12 Ways to Minimize Restaurant Staff Turnover


Imagine a highschool student looking for a way to earn some extra cash. A restaurant job seems like it'd be the easy and obvious answer. Restaurant jobs offer flexibility and a low barrier to entry. So, why is it that the number of teen workers in limited-service restaurants has dwindled by more than half over the past 25 years?

It's certainly not because the jobs have disappeared. The trend can be accounted for, at least in part, by the fact that the cost of higher education has outpaced teenagers' earning capacity. Many students spend their summers bolstering their resumes so they can earn scholarships, since they won't be able to pay for college with a summer job, anyway.

The shrinking pool of teenage workers is just one force driving today's tight labor market. Operators are experiencing a serious labor shortage as restaurants continue to grow at breakneck speeds.

A tight labor market means hiring is difficult, keeping employees is a challenge, and turnover is expensive. So what can restaurant operators do to keep their employees for a longer haul? 

Read through 12 tips you can start today to minimize employee turnover at your restaurant... 

1. Provide frequent, high-quality training that allows employees to be prepared for daily guest interactions, as well as any unexpected scenarios that may arise.  


2. Have an incentive program in place for high-performing employees. For example, keep track each quarter of employee attendance. Offer something like a cash reward or free meal voucher to the employee(s) who were present and on-time the most that quarter. Healthy competition holds employees accountable in a fun way.

3. Allow opportunities for advancement within your team. It's also important to be sure to give recognition to employees that have been promoted. This shows staff that you value their work and can encourage others to work toward a similar goal. 

4. Be open to constructive feedback from employees and take action sooner than later. Send out a survey that asks basic questions and allows for comments. Or, leave time for open discussions during team meetings. Giving employees a voice and following up will lead to a happier and healthier work environment.

5. Create an inclusive environment, especially for new team members. Introduce new employees to everyone and assign a mentor that can be their go-to fellow employee when they need assistance. Plan employee outings to get the staff together outside of work to bond and build relationships. 

6. Minimize stressful situations. Let our Self-Order Kiosks to do the dirty work of processing transaction after transaction so that employees can focus on interacting with customers. Customers will appreciate the friendly employee who asked them how they were doing and was able to give them their undivided attention. 

7. Stay loyal to your staff. When your employee makes a mistake, handle the situation in a professional and respectable manor. This may be difficult to do at times, but employees are more likely to learn from the situation when they feel their standing at work is not at risk.

8. Evaluate employees early on to identify the ones that don't align with the culture of the restaurant or who are not putting in the proper effort needed to grow or improve. Letting them go early on will allow for the right employee to get started and is a better investment in the long run. 


9. Create a flexible (but consistent) scheduling process for employees. As most employees in the restaurant business are younger, juggling school, sports, social activities, etc. can be a challenge. Providing a consistent schedule that employees can count on is key. It's also just as important to be flexible. Some things in life can't be accounted for - there needs to be a system in place for these rare occasions. 

10. Take the time to make a good selection on who you are hiring. Take note of red flags you've encountered before, and consider the characteristics that make model employees so great. Taking the time to make the right choice may be time consuming now, but in the long run it pays off. 

11. Show enthusiasm and dedication on the job every day. An open, positive attitude is contagious and will motivate your employees to have the same energy while on the job. 

12. Give regular praise and show appreciation for the work your employees are doing. Recognize an employee who went above and beyond for a customer by giving them a shout out at the next staff meeting. This is an easy way to let an employee know they are doing a great job and is a learning experience for the other employees. A little bit of praise can go a long way.  

Ready to boost productivity AND employee satisfaction?

Talk to us about how self-order can be worked into your operations.