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Business Owners/Operators / Chefs

4 ways to reduce restaurant staff turnover

We knew that staff turnover in the foodservice industry was bad – but not this bad.

Research shows that retaining your best talent is key for high morale, satisfied customers, and even sales growth. Yet the average staff turnover rate in the food service industry is at a massive 72%, and rising. This number, more than 20% above the average turnover rate for other industries, is a major issue that many restauranteurs could be facing – but how are we supposed to combat this?

Majority of management may think that employees are most likely to leave a role due to inadequate pay; however, there are many underlying factors that contribute to high staff turnover including feeling unappreciated, being overworked, lack of effective management and little to no advancement opportunities.

With all this in mind, your staff retention strategies need to be geared towards improving all aspects of the employee experience to create a positive work environment and help retain employees for longer. With this in mind, here are 4 important strategies to keep your best staff around for longer.

1. Create a positive culture in your restaurant

Your competitors can copy your menu items, your suppliers and your aesthetic – but they can’t copy culture. Culture is one of the most crucial aspects to any workplace, but in foodservice it can significantly reduce turnover rates and increase your bottom line. Determining the core values of your restaurant and using this to create a culture in your restaurant means you’re more likely to hire those with similar values and work ethic, and therefore are more likely to retain your staff for longer. Although a Hell’s Kitchen approach may suit some venues, we recommend creating a more positive, respectful and fun culture in your workplace. The happier your employees are at work the more likely they are to stay after all!

2. Recognising your employees

It may be easy to always look at what isn’t being done correctly, but have you ever stopped to look at what your staff do well? When an employee’s positive contribution goes unnoticed, they are more likely to feel unappreciated and are therefore more likely to think their efforts will be better recognised elsewhere. Creating a culture of positive reinforcement and recognising staff for a job well done can cost your business absolutely nothing yet will significantly impact the likelihood of retaining staff for longer.

3. Career development

Career development helps with retention because employees can develop a sense of loyalty for employers who are willing to invest in them. Likewise, when it is time to hire new employees, career development programs can be attractive to job-seekers. Show your employees that their career is something you care about. Where opportunities are available, offer your staff to option to up-skill and apply for the role (if possible). Not only will this show that you care about their career development, but will show that you care about them on a personal level. I mean, we all started somewhere, right?

4. Establish effective expectations and policies

You may not see this, but research shows that more than 25% of employees feel they don’t have a clear grasp of what they need to do, and what is expected of them.  To your staff, this can be tremendously frustrating and detrimental to their performance which can lead to them looking for the exit. Luckily there is a simple solution – communication. Let them know their job duties and of the company policies to ensure they have a crystal clear understanding of their responsibilities. Having clear job duties and company policies also means you are more likely to hire staff who will stay longer as they are fully aware of the role they are applying for.  

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