food and beverage underground

Restaurant Turnover Can Kill You

Restaurant turnover is becoming an accepted problem in the restaurant industry, but it still has the same drawbacks it always has, it is just plain expensive for the restaurant. Taking steps to turn around that turnover rate will save you time and money.

Why people leave?

The first step in turning the restaurant turnover problem around is by objectively looking at the reason people leave your employment. In the food and beverage industry there is a given amount of turnover that is inherit in the business; college students graduating and giving the “real world” a try, and back of house staff getting opportunities at high level establishments that will look good on their resume. These are everywhere, but it is the lateral movement between restaurants that should make you worry.

Many people leave because of something a manager did, has done, or how they treat the employees, but this is far from the only reasons. To really get a grip on the restaurant turnover reasons you need to find out more. You need to fix the issues involved.

What's the Problem?

If there is a restaurant turnover problem that you haven’t pinned down yet, a good way to locate it is through the simple exit interview process. This can be a casual one on one before an exiting employees last day or a formal sit-down with a pre-designed checklist of questions. In any case you want to find out as much as you can from the employee. Most importantly you want to have an open dialog about why they are leaving, what they liked most about working there, and if the employee was in a position to change anything in the restaurant what would they do.

Another option, although less effective, is giving the exiting employee a pre designed form for them to send to you, or to the restaurant. This has a limited value since they are often not filled out and returned, or they can be intercepted, unless you set up a private mailing address. If you go this route try to offer a small cash incentive to encourage more participation. The cost will certainly be worth solving a turnover problem.

If you go with the form method make sure you design the questions in an open-ended manor, which will encourage the employee to write what they feel without limitations. Yes, you will get your share of cheap shots, but like all of the responses, you will have to put them in perspective.

Addressing the problem

Finally, regardless what methods you decide to use you need to follow up on what responses you received. Many of the problems the ex-employee had will probably stem from the way things that are inherit in business, but many may point to other issues. These are the issues you need to further explored. You may find that there are problems that can be corrected easily, or some that could be fatal to your existence. You may find argumentative and difficult to work for managers to a combative front and back of house environment is the cause many are leaving. You may find they are not getting the support they need, or that there are restrictive rules that they feel too strict. Whatever the case one employee’s views may not demand immediate change, but if a trend begins to emerge you must act quickly to stem the flow before it becomes a flood. As I said restaurant turnover rate can kill you.

Getting a hold of this is essential. Keep in mind we all spent tons of time getting feedback from our customers, shouldn’t we spend at least a little time getting feedback from the people we rely on taking care of those customers?

From Restaurant Turnover to Restaurant Business Plan


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