding the winner with first pick of next week's schedule would be a serious motivator for employees. A team building contest is a great way to get your staff working together. Assign employees to random teams and calculate their sales totals. The team with the highest sales at the end of the shift gets a special prize.


The reward doesn’t need to be a trip to the Bahamas, a small reward will do the trick such as getting to select their section next shift, prime parking for a week, or a free dessert after their shift. Leverage your POS reports for more contest inspiration. If you notice one of your servers is a superstar upseller, recognize and reward! Any one of these ideas will help incentivize top notch performance from your employees, while also positively affecting employee morale and retention rates.


4. Provide Opportunities to Advance

More so than any Employee of the Month or team building contest, giving your top performers the opportunity to make meaningful advances in your business will allow them to visualize a future with your restaurant.


Have a top-performer in mind who could handle a bit more responsibility? Try some of these suggestions: If you have a born leader on your team who’s always taking new hires under their wing, or stepping up when a manager’s absent, consider promoting them to head trainer or shift manager. If you’re looking to open a second location, put your employee who has shown the most positive attitude and strongest team-working skills in charge of bringing your company culture over to that new venue. Any of these advances would show just how much you appreciate the key members of your team. Show your best employees that their hard work pays off, don’t let it go unnoticed. These sorts of advancements will help you retain your top talent and make them happy to stay.


5. Investigate Your Main Reasons for Turnover

Make the most of an unfavorable situation. If one of your employees decides to leave your business, take the time to find out why by asking departing employees to participate in an exit interview. Conducting exit interviews allows you to gain a better understanding of what went wrong with their experience at your restaurant and ultimately where you have room to improve.


Another way you can investigate staff turnover rates is with the help of your POS reports. By delving into your Employee Shift Reports, you can check to see if your restaurant’s turnover rates correlate with too many or too little hours. Too little? Decrease the size of your staff. Too many? Get more hands on deck.


Losses from employee turnover in the restaurant industry are commonplace, if not properly managed. But by adopting some of these best practices, you can make recognition, career advancement, and great training a main part of your restaurant’s culture. Your turnover rates will never be the same...you’re welcome.


About the Author

Jackie Prange

Jackie is a Content Marketing Specialist and Social Media strategist at TouchBistro. She covers the latest food, dining, and technology trends for the restaurant industry. A lover of all things coffee, Jackie’s hobbies include breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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