Aug 3, 2022
7 Proven Ways to Improve Restaurant Employee Retention

A whopping 4.5 million Americans voluntarily quit their jobs in November 2021, that’s surely a hard hit on businesses that were already facing a labor shortage amidst the Covid-19 outbreak across the globe. While the quit rates in industries like healthcare, transportation, warehousing, and utilities significantly increased, the hospitality industry witnessed an astronomical increase in turnover rates from 4.8% to 7% in one year. The factors that make the restaurant business more notorious and force employees to quit their jobs are the long working hours, low wages, slow growth, and high work pressure. 

Therefore, along with emphasizing on retaining customers, restaurateurs must focus on creating an employee retention plan too. Developing and implementing retention strategies is the only way to retain the best talent, increase their productivity, boost their performance, reduce restaurant’s overall hiring and training costs, and increase business turnover. 

7 Actionable Strategies to Reduce Restaurant Turnover

Are you a restaurateur, struggling with high turnover rates and looking for ways to retain your employees? If your answer is ‘YES’, we’ve got you covered. In this blog, we’ve compiled a list of remarkable and highly effective employee retention strategies that will safeguard you from losing your top-performing employees and reduce your restaurant’s turnover rate. Keep reading! 

  1. Hire the Right Talent 

The candidate who’s “good enough” on the resume may not be the right fit for the open position. When it comes to hiring, consider selecting a candidate who’s not just highly qualified, but who’ll fit well with your restaurant’s work environment and will work collaboratively with the other restaurant staff. The best way to do so is to create a detailed job description that speaks clearly about the role, expectations, work hours, and compensation. This will help you hire the employees who’ll stay with you longer.

  1. Invest in Offering Adequate Training 

Lack of training can make restaurant employees feel unaccomplished. Therefore, make sure that you provide your staff members with training that enables them to understand their role well. According to a Glassdoor study, companies with an excellent onboarding and training process improve new hire retention by 82%.  Providing a consistent orientation and training program and providing them with a detailed training manual will make your restaurant staff members feel more knowledgeable, confident, and successful in their roles. In addition, they will acquire new skills in various areas like customer service, food preparation, and marketing, which will furthermore result in reducing the employee turnover rate and improving the service efficiency of your staff. 

  1. Offer a Competitive Compensation 

Compensation is one of the key motivators for staff to stay. Offering your employees a higher wage than your competitors is a great way to retain them. Besides, it’ll help you attract the best talent in the kitchen to fill in key back-of-house roles. Therefore, instead of investing your money, time, and effort in employing new candidates, it’s best to offer existing employees a pay increase and promote them to climb the hierarchy ladder. You can also offer them timely performance-based raises, as this will encourage them to perform better and will help you retain them for a longer time. 

  1. Promote Growth Opportunities at Work 

Do you provide your employees with opportunities to learn and grow? According to the LinkedIn Learning Report, 94% of employees say that they’d stay at a company if it invested in their learning and development. In fact, you’ll be surprised to learn that Meatheads in Illinois invested in English classes to help their employees with poor English-speaking skills, yet with great potential to improve their communication. This small gesture enabled some of their dishwashers to earn the position of general manager. Not only that, but this also kept their employee turnover rate below 30%, which was far lower than the national average. So if you don’t want to lose your top-performing employees, consider investing in their growth. 

  1. Foster a Positive Work Environment 

Every business, including restaurants, knows that a positive work culture is integral to success. It greatly affects the ability of restaurants to retain their employees. That’s why you must foster and build a work environment that’s safe both physically and psychologically. When it comes to proactively creating a work culture, you must establish clear policies that your restaurant staff can follow. You can ask for feedback and suggestions from employees, and look for realistic ways to improve your day-to-day operations. In addition to this, consider promoting a healthy work culture of transparency in your restaurant to understand and resolve the issues that your employees are facing. This will help you resolve workplace stressors that are bothering your team and help reduce employee burnout. 

  1. Build a Culture of Recognition and Rewards

Another sureshot way to improve employee retention is to recognize all the good work of your staff and reward them well. Many times, the most hardworking and dedicated workers move on to work with other restaurants because they feel unappreciated and unseen. Thus, if you want your best employees to stay back, look for new ways to recognize and reward your employees. In some cases, even a small gesture can go a long way in boosting employees’ morale. For larger achievements and accomplishments, go the extra mile to offer monetary rewards, extra time off, shift choice, gift cards, or free/discounted meals. Developing such a recognition system will motivate your restaurant employees to stay and outperform. 

  1. Offer Health Benefits to Your Staff 

The health and well-being of employees should be the topmost priority for every business. Providing health benefit packages and insurance can be a great way to attract long-term employees to your restaurant. The lack of perks like health insurance is known to be another big reason employees leave food service jobs and choose a more stable career option. So, as a restaurant owner, if you want to reduce turnover and retain good workers, consider offering them a health package. This in turn will lead to reducing costs as well as time spent on training new hires while ensuring a secure work environment. 

The Way Forward

The labor shortage in the restaurant industry isn’t ending anytime soon. But by proactively implementing and improving retention strategies, food businesses can significantly lower their turnover rate. 

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