The Cost of Employee Turnover.

Employee turnover is a constant concern for any small business but in the restaurant industry, it can feel like a revolving door. Both front-of-house and back-of-house staff are key ingredients to delivering memorable hospitality. High restaurant employee turnover creates unwelcome distractions for owners and managers, neverending recruitment, the costs of training and ramping up employees, and a loss of institutional memory held by long-tenured employees.

In 2018, the National Restaurant Association calculated the restaurant turnover rate to be 74.9% annually, compared to 48.9% in the private sector. Meanwhile, a report from CNBC puts the annual turnover rate at 130-150% for fast-casual restaurants.

Statistically, the turnover rate is highest among front of the house and management by about 10%. The understanding is that it is less thought of as a career, hence it tends to be transient. Alternatively the back of the house, cooks & chefs are more career motivated and in the right environment are more likely to stay for longer periods. So, the question is, how do we prevent high attrition rates? It all starts with management and ownership. It is there responsibility to make the work environment positive and enjoyable. A happy employee sticks around! In addition to this a satisfied employee that is empowered will take the business as there own. Empowerment = motivation. Manage things, lead people!

Here are 9 ideas that can keep your staff coming back.

1. Consider Future-Proofing With A Higher Wage. Example; $14 p/h gets you a warm body that requires more training, time and money. Alternatively, $21 p/h gets you a qualified professional…

2. Create a Positive Workplace Culture. Having a strong employee handbook and keeping your finger on the pulse of staff engagement as much as guest engagement will help you nip any conflicts in the bud and retain a harmonious and collaborative work environment.

3. Check-in With Your Employees. A happy employee is less likely to churn, saving you the time, money, and headache of finding a replacement.

4. Plan Ahead for Seasonal Restaurant Turnover.

5. Refine Your Hiring Strategy. Restaurant turnover isn’t all about employees leaving on their own accord. The ones you have to let go are part of the mix as well. The tried and true way to minimize the number of terminations you have to administer is to make sure the people you hire are a good fit in the first place.

6. Try to Source Internally. The employees you already have working for you are a great resource for finding new team members. If they love working for you, they’ll be likely to recommend your restaurant to their friends. Also, camaraderie among your staff is essential, and people want to work with other good people. To ensure a low restaurant turnover rate, think about even instituting an employee referral program to incentivize them to recommend good people.

7. Champion Professional Development. There’s hardly a clearer route to restaurant turnover than overqualified employees stuck in entry-level positions. Not only will they become bored and look for opportunities elsewhere, they’ll likely stop caring about the job while they’re still at it if they feel unappreciated. 

8. Conduct Exit Interviews. When an employee has made a decision to leave, schedule an honest discussion before they leave to discuss their time with your company. Ask specific questions to get honest responses. This will help you see if there are any patterns existing, or any problems that need dealing with to prevent further turnover.

9. Calculate Your Restaurant Employee Turnover Rate. Click here to see were you stand! Cheers, and best of luck!