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It’s no secret that the restaurant industry has one of the highest employee-turnover rates. But rather than feeling doomed to routinely hiring and retraining, owners and managers can take action to hold on to current workers.
Consider these five retention-boosters:
Take a personal interest. Learning about your staff shows you care about them as individuals, not just as employees. That bond can influence their attachment to your establishment.
“Our restaurant is set in a 1920s converted bungalow that provides a sense of ‘home’ for our guests,” says Betty Fraser, owner, GRUB, Hollywood, Calif. “And home means ‘family,’ which is how we view and treat our employees.”
Fraser says she takes a vested interest in employees’ lives outside of the restaurant and encourages them to be as well-rounded and happy as possible.
“If they are, that energy is then transferred to our guests,” she says. “A great way of encouraging that sense of family is to have a meal together at the end of each shift. The group time together talking about things other than work builds relationships and camaraderie.”
Provide tools to do the job. From proper equipment to a comp allowance for making guests happy, employees experience less stress when you set them up to do their jobs well. In line with this philosophy, Nancy Batista-Caswell, managing director, Caswell Restaurant Group, Newburyport, Mass., makes sure her team consistently is kept in the loop.
“Our entire server shift tastes dishes that will be on the menu and wines or other beverages that we are recommending for pairings or are new to our bar line-up,” she says. “Our staff becomes empowered and knowledgeable. They understand what ingredients will likely switch to accommodate special diets or allergies. We encourage their questions and those of our diners. There is nothing worse than servers who have never tried the food they are asked about by a guest.”
Offer recognition. Employees want to know their hard work matters. Take a second during a team meeting to mention a server who recently received a customer compliment or a line crew that performed particularly well on a busy night.
Consider further promoting thats atmosphere by getting everyone involved. Marcus Guilian, owner, Aroma Thyme Bistro, Ellenville, N.Y., says his staff loves the “OH SNAP (Service Never As Perfect)” program. When management or another staff member sees someone doing something good, the person receives a SNAP nomination. Once a week, one person receives a small prize and recognition in front of the whole team.
Encourage communication. Feedback is a learning tool that encourages growth. By regularly communicating, employer and employee can better understand one another and quickly resolve issues. As Batista-Caswell notes, employees should know where they stand with ownership/management. She suggests providing them with real-time, thoughtfully presented feedback (as progressive discipline and validating praise) to show they are valued.
Guilian sits one-to-one with staff members at least once a month to talk about their happiness and skills. He often discovers employees have additional talents and seeks to use those abilities, such as writing content for the restaurant’s website or helping with computer tech issues.
Promote stability. Foster an atmosphere of dedication, as workers take cues from those around them. On the job application, Batista-Caswell states that the business is rigorous and the “meek” need not apply. Then, with a staff that shares her passion, she stewards professional growth.
Especially important to her is promoting from within, which she says ensures there is an understanding about who is being recognized and why within the organization.
Do those tactics work? Batista-Caswell thinks so. She recently received a card from her staff thanking her for “Risking more than others think is safe to, caring more than others think is wise, dreaming more than others think is practical, and expecting more than others think is possible.”
This content was provided by National Restaurant Association partner CareerBuilder.