You work hard to hire the right people at your restaurant, so it’s frustrating when you are constantly losing good employees on a regular basis. Add to that, happy employees are approximately 12% more productive than unhappy employees and don’t forget the fact that many restaurant employees don’t typically plan on a long-term career in the food service industry. According also to a recent study, the foodservice industry has one of the highest employee turnover rates. This comes at great cost, with each undesired and unanticipated turnover costing owners in the US market an average of $7,000.

In order to cut down on the time you spend searching, interviewing, training new team members, you need to follow some of the best practices for reducing employee coming and going at your restaurant. The following tips will help you keep your best employees and minimize employee turnover.

Make Your Interview Hands-On

Interviewing and hiring the right team members is the first step toward better, more long-term relationships with employees. Rather than conducting the standard interview, think about giving potential hires a hands-on component to your interview process to see how they perform in action. A test run helps you and your current team gauge how the interviewee fits with the team and interacts with customers.

Focus on a Collaborative Culture

No one wants to work at a place where culture is cold, mechanical and stifling, where it isn’t a priority. Not only does it lead to negative feelings, uninterested employees, and low productivity, but it’s an indicator of poor management, too. Inject fun and freshness into your management style. While the restaurant business is often hectic, make time to focus on a positive workplace culture that puts an emphasis on collaboration, idea-sharing, and communication. Data shows that nearly 2 in 3 employees feel they do not have a strong work culture and that nearly half are dissatisfied with their supervisors which mean that in most instances, culture needs to be placed as a high priority item moving forward.

Focus on Ongoing Employee Development

It’s not enough to conduct an initial training session on your new hires; you need to invest in on-going employee training to show that you truly see value in the team you’ve hired. Regular education means you value your teams’ development. Your employees’ knowledge, skills and behaviors are the reasons customers return. Develop training programs that include advancement for example, a route for hostesses to become servers. The numbers don’t lie: 40 percent of employees who get little (or no) on-the-job training leave within the first year (which means you spend more time training each time someone leaves).

Show Gratitude

Employees sometimes feel underappreciated for the work they do, which can impact your employee retention rate. It’s important to take the time to recognize the hard work your team members do, and to praise them for a job well done. A simple thank you can go a long way, but if you take the time to focus on each employee as an individual, that demonstration of appreciation can mean much, much more. Take the time to compliment and encourage them informally, as well as through more formal programs with employee incentives. Don’t get caught up in the urgent issues of the moment and forget what’s really important is the people who can make or break your business.

Give Regular Feedback

Giving feedback, both negative and positive, helps your employees get a realistic grasp on how they’re doing at work. Without it, they don’t know what you really think about their overall performance. Make time for regular employee evaluations, or at least try to set appointments with each team member once every three to six months and talk about their performance.

Involve Your Team

Since your employees are the one working with customers and have a direct impact on the success (or failure) of your foodservice facility, they have interesting insights on the business. That being said, it’s a good idea to ask for their feedback. Make time for your team to come together as a group and brainstorm on how to improve everything from overall dining experience to addressing recurring issues. Research shows that businesses with engaged employees are two times more likely to be successful, so it’s clear that team involvement and higher profits go hand in hand.

Incentivize Your Team

Incentives can be powerful motivators that help your employees get involved in the restaurant’s overall success. Whether it’s a bonus for reaching a specific sales goal, or a team-wide celebration, giving you team something to work towards means taking a strategic approach to achieving objectives. Rewarding a job well done means everyone wins. For your best employees for example, who’ve been with you a while, offer extra ongoing training in areas specific to their job such as marketing, customer service and food preparation. Think about using everything from Employee of the Month type incentives as well as time off or financial rewards, and do some testing to see which are most appealing for your employees (and watch employee morale soar).

These small adjustments to your management style can mean happier staff members, less time spent searching for employees or training new team members, fewer conflicts from within and of course, more sales.


7 Tips for Reducing Employee Churn At Your Restaurant | When I …. (2017). Retrieved on May 13, 2017, from

Restaurants: How to Keep Your Best Employees. (2017). Retrieved on May 13, 2017, from

David Peasall, VP, Benefits and Human Resources. (2017). 8 Best Practices to Reduce High Employee Turnover for Restaurants. Retrieved on May 13, 2017, from