Employee Turnover Rate | 5 mins read

How to Fix Employee Turnover Rate

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Cynthia Vespia

By Cynthia Vespia

Why is Restaurant Employee Turnover so High?

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Employee retention comes with its own set of challenges within the restaurant industry. Typically, food service sees employee engagement slip over a time period until employees start to leave.

Many employees, including new hires, will transition over a period time, each for different reasons. Here are some of the reasons why the retention rate for the restaurant industry is lacking and talent acquisition is becoming harder.

Teenagers and Restaurant Jobs
Teens entering the workforce are a major factor in the high turnover rate for restaurants. According to case studies from the National Restaurant Association, one-third of teenagers find work in the restaurant industry.

Teens take on positions in restaurants that they view as entry-level and easy to quit. This means the turnover rate for this age group is high on average. When calculating company turnover, understanding the commitment level of staff during talent acquisition will help curb high turnover rates.

Hours and Pay
Another main reason why people leave restaurant jobs is due to hours and pay. These factors can plague employee retention at any small business but it plays a massive role for those in food service. If employees are receiving too many hours they may feel overwhelmed. While if hours are reduced, the employee will seek a different job offering more opportunity. The same is true for wages.

Most restaurants have minimum starting wages but if there is no room to see an increase, it will have new employees job searching. Even those with an annual salary, like management are likely to quit if they feel they're being underpaid.

No Room for Growth
Career development can be lacking in parts of the restaurant industry. With no room for growth in the business, an employee will take their skills elsewhere. Employees who have been putting in time and effort for a company expect to see their hard work and dedication flourish in some way. But if there is no room for advancement, they will seek opportunities at another job more suited to their needs.

  • Teens working in restaurants find view their entry-level positions as unimportant or easy to quit. This means the turnover rate will be high for this age group in general.
  • The average employee in a restaurant has issues with hours and pay.
  • Employees left due to no room for career development or company growth.

How to Reduce Turnover Rate

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When a restaurant sees a high turnover rate, it can affect the success of that restaurant. Valuable time and resources are spent training new hires only to have these same people leave a short time later. This can impact the staff members which in turn affects the quality experience the guest receives.

Rather than just accept these facts as the norm, a restaurant manager should seek ways to reduce employee turnover.

1. Higher Wage
One of the chief complaints that leads to employee turnover is low wages. A higher minimum wage has worked for many restaurants seeking to keep their retention rates high. Rather than spend money hiring and training new staff every time an employee quits, investing it into the wages of current employees will mitigate the losses felt from a heavy turnover.

2. Create a Positive Workplace Culture
A toxic workplace culture is another reason why employees don't stick around in a restaurant industry job. The fast pace of food service can ignite tempers. But even though staff and management can butt heads with each other, having a strong sense of leadership can curb an issue leading to an employee walkout.

Further, when the values and expectations are clearly established through an employee handbook, shift meetings, and further training it will maintain a sense of structure and unity.

3. Check-in With Employees
Open communication between a restaurant owner and their staff can lead to a better understanding of what's needed to keep staff from leaving. Make sure the employees are happy in their roles and not just going through the motions to grab a paycheck. A regular check-in with staff members can reveal what parts of the position are working and which need to be adjusting to better meet the needs of the staff. If the employees are happy in their respective roles it shows during the dining experiences with the guests and creates for a better environment all around.


4. Refine Your Hiring Strategy
Employees leaving more frequently might have something to do with how they were hired for the position in the first place. Minimizing the likelihood of a staff member ultimately quitting, or getting terminated, comes down to a streamlined approach to hiring.

To ensure a good fit for the position at the jump, a refined hiring strategy is essential. Planning ahead for busy seasons can also curb a high turnover by bringing on staff and training them before the rush.

5. Conduct Exit Interviews
To understand why there is high employee turnover, a frank discussion with those who are leaving is beneficial. Asking about their time with the company openly and honestly will shine a light on what needs to be corrected to reduced the high turnover rates. Any existing problems or patterns that lead to further turnover should be fixed immediately before more staff leave. Some reasons are out of a manager's control, however the others that have been discussed such as wages and room for growth can be altered to sway any future employee turnover.

Conclusion to Reducing Turnover Rate

  • The reasons for a high employee turnover rate can be numerous in the restaurant business including annual salary, career development, employee experience or company culture. Employees quit for different reasons.
  • Labor statistics show that the annual turnover rate for the restaurant industry shows a high number of employees leave. Reducing the total number of employee turnover rate takes definitive action.