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Lower Restaurant Turnover Rate: What to Start (+ Stop) Doing

Lower Restaurant Turnover Rate: What to Start (+ Stop) Doing
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If you're a restaurant owner, one of your biggest concerns is probably keeping staff turnover rates low. Replacing employees is not only costly, but it can also be disruptive to your operations. 

However, restaurant managers should note that it's not just the hiring process that makes restaurant staff turnover expensive. When employees leave, new workers must be trained all over again. On top of that, losing staff often means managers must work longer hours to get operations back on track.

Fortunately, there are some things you can do to reduce the likelihood of your employees leaving and keep restaurant turnover rate low.

In this post, we'll discuss five strategies that will help keep your restaurant staff happy and motivated. We'll also highlight things you should stop doing if you want to retain your workers.

Why do restaurants have high turnover rates?

The restaurant industry’s turnover rate is at least 50%, with some restaurant owners reporting rates as high as 150%.

While a restaurant's turnover rate is often associated with employees failing to show up, there are many other reasons why restaurant staff leave. Here are just a few of the common reasons restaurant workers quit their jobs:

  • Low wages. Restaurant employees often leave for higher-paying jobs
  • Undesirable hours. Restaurant turnover rates are particularly high on nights and weekends
  • Poor treatment by management. Workers who feel as if they aren't treated as well as other company employees are more likely to quit
  • Few advancement opportunities. Staff often want the opportunity to move up in their field
  • Unattractive location. Turnover tends to be higher in areas with a high crime rate or where restaurants are trying to compete with too many other eateries

How to calculate turnover rate 

Turnover in the restaurant industry is calculated by dividing the number of employees who quit by the restaurant's total staff at the beginning of the year. For example, if you had 100 restaurant workers in January and 20 quit over the course of the year, your restaurant turnover rate would be 20%.

According to a 2021 report by the National Restaurant Association, the restaurant industry had the highest turnover rate among all private-sector industries, logging an average 66.3%––44.5% of which is driven by voluntary separations. With the rate of restaurant turnover being so high, owners need to focus on doing things that'll keep their employees happy and minimize the amount of restaurant staff that leave.

5 strategies to reduce restaurant turnover rates

There is no single solution for reducing restaurant staff turnover, but there are a number of steps restaurant owners can take to make their restaurant a more attractive place to work.

Create an employee-friendly working environment.

Restaurant workers expect their employers to treat them fairly and humanely. Make sure you have a clear job description, pay fairly, offer flexible hours and opportunities for advancement, and always treat restaurant staff with respect.

Be open about expectations.

Employees need to know what is expected of them if they are going to succeed in a restaurant environment. Clearly lay out expectations during orientation so that everyone, from your hosts to dishwashers, knows what's supposed to happen when customers come in the door. Include specifics such as how much cash should be counted at the end of each shift or how to compute food usage adjustments.

Encourage restaurant employees to suggest areas for improvement.

Give restaurant staff the opportunity to provide feedback on what they like and dislike about their current job and the restaurant in general. Consider taking a monthly anonymous survey to get your workers’ opinions regularly. Taking these recommendations to heart shows workers that you care about them and want to improve their working experience.

Establish restaurant standards.

Review restaurant policies with your employees before they begin work, so there are no surprises later on. Make sure the staff knows how much time they have for breaks, who is responsible for ordering supplies, when the restaurant's kitchen closes, etc. It would also help to have guidelines posted in locker areas or other prominent locations to keep them top of mind.

Provide training opportunities.

Invest time in teaching restaurant staff how to do their jobs well so they can take pride in their performance. This might include training on how to take restaurant orders effectively, how to resolve customer complaints, and how to make stock projections. Supervisors should also be taught how to calculate turnover rate and how to create marketing plans to empower them to do better in their role.

Want a low restaurant turnover rate? Stop doing these 4 things.

Restaurant managers have a big role in reducing the restaurant turnover rate and carry the responsibility of keeping staff happy. That's why it's important to avoid these common mistakes:

DON'T ask employees to work overtime without compensation.

This not only makes your restaurant staff feel as if they're being taken advantage of, but it can also cause you legal trouble. Make sure every shift is covered by someone who was scheduled for that shift or pay restaurant staff extra when you need them to come in on short notice. 

Having an on-demand staffing service on your radar will help ease pressure on the team during extra busy days or when an employee is suddenly unable to work.

DON'T fail to acknowledge restaurant staff with public praise.

Restaurant employees are often working in an environment that can be stressful, so it's important to highlight wins and thank them when they do a good job. Even simply saying thank you to them in front of customers can go a long way in making restaurant workers feel appreciated.

DON'T forget to organize regular meetings with restaurant staff.

This allows managers to share news about sales, restaurant renovations, new products, best practices, individual and team accomplishments, and more. Keep staff in the loop about what's happening with your restaurant, and they will appreciate that they're considered more than just labor.

DON'T overlook promoting from within.

It can be tempting to hire a restaurant manager from another restaurant or only promote those who have experience working as leaders elsewhere. However, rewarding internal staff encourages them to work harder at their current position. Make sure all staff members know how they stand relative to other employees so that everyone's on the same page when it comes to doing a good job.

Future-proof your restaurant with Qwick

For restaurant managers, dealing with restaurant turnover rate is an unavoidable part of operating in this industry. However, by reducing stress on full-time restaurant workers and consistently recognizing their good work with public praise, restaurant managers can make a big impact on how team members feel about their jobs and the restaurant as a whole. Tapping on-demand staffing for backup needs is one way to make your team feel loved.

Qwick specializes in connecting businesses with hospitality talent to fill staffing needs. That means restaurateurs can fill shifts without taking on the time commitment of hiring a full-time employee. (Though if you do want to hire a Qwick professional, you can do so with no additional fee!) 

Need two or three people to help during a major catering event this coming weekend? Your employees don't have to worry about working double shifts; Qwick can match you with experienced hospitality talent.

Staffing is tough, but Qwick can make it easy. Create an account today and post your first shift! 

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