Seeing consistent staff turnover at your restaurant? You’re not alone. The national restaurant turnover rate varies, but averaged 72.9 percent last year, the highest since 2008, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. While some attrition is bound to occur in any food-service operation, there are at least four ways to minimize it:
1. Identify and refine your establishment’s culture.
Turnover has everything to do with a mismatch between an operation’s culture and its employees. So figure out what your restaurant’s culture is and adjust it accordingly.
Look at all elements of your culture including mission, values, ethics, work environment, goals, and expectations. Get a realistic handle on your operation’s culture by speaking with your staff. Ask how they would define it — and what they like and dislike about working at your restaurant. Observe staff interactions. For example, does kitchen staff pitch in to help coworkers when needed and address each other with respect or, do they communicate tersely and ignore struggling coworkers? Do bussers move quickly or at their leisure? Do servers appear to be under stress, or relaxed?
The more “negatives” you see in your company culture, the more you must refine it to decrease your restaurant turnover rate. Work on creating an environment where your staff supports one another, delivers exceptional customer service, and works hard while having fun.
2. Hire better.
Hire individuals who’ll contribute to your company’s culture. To do this, identify the qualities you want each employee to possess, such as friendly, dependable, honest, kind, responsible, and accountable. Employees suited to the job are best found by writing detailed job descriptions that emphasize these attributes. Post these on reputable job sites, like LinkedIn, Monster, and Indeed.
Your restaurant turnover rate will also benefit from a more thorough hiring process that involves asking effective interview questions. The responses should help you get to know candidates and determine whether their skillset and attributes are a good match for your company’s culture. For instance, ask candidates about what they do when they aren’t working and how they’ve handled both a conflict involving a co-worker and an unhappy customer. Also inquire why they believe they will fit in with the rest of your staff.
3. Optimize your workflow.
Analyze the workflow in all aspects of your business, and look for areas which, if run more smoothly, could decrease your restaurant turnover rate. Sometimes, even simple tweaks to a process can make it easier for employees to do their jobs, in turn improving staff morale.
4. Implement mobile terminals.
Empowering staff with mobile terminals makes their day-to-day work far easier. For example, the technology eliminates the need for servers to record orders manually and enter them into a central computer or run them to the prep line. Instead, orders are transmitted directly to the kitchen, where prep staff aren’t forced to scramble around for them and can enjoy a more even workflow. Mobile terminals also simplify order-taking tasks when used to show guests images of menu items and find answers to any questions they may have.
A high restaurant turnover rate doesn’t just force you to endure the hassle and cost of constantly hiring new employees. It can also have a negative impact on customer loyalty and profits. Taking steps to reduce attrition now is your best bet for avoiding these consequences and fattening your bottom line.