How To Reduce Turnover

Low turnover is a sign of a great restaurant.  It’s possible to have no familiarity with this business but still recognize that.  Restaurants with low turnover lead to smiling faces at the door when your guests walk in.  Seeing the same employees repeatedly at a restaurant sends positive feelings to your clientele.

  • You’re not such a bad person to work for after all.
  • You run a thriving business with a rewarded staff.
  • Many other people also like to frequent your restaurant.
  • You must know a little about what you are doing.

When your staff is constant, you become part of the community faster.  Your employees develop rapport with your guests, getting to know their names, those of family members, even learning what they like to eat or drink.  Businesses in other industries invest capital for this free marketing tool that’s available to almost any restaurant operator.

Unfortunately, this is a transient sector.  Many operators are seasonal, and many others hire students or temporary employees.  Let one experienced voice tell you that reducing turnover should be one of your top priorities, and there are some easy steps to get you there.

Reward Someone

Rewards should come in a variety of forms, and you shouldn’t be deterred from using them.  A good pat on the back or a thumbs-up can make a bigger impact than you would imagine when it’s well-timed and follows extraordinary effort.  But a substantial reward can reverberate around a kitchen and dining room.

I don’t mean you should break the bank to give everyone a raise. But the occasional raise to a deserving employee sends a message to your staff that hard work will be rewarded. Word spreads quickly when the raise is big enough, especially in small kitchens.  It’s a great motivator to valuable to employees that their efforts will be recognized if they stick around.

Let Your Staff in on Your Progress

You might be surprised by the interest your staff has in your business’s goals and progress each month.  I wouldn’t suggest opening up the books or giving a blow-by-blow in weekly meetings.  But dialogue about success and your progress while they’ve been on the team lets employees feel included and know that their contributions are for something greater than just their own wallets.

Employees who know a little about your business track feel included.  If they are making the effort to take ownership in their jobs, don’t hesitate to let them feel like they’re part of the bigger picture.  They might be more likely to stick around and help you cross the finish line.

Let Them Get to Know You

There’s a reason for keeping new employees at arm’s length while they learn the ropes.  You don’t want them to feel too comfortable while they’re building value to your restaurant.  But when you have a staff making great contributions to your business, don’t hesitate to let your guard down.

Doing this builds a sense of community and camaraderie.  A few other ideas include:

  • Play fantasy sports together.
  • Go out together once a month after work.
  • Have a Christmas party.
  • Commemorate birthdays with a cake or card.
  • Hold contests and reward winners.

Building a sense of community is a great way to get employees to stick around.  It also helps develop a staff culture that stands for something and weeds out new hires that don’t fit in.  Make it a priority and you’ll be rewarded.

Make it Fun

Your day-to-day business experience may not always be fun.  The ups and downs of this business make it difficult to keep a smile on your face.  But parts of this business have to be fun to all of us, or we wouldn’t be in it.  Make it a habit to remember the ups when you’re having a difficult day.  However, don’t do it merely for yourself.

The best way to reduce turnover is to make good hires, and avoid seasonal staff or students as much as possible.  The second best way is to hire employees who have smiles on their faces when they come to work.  Keeping one on your face will help build the fun, cooperative, goal-oriented culture that will keep your staff around.