The restaurant industry suffers from a high employee turn-over rate. If you have worked in the industry for long, you are well aware of this, and it is probably annoying you. Constantly having to train new people is no fun. So how do you get people to stay? Well, the first step is to figure out why people are leaving, and then work on taking away those reasons. Here, in no particular order, is a list of some of those reasons.

1. Co-worker Problems

One bad apple can make life at your restaurant hard. Someone who constantly calls in sick clearly doesn’t care about the work, or is just generally incompetent reduces productivity. Additionally, relationships with co-workers is a major component in how much satisfaction people get out of work, and having good friends at the workplace is an indicator of being happy on the job.

So how do you deal with this? Well, your first step is to make sure you hire people who will fit in your restaurant. Be sure you hire people who exhibit a real passion for the work in the interview and look for a cultural fit. Once you have your team, keep an eye out for arguments between team members and try to integrate all new employees into the team as smoothly and quickly as possible. And if you have an employee whose incompetence or personal issue is affecting the team, step in quickly to fix the problem before the problem employee makes the good ones want to quit.

2. Scheduling Conflicts

Get everyone’s schedules to work is a major hassle, but it is well-worth it. A large number of restaurant employees quit because they cannot get their work schedules to mesh with their lives.

Be upfront about scheduling, and take the time to make sure people have the time off that they need. Also, post schedules as far in advance as possible. People want consistent hours: it gives them the ability to make appointments without constantly worrying about work.

3. Poor Management and Poor Relationship With (Gulp) Boss

Bad bosses and management are frequently cited as the reason people leave their jobs. Bosses and the management team are integral to everyone’s work day, and they have the ability to make an employee’s life awful.

So, quick check on your managers: are they rolling up their sleeves and getting into the work, or are they lounging around and doing as little as possible? Are they relaying important information to everyone in a timely and transparent way, or do they wait until the last possible second to mumble something about people calling in? Do they provide directions clearly and assign tasks, or are they changing their orders constantly and garbling directions?

If you see a lot of the second scenarios, it’s time to upgrade your management team. Write policies for them that promote consistency and clear communication and fire the layabouts.

Hey, no one said being the boss was easy. It is, however, easier if you develop working relationships with your employees and treat them with respect. You don’t have to be everyone’s buddy, but you have to spend a little time with everyone, providing feedback about work and supporting the cohesiveness of your team. Then you will see the management team in action and the interaction of co-workers first hand, which will give you a good handle on the situation in your restaurant.

4. No Challenge And No Opportunities

Restaurant work suffers unfairly from the stigma of being a ‘temporary’ job. The perception is that you can’t have a career in the industry. Your employees want to disprove the perception; they believe that they can have that career, and that it will use all their grace and skills, bringing them job satisfaction. Otherwise, their work is just tedious time-filling.

You can help them find job satisfaction by providing them with opportunities to try new things and stretch their skills. Encourage innovation and reward folks who excel. You can set up a suggestion box for new ideas, and give new responsibilities to people who seem to be getting bored at work. Maybe the cashier can start trying out waitressing, or the sou chef can introduce a new menu item. People just want to feel challenged at work.

The restaurant industry may suffer from high turnover, but you don’t have to. If you work on these aspects of your restaurant, you will find more employees staying for longer.

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