Restaurant jobs can be stressful. As a result, turnover is a significant issue across the industry. Restaurants experience turnover at a rate of more than 70 percent each year and the average cost to replace a single employee can top $5,864.
A recent Cornell study estimates the annual cost of turnover at a mid-sized full-service restaurant to be $146,600. At these rates, turnover can decimate profit margins, making hiring and retaining staff a top priority for owners and managers.
Choosing the best applicants for the job isn’t always intuitive. The following three steps will help you get the right people in place and keep them around for the long run.
Step 1: Reflect on Your Brand
You put time and money into creating and marketing your brand, which is critical to getting customers through the door. However, how much effort have you put into your talent brand?
Also referred to as your employer brand, this is your reputation among former, current and potential employees:
- Determine what makes working for your business great, and focus on enhancing those features.
- Give the same attention to publicizing your talent brand as you do to marketing your restaurant, and you can look forward to improvements in the quantity and quality of applicants when you post jobs.
Step 2: Hire for Attitude
There are benefits to hiring for experience and skills, but making employment decisions solely on these factors is a mistake. Choose enthusiastic and optimistic candidates who are open to a collaborative, team-based work environment.
Such individuals are easy to train, and their skills will come in few weeks. On the other hand, highly skilled but extremely negative staff members are unlikely to demonstrate a change in attitude, which creates a gloomy and tense work environment for everyone
Step 3: Prioritize Onboarding and Training
No one appreciates being set up for failure and you will see significant new hire turnover if you fail to onboard and train effectively. Don’t fall for the theory that a sink-or-swim approach will get rid of poor employees early. Your best workers will leave too, because they will quickly become discouraged if they have too many mishaps.
After the obligatory tax forms and new hire paperwork, assign a mentor to walk new employees through the basics, from where to find the restroom to unwritten rules about sampling menu items. Spend time formally training on critical job skills, and give new hires the feedback they need to improve in problem areas. Be patient and allow them enough time to get it right.
This attention and encouragement at the beginning of their employment journey tends to earn you long-term loyalty and lower turnover.