How to decrease staff turnover in your restaurant

Jordan Boesch

By Jordan Boesch

Every employer needs to treat employees with respect and consideration if they want to decrease turnover, but restaurant managers encounter some unique employee needs. Food service work can be hectic and stressful, and occasionally employees are in the position of balancing impossible customer demands or rapidly changing shift schedules. The Wall Street Journal estimates that it costs twice an employee’s annual salary to hire and train a replacement. In the interests of helping you avoid those costs, here are a few tips for keeping your staff happy:

Let them know you have their backs

Of course you expect your waitstaff to be courteous and accommodating to customers. However, there are inevitably a few customers who expect the impossible or treat your employee badly. If you demonstrate to your staff that you believe in them, and (politely) take their side in a dispute, your actions will win you a powerful loyalty among your staff. Even if you lose that particular customer, you will ultimately save money by reducing turnover. Also, when there’s a sudden rush, step in and lend a hand, filling water glasses and checking to make sure everyone is having a good experience. Your customers will feel special and your staff will be energized by your participation.

Reward great teamwork

It’s crucial to recognize and reward high quality customer service, of course, because happy customers are your bread and butter. However, the experience that a restaurant offers is the result of closely interlocked teamwork, and you need to nurture this team spirit. If you publicly compliment an employee who stepped in at the last minute to cover someone else’s shift, or who added an extra table to their list because a co-worker had to make an urgent phone call, you’ll foster a sense of unity among your workers. Using an online scheduling tool that allows co-workers to initiate shift trades with one another is another great way to build a mutually supportive team.

Be flexible about scheduling

Many people choose to work in food service specifically because of the potential schedule flexibility; they are often juggling outside commitments to school or family members, and their sense of wellbeing depends on being able to swap out shifts with co-workers, or cut back some hours in case of emergency. A University of Minnesota study shows that a flexible work schedule can cut turnover by 45%. Employees interviewed for that research said they stayed on the job longer because they were better able to balance work and home life.

A streamlined solution

Our company provides restaurants with the scheduling software tool they need in order to manage staff effectively and keep morale high. 7shifts offers forward-thinking business owners a streamlined way to communicate with employees and make schedules that cover all the shifts while allowing space for individual flexibility. 7shifts meets your needs as well as those of your staff, so they’ll be likelier to stay on the job and everyone wins.

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Jordan Boesch
Jordan Boesch

Jordan is the CEO @ 7shifts. Jordan grew up working in his dad’s restaurant and fell in love with the industry–the rest is history.