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6 Ways to Address High Employee Turnover in Food Service

Desember 2, 2022
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The food service sector is one of the most impacted by high employee turnover rates.

This can be detrimental to the business, especially when it involves key positions such as chefs and cashiers.  Economists estimate that the restaurant industry had a 62.6% employee turnover rate, compared to a 42.2% average for the entire private sector. After COVID, these numbers are even more discouraging.

Several steps can be taken to address the high employee turnover in food service, and here are six of them :

1. Hire the Right Candidate from the Start

Recruiting the right people for the designated roles is a powerful way to reduce high turnover: ensure their experience, interest or passion and skills meet the designated role. They must also fit with the company's culture, managers and coworkers. Examine the applicants' resumes and be wary of those who frequently switch occupations - as often, history will repeat itself.

Verify and re-verify their references: contact their former supervisors in addition to those on their list. Consider and pay attention to bad references. Finally, Inquire about their immediate and long-term objectives during the interview.

2. Pay Attention to Employees’ Needs

Listen carefully to what employees have to say, document them and take action wherever possible. Constantly communicating with employees and listening to their feedback will increase employee ownership and engagement. Engaged employees mean  reduced turnover rates.

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3. Provide Regular Training

Good training demonstrates to your staff that you have faith in them. Give new hires a standardized orientation procedure for optimum onboarding; and existing staff an opportunity to upskill themselves regularly. Positive reinforcement and constructive criticism are both part of the continuing coaching process. 

Your staff should be equipped with handbooks, training manuals, and a clear job description, with key performance indicators clearly defined. Celebrate their achievements, no matter how small it is. 

Finally, look into cross training. When your staff are cross-trained, your overall workforce will also be more productive. Your restaurant staff will feel more committed in their respective jobs and gain more confidence 

4. Reward Your Employees

A positive work environment can be created if managers often give recognition and praise.

Rewards do not always have to be financial, but can include formal letters or awards of appreciation, words of encouragement, or features in internal newsletters/email announcements  or social media. Recognition and praise keeps employees productive and loyal.

5. Make Effective Scheduling a Priority 

Consider the number of your total staff  and the requirements of the business and your workers. Verify that they are putting in the proper amount of hours. Often times, just adding workload to existing staff can be counterproductive and negatively impact the quality of their work.  Effective timetable management can help you build relationships with staff, increase retention and minimize overtime.

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6. Provide a Clear Career Path

Giving employees a clear path to advance in their jobs is one of the key methods to lower employee churn. This should be made available to every worker. Your server may want to progress as a hostess, the dishwasher may want to advance as the kitchen operations lead. Learn your employees’ aspirations, and set and communicate the clear path, Provide training opportunities accordingly. 

One great example from the US:  Meatheads in Illinois paid for English classes for non-English speakers who had the potential to be leaders. Some of their dishwashers were able to advance to general manager positions thanks to this modest act. As a result, they were able to keep their personnel turnover rate substantially below the national average, at only about 30%.

Nimbly Technologies recently published an eBook on how to effectively reduce staff turnover rates via a frontline operational app. The data is based on customer interviews. Download for free disini.

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