Think of everything you need to run your restaurant smoothly and uphold your brand: friendly service, an experience that feels like a good value, clean facilities, healthy sales and profits. If your employee turnover is high, all of these elements will suffer.
On the other hand, if you find ways to limit turnover, you can generate exponential benefits for your business. You’re more able to delegate key responsibilities to management who treat the business as if it were theirs and find their own ways to deliver great customer experiences. Meanwhile, you’re able to proactively put systems in place that give you freedom to push your business forward instead of having to put out fires.
Unfortuanatly, restaurant turnover is notoriously high and talented people have their choice of employers in the current market. Research from 7Shifts found that between August 2021 and August 2022, the average tenure of a restaurant employee was 110 days – just over three months. This costs the hospitality industry well over $5,000 per employee. Unfortunately, many operators don’t know their turnover numbers, so they’re not even clear on which stores need attention.
Investing effort in the recruitment phase can help. When scouting out employees who are most likely to stay well beyond those 110 days, be deliberate about where you look. Seek out people who are already successfully employed and visibly doing great work.
It’s not about poaching someone from another business. When you have a great experience with a server or manager at another restaurant, for example, you might say to the person, “You have a great work ethic. I’m sure you are happy where you are, but if you’re ever looking for an additional opportunity, please come to us first.”
You can retain these people by training them well, demonstrating your values to them in authentic ways, identifying opportunities for them (and encouraging them and everyone else on the team to do the same), recognizing them and rewarding them.
Rewarding your people isn’t just about money – a big bonus at a time when restaurants are having to pay higher wages already. According to 7Shifts, restaurants are offering such diverse benefits as rideshare credits for safe rides home after evening shifts, pet insurance, house cleaning or laundry service, English language tutoring, and school tuition reimbursement. Consider your staff’s lifestyles, life stages, needs and preferences when adjusting your benefits and rewards.