How to Handle and Reduce Staff Turnover

Restaurants are known for having a high staff turnover rate. However, there are certain ways to limit this so your restaurant can run smoothly. With a little effort, you can reduce your restaurant's turnover and retain quality employees. Here are some tips to help guide you.

Treat Your Employees Well

The best way to handle turnover is to reduce it, and there are a number of things you can do to make everyone happy. First, pay your employees well. Don't try to skimp by paying bottom wages if you want employees to stick around. You should also make sure you're posting schedules consistently and in advance. This allows your staff to plan their lives outside of work, and is especially critical for people who need to arrange child care.

Providing sick days can also be critical to reducing turnover. No one wants their food made or served by someone who has the stomach flu, so make sure your staff can afford to stay home when they aren't well. Last, but certainly not least, make sure that staff members treat each other with respect. Regardless of how great a chef or server is, if they're not nice and respectful to the rest of your staff, they may not be worth keeping around.

Provide Thorough Training

It can be tempting to just throw someone in—especially someone with experience at other restaurants. However, if you want your establishment to prosper, you need consistency in performance, which means devoting resources to training staff members. Employees who feel confident in their work are more likely to stay around and continue to perform.

You also need to cross-train employees. If every employee can only do one function, someone quitting unexpectedly could throw your restaurant into turmoil. Once an employee can do one job well, train them on another so you have flexibility.

Hire the Right People

When you have high turnover, you may be tempted to rush to fill positions. Unfortunately, that's not a recipe for success. Look at the characteristics of your most successful employees and try to hire people who share those skills, knowledge, and experience. Taking a bit more time to hire the right people can reduce your turnover, and make training easier.

For instance, why is your best waitress your best waitress? Is it because of her personality, or is it because she's organized? Think about that. When you're hiring for any position, write a list of what's different between someone who is good at the job and someone who is great. Then hire employees with similar values and characteristics.

Be Able to Function with Reduced Staff

This will happen from time to time, so be prepared for it. It's key to train staff members on multiple jobs, and consistently say please and thank you. The latter may seem silly and ineffective, but when you need someone to work a double shift without warning, being polite and grateful can make all the difference in the world. Giving a bonus payment, in addition to legally required overtime pay, can also sweeten the deal and will make employees more likely to volunteer for harder work.

Preparing in advance for staff turnover can make your restaurant run more smoothly. You know it's going to happen to some extent, but keeping your employees happy, training your staff so they are prepared for more than one task, and focusing on hiring the right people can make your restaurant a shining example of how to do it right.

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