12 Ways to Minimize Restaurant Staff Turnover

Consider 12 actions you and your leadership can implement starting today to minimize employee turnover at your restaurant.

The restaurant industry is in the midst of turbulent times. The pandemic threatened many restaurants that did not adapt to drive-thru/to-go, or other low-contact/contactless options, and the struggle is far from over. A 2-minute search online reveals numerous articles stating that restaurants are now facing one of the biggest labor shortages in history. 

Even some of the most established brands are navigating the understaffing issues due to the demand for higher wages, more benefits, and a better work environment. While labor shortage in this sector continues, restaurants can still turn to teen employees as prospects and put more effort in boosting overall morale in the workplace. 

Consider 12 actions you and your leadership can implement starting today to minimize employee turnover at your restaurant.

1. Provide frequent, high-quality training that allows employees to be prepared for daily guest interactions, as well as any unexpected scenarios that may arise. This training should also include preventative strategies to help keep employees and guests safe post-pandemic.

2. Have an incentive program in place for high-performing employees. For example, keep track of employee attendance each quarter. Offer something like a cash reward or free meal voucher to the employees who were present and on-time the most that quarter. Healthy competition holds employees accountable in a fun way.

3. Allow opportunities for advancement within your team. It's also important to be sure to give recognition to employees that have been promoted. This shows staff that you value their work and can encourage others to work toward a similar goal. With the increase of labor shortages, recognizing and developing employees is essential to boosting motivation and decreasing turnover rates. 

4. Be open to constructive feedback from employees and take action sooner than later. Send out a survey that asks basic questions and allows for comments. Or, leave time for open discussions during team meetings. Giving employees a voice and following up will lead to a happier and healthier work environment.

5. Create an inclusive environment, especially for new team members. Introduce new employees to everyone and assign a mentor that can be their go-to fellow employee when they need assistance. Plan employee outings to get the staff together outside of work to bond and build relationships. 

6. Minimize stressful situations. Let our Self-Order Kiosks do the ‘dirty’ work of processing transaction after transaction so that employees can focus on interacting with customers. Customers will appreciate the friendly employee who asked them how they were doing and was able to give them their undivided attention. 

7. Stay loyal to your staff. When your employee makes a mistake, handle the situation in a professional and respectable manner. This may be difficult to do at times, but employees are more likely to learn from the situation when they feel their standing at work is not at risk.

8. Evaluate employees early on to identify the ones that don't align with the culture of the restaurant. Even though it's tempting to hire the first person you interview, remember that a bad cultural fit will likely mean a very short tenure. Evaluate each prospect with all the rigor you would normally apply in your hiring process, regardless of the 'market' for good candidates.

9. Create a flexible (but consistent) scheduling process for employees. As most employees in the restaurant business are younger, juggling school, sports, social activities, etc. can be a challenge. Providing a consistent schedule that employees can count on is key. It's also just as important to be flexible. Some things in life can't be accounted for, and there needs to be a system in place for these rare occasions. 

10. Take the time to make a good selection on who you are hiring. Take note of red flags you've encountered before, and consider the characteristics that make model employees so great. Taking the time to make the right choice may be time consuming now, but it pays off in the long run.  

11. Show enthusiasm and dedication on the job everyday. A positive attitude is contagious and will motivate your employees to have the same energy while on the job. 

12. Give regular praise and show appreciation for the work your employees are doing. Recognize an employee who went above and beyond for a customer by giving them a shout out at the next staff meeting. This is an easy way to let an employee know they are doing a great job and is a learning experience for the other employees. A little praise can go a long way.  

Employee turnover can affect any restaurant, but it is important to take preventative measures to lessen the risks and boost workplace morale. These 12 tips will help you set your restaurant and team up for success.