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13 Proven Ways To Retain Restaurant Employees

13 Proven Ways To Retain Restaurant Employees
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The restaurant industry is no stranger to high turnover rates. Before the pandemic, the average turnover rate stood at 66.3%. Amidst a national labor shortage and growing dissatisfaction with inadequate pay and long working hours, restaurant workers are leaving their jobs in record numbers. This puts restaurant owners in a difficult situation.

If you’re looking for strategies on how to retain restaurant employees, continue reading this guide!  

13 Ways To Retain Restaurant Employees

There are many reasons why restaurants experience high turnover, so pinpointing the motives can be a difficult task. Regardless of the reasons, employers must take proactive measures to reduce this trend. Consider the following approaches to retaining restaurant staff:

  1. Hire experienced professionals

Hiring the right workers with the appropriate skill sets and backgrounds can go a long way in reducing turnover rates. Ask specific questions during interviews to find strong candidates that stand out from the pack with relevant experience. Hospitality professionals with good experience will know how to provide excellent customer service and keep up with the fast pace of a restaurant. Look for people who are friendly, service-minded, adaptable, skilled in their role, and team players. 

Evaluate your hiring process and only hire candidates whom you believe will play an integral part in your business.

  1. Increase pay

Offering competitive wages is one of the best things you can do to reduce turnover. A Pew Research Center survey found that 63% of workers who quit their jobs say that low pay was a factor in their decision. A well-deserved raise can keep your employees happy while increasing productivity and retention rates.   


Not to mention, you’ll have a leg up against competitors that struggle to offer adequate pay for top notch service.

  1. Recognize your workers

No one wants to feel unappreciated, especially not those who are working hard every day to make your business successful. Find ways to acknowledge your team and show appreciation for their contributions to the business. Some ideas include handwritten thank you cards, highlighting a staff member each month for their hard work, hosting an award ceremony, or giving birthday treats or gift cards. 

  1. Mentor your staff

Succeeding in the restaurant industry is no easy task. Entry-level workers may struggle with kitchen work, cleaning, handling customer complaints, etc. Consider assigning a mentor for each role in your staff. For example, have a cook teach an entry-level worker how to get around the kitchen and follow standard operating procedures. You’ll be amazed at the camaraderie and training opportunities that come naturally in a mentorship relationship like this. 

  1. Establish a safe work environment

This one goes without saying; everyone deserves a safe work environment. In today’s ever-changing work landscape, having protective guidelines in place is a must to reduce turnover rates. Establish regulations that minimize the spread of infectious diseases, have a plan for emergency situations, and create guidelines for how to handle confrontational customers in a way that protects your staff.

  1. Promote from within

Don’t fail to recognize the talent that’s right in front of you! Offering advancement opportunities to your staff is an effective way to boost morale, reward valuable efforts, and even save your restaurant money in the long run. More importantly, internal promotion reinforces a sense of ambition in workers who seek to achieve great things and take on even more responsibility.

  1. Establish open communication

As an employer, you should always strive for transparent communication with your staff. Establishing open dialogue in the workplace is a great way to address questions, concerns, desires, and long-term objectives. More importantly, your restaurant staff will recognize your business as one that values their ideas.

  1. Prioritize mental health

When working in the restaurant industry you’re frequently under pressure from supervisors, co-workers, and demanding customers. Prioritize workers’ well-being by directing them to affordable mental health resources and encouraging them to take time off when needed. Ask them about their pain points at work, then listen and do your best to minimize them.

  1. Engage with your employees

Learning how to retain restaurant employees also means finding ways to make your staff feel connected. You can host social gatherings, offer post-shift family meals, or celebrate milestones together. The key is to establish productive relationships that increase a worker’s commitment to your business.

  1. Measure worker tenure

Worker tenure is a measure of how long a worker has been with a company. Measuring this metric can help you discover insight into your staff’s satisfaction and the causes of turnover at your restaurant. 

  1. Provide competitive benefits

If your business has the financial capacity to offer competitive benefits, then do so! Look into benefits that incentivize your staff members to stick with your restaurant long-term. This could include tuition reimbursement, paid time off, free meals, etc. Check out what some of these top restaurants to work at in Nashville are offering their staff for more ideas. 

  1. Reinforce your company’s culture

What does your business stand for? What values do you wish to communicate to your workers and customers? Strengthening your company’s culture means reinforcing a shared message that makes your service unique and efficient. Your staff should feel unified towards a common goal.

  1. Conduct exit interviews

Despite your valiant efforts, employees will leave at some point. In this case, conduct exit interviews to learn more about their motivations for departure. By doing so, you’ll gain valuable insight into the weaknesses surrounding your workplace that lead to resignations. 

Keep Your Restaurant Staffed With Qwick

Retaining restaurant staff is vital to maintaining a thriving restaurant. Here at Qwick, we seek to be your source of relief when you find yourself short-handed. Our professional platform for the hospitality industry is designed to connect businesses like yours to hospitality professionals with the expertise you need. Create a free account, post your open shifts, and let the Qwick crew fill them! Get started today and keep your restaurant running smoothly!

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