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Take Action Against Restaurant Employee Turnover: Here’s How

If you own, operate, lead or otherwise run a restaurant, you’re well aware of the operational challenges of employee turnover. But can you quantify just how much it costs your restaurant?

For years, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported turnover in the accommodations and food service sector at roughly 72%. The average cost of turnover for an employee in this industry is more than $2,000 – and closer to $15,000 for a manager.

That means if you’re a 10-employee restaurant, you’ll replace seven of those 10 employees within a year. Let’s say five are back-of-house or front-of-house employees, and two are managers. That turnover would cost your hypothetical restaurant $40,000 each year!

It’s easy to see how quickly that level of turnover can negatively impact your bottom line, especially if you actually operate a restaurant with 100 employees, or a restaurant group with more than 1,000. How can you mitigate those expenses?

Increase employee retention

The workers you already have on site are your restaurant’s greatest asset when it comes to preventing the sticker shock of high turnover. In addition to offering the basics like a consistent, on-time paychecks and advance notice of shift schedules and changes, your establishment’s employee culture can impact how likely your workers are to stick around.

Priorities for restaurant employees include:

  • how they get along with the team
  • what professional development opportunities are available
  • whether they are treated as professionals

When you ensure these priorities are met, you can provide an environment that helps your organization retain employees, even in a competitive market.

Create a culture that makes employees want to stay

Restaurant leaders and managers can contribute much to a culture that promotes employee retention. For example, if you want to foster a culture that values teamwork, consider hosting “family” dinners where staff from different parts of the restaurant can come together and get to know each other.

Additionally, you may wish to cross-train employees across disciplines. This can build trust and cooperation across common boundary lines – for example, your cashiers may learn why it’s so crucial to put an order in accurately, or your cooks may better understand the challenges your servers face when they’re in the weeds with multiple high demand customers.

If you want to invest more in professional development, you can do that in any number of ways. Many restaurants find that offering educational opportunities helps employees feel more committed, especially in those hard-to-fill back-of-house positions. Even something as simple as a free demonstration from a vendor, or touring a farm that supplies your eatery, can help employees feel that they’re learning and growing in their current position.

Get more tactics for your tool belt

Turnover may be a common industry scourge, but that doesn’t mean your restaurant is powerless against it. Discover more tactics you can use to retain your existing employees and avoid costly high turnover in Paycom’s resource for restaurant retention, Your Guide to Sourcing High-Quality Restaurant Talent in 7 Steps.