Employee retention poses a significant challenge in the restaurant industry, especially during the ongoing labour shortage. However, even during periods of economic growth, retaining employees remains a pressing concern for restaurant owners. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual turnover rate for accommodation and food services employees stood at 86.3 per cent in 2021, indicating a persistent issue. In 2017, the turnover rate was slightly lower at 72.4 per cent, underscoring the long-standing nature of this problem.

One contributing factor to the high turnover may be the substantial presence of teenagers and students in restaurant employment, coupled with the seasonal nature of many restaurant jobs. Despite the reasons for turnover, these statistics emphasize the importance of prioritizing employee retention for restaurant owners.

Here are 9 employee retention strategies tailored for restaurants and pizzerias to address this challenge. Implementing these strategies can help mitigate turnover and foster a stable workforce, contributing to the success of your establishment.

  1. Effective Onboarding: Initiate a comprehensive onboarding process from day one to provide new employees with a warm welcome and equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills for their roles. This includes familiarizing them with job responsibilities, company culture, and values. For instance, utilizing call recordings can aid in training employees on phone order best practices and customer interactions, fostering confidence and competence.
  2. Encourage Mentorship: Establish mentorship programs for different roles within the restaurant to facilitate the integration of new hires. Pairing them with experienced mentors allows for guidance and support during the onboarding process, encouraging a smoother transition and fostering camaraderie among team members.
  3. Cultivate Positive Company Culture: Actively monitor and nurture a positive company culture where employees feel valued and respected. Address instances of customer or managerial misconduct promptly and promote a supportive work environment conducive to employee well-being and job satisfaction.
  4. Employee Feedback: Solicit feedback from current employees through surveys to gauge job satisfaction and gather insights on areas for improvement. Additionally, conduct exit interviews to understand the reasons behind employee departures and identify potential issues to address.
  5. Address Toxic Behavior: Identify and address toxic behaviour within the workforce, as it can adversely affect company culture and contribute to employee turnover. Prioritize the removal of toxic employees to maintain a healthy and supportive work environment.
  6. Enhance Compensation and Benefits: Recognize the significance of wages, especially in the context of tipping for restaurant staff. While tipping may be customer-driven, explore opportunities to enhance earning potential through technological solutions, improved service delivery, and efficient operations.
  7. Reward Loyalty: Implement structured wage increases to reward employee loyalty and tenure. Clearly communicate the criteria for pay raises to new hires, incentivizing commitment and dedication to the organization.
  8. Employee Recognition: Acknowledge and appreciate employees’ contributions through formal and informal recognition programs. Celebrate individual and team achievements publicly, reinforcing a culture of appreciation and motivation.
  9. Incentive Programs: Design incentive programs to incentivize desired behaviours and outcomes aligned with organizational goals. Engage employees through contests and challenges tailored to specific objectives, fostering a sense of ownership and engagement.

In conclusion, while the restaurant industry grapples with labour shortages and high turnover rates, restaurant owners have the agency to implement strategies aimed at retaining employees. By prioritizing employee retention, establishments can reduce costs, cultivate a positive workplace culture, and enhance overall customer experience. Implementing these strategies proactively can contribute to long-term success in a challenging industry landscape.

Get in touch with HPG Consulting today at +91 88600 03927 and let our team of passionate Food Service Planners assist you in reaching your goals through cutting-edge design and seamless implementation of food service facilities. Your journey towards success begins with us!