Mastering employee retention: how to reduce restaurant staff turnover

In the fast-paced world of hospitality, the success of a restaurant hinges on a few things. Not only on food and drinks offerings, sure — but also on the dedicated, hardworking front line team that brings the entire experience to life. 

Unfortunately, the restaurant industry is notorious for high employee turnover rates. But nobody ever wants to be that restaurant. We get it, we really do. 

And given the current shortages of staff across the restaurant industry, holding onto your teams is more important than ever before. 

The good news is that there are ways to keep your staff on board and prevent turnover. 

The secret? 

Creating a workplace where employees feel valued, engaged, and motivated to contribute to the company’s success over the long term.

In this article, we’ll show you how to do just that. By the end, you’ll know how to improve the employee experience and (hopefully) encourage more of them to stick around.

7 tips to reduce restaurant staff turnover…

1. Offer personalised training 

Personalised staff training is a cornerstone of employee retention. 

How?

By ensuring that employees receive the right training, at the right time. Whether it’s perfecting knife skills or acing customer service, personalised training empowers your team to excel in the areas they need to grow, boosting their confidence and loyalty.

Luckily, there are plenty of solutions nowadays to organise and execute personalised staff training. For example, you can use workforce management software to track performance, identify areas of improvement, and schedule training. 

Find what works for you and your team, plug in exactly what each role needs, and leave your system to do the rest of the work.  

2. Embrace the digital onboarding experience

First impressions really do set the tone for a lasting relationship. So, it’s a good idea to get your onboarding process up to scratch — and what better way than by making it digital? 

From e-sign and mobile onboarding to banking info and document submissions, create an onboarding experience that’s efficient and engaging. By swiftly integrating new hires into your team, you’re setting the stage for a successful and lasting partnership. High fives all round. 

You can also personalise the onboarding experience, giving different people access to information that’s relevant to their specific role. 

Top tip 🚨 Use workforce management solutions to onboard a new hire in less than three minutes!

3. Leverage data for insights and improvement

Data is the new goldmine, and it should be informing every decision you make — especially when it comes to retention.

By analysing employee performance, you can spot areas of improvement. 

Let’s say that you have a busy night, but you notice that one of your chefs is struggling to keep up. Now that you’ve spotted this, you can offer some training to improve their skills.

You can also identify patterns in their preferences. For example, you might see that one employee always works a Wednesday night. So, you can try to ensure they continue to get that shift and give them a work schedule that fits around their life. 

Lean in to restaurant management systems (like us at Nory — hi 👋) to set targets, pulse teams for feedback, and gather insights into how and why your teams are leaving.

Systems like Nory can even take your restaurant’s data, provide you with insights into employee performance, and make AI-driven suggestions to improve it. 

Staff training

4. Cultivate a transparent and inclusive culture

A positive workplace culture is a magnet for talent retention. In fact, this study found that 95% of employees believe culture is more important than compensation.

Transparent > toxic, always. 

But how do you create a transparent and inclusive culture? 

Here are a couple of suggestions. 

  • Operate with an open-door policy. Enable your employees to access schedules, submit time-off requests, and communicate with managers seamlessly. When employees feel valued, included, and informed, they’re more likely to stay committed to your restaurant’s success. 
  • Address issues. Issues will arise, it’s inevitable in most workplaces. But once identified, don’t hesitate to address them head on to ensure a culture of transparency and care. Whether it’s a one off, ongoing conflict, or a certain personality, you need to identify the source and rectify ASAP to protect and retain your team.

5. Empower growth

Career growth opportunities are a powerful tool to reduce restaurant staff turnover. Who doesn’t wanna move up the ladder? 

So think about ways you can encourage restaurant employees to develop their skills and grow with your business. You might implement performance tracking, encourage skill development, or launch career advancement programs.

By showing employees a clear path to growth, you’ll instil a sense of purpose and loyalty that keeps them invested in their role and encourages them to stick around. 

6. Foster flexibility and work-life balance

If you want to prevent employee burnout and boost happiness in the workplace, it helps to offer flexibility. 

As we all know, juggling work and personal life can be a challenge. With workplace lexibility, your restaurant staff can juggle these things like a pro. This means allowing staff to manage their schedules, swap shifts, and so on. 

Modern scheduling systems can be helpful here. They enable easy shift swaps and pick ups, holiday requests, and PTO management — all of which makes it easier for employees to achieve a healthy work-life balance.

Plus, prioritising their well-being demonstrates that you value them not just as employees, but as individuals. Happy days. 👏

7. Recognise and Reward Excellence

Create a company culture of appreciation that in turn boosts employee morale and encourages them to stick around for the long haul. But only 57% of UK employees feel appreciated at their company.

There’s definitely some room for improvement! So what can you do? 

Someone nailed a task? Give them a shout out. Great customer review? Give credit where credit is due. Everyone appreciates a pat on the back at the end of the day. 

You can also create reward programmes, like employee of the month, to ensure everyone gets recognition once in a while. The more you show people that you value their dedication, the more likely they are to stay.

Improve the employee experience and watch your retention rates soar

Reducing restaurant employee turnover is no longer a mystery. You CAN do this.

With the prowess of modern technology and innovative workforce management solutions, you have the tools to create an environment that nurtures and retains your restaurant dream team. 

Embrace the power of personalised training, data insights, and transparent communication to pave the way for a workforce that’s committed, motivated, and ready to bring their best. 💪

Achieving a zero employee turnover rate is nearly impossible in the restaurant industry – so don’t stress or focus too much on that. Focus on embracing modern technology and innovative workforce management solutions that will pay off in the long run to reduce your restaurant’s staff turnover.

see how our software can help you improve the employee experience!

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Staff member making salads

Frequently Asked Questions

What is employee retention?
Employee retention refers to a business’ ability to keep its employees engaged, satisfied, and motivated to remain with the company for an extended period of time. It’s the practice of retaining employees and preventing them from leaving the company voluntarily. High employee retention rates are normally a result of a positive work environment, effective management practices, and employee satisfaction.

How to reduce restaurant staff turnover?
Increasing employee retention in the hospitality industry is no easy feat. Businesses often use some or all of the following to reduce restaurant staff turnover: supportive management, clear communication, competitive compensation, benefits, flexible work arrangements, inclusive culture, rewards, and professional development programs.

What tools or systems help reduce staff turnover?
Workforce management tools can help reduce staff turnover by streamlining human resources, onboarding, scheduling, employee engagement, training, development, internal communications, and rewards and recognition programs.

What is a good turnover rate for restaurant staff?
The ideal turnover rate for restaurant staff can vary based on the type of restaurant, the industry standards, and the specific roles within the business. However, as a general guideline, a turnover rate of around 10-20% is often considered acceptable for restaurants.

Turnover rates can differ between front-of-house (servers, hosts, bartenders) and back-of-house (cooks, kitchen staff) positions, as well as between different levels of management. Front-of-house positions tend to have slightly higher turnover rates compared to back-of-house roles due to factors like seasonality, flexibility, and the nature of customer-facing roles.