5 effective ways to reduce employee turnover in the restaurant industry

Staff turnover in the restaurant industry is 3 times higher than elsewhere and is close to 70% in fast food. Here's a look at the most effective strategies for building staff loyalty.

Sophie Gaaloul


January 2023

Restaurant staff management: fighting turnover | Inpulse
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The shortage of personnel in the restaurant industry is explained by the high turnover rate, which is three times higher than in other fields of activity. This turnover even reaches 70% in fast food restaurants. According to a study conducted by Pôle emploi, only 2/3 of employees in restaurants have held their position for more than a year.

So how do you retain restaurant employees in 2023?

Working in the restaurant industry can be stressful and stressful. Working conditions are often made worse by the demands of customers or managers, but also by increases in traffic and peaks in activity. It is particularly during these periods of high activity that the number of departures of restaurant employees is the highest. As the establishments employ mainly young people, they are neither trained nor willing to work in such conditions. But this turnover during the high season is not only for new employees: experienced employees are also affected, which greatly affects the performance and development possibilities of restaurant chains

Indeed, the motivation of employees who remain in the organization as well as the dynamics of the team are strongly undermined by this phenomenon. The process of hiring an employee, including: recruitment, training and adaptations to be made to accommodate the employee, costs between 15 and 25% of the gross annual salary of the employee hired*. The financial impact generated by the search for personnel is therefore not to be neglected.

Inpulse reviews the most effective strategies for managing restaurant staff and reducing turnover:

1. Successful Onboarding 

The onboarding process gives new team members a positive image of the organization. This reinforces their decision to join the company. 

An effective onboarding process benefits the entire team. It helps to reassure new employees and guide them so that they quickly adapt to their responsibilities within the organization. The motivation and productivity of new employees are then optimized and voluntary departures are sometimes avoided. Onboarding contributes to strengthening the socialization of employees, improving the work atmosphere and building a solid corporate culture. So, how do you set up an effective onboarding program?

  • Announce the arrival of the new employee to the whole team beforehand.
  • Establish a personalized welcome program with all the rules and best practices he needs to know, ideally over two weeks.
  • Assigning a sponsor to a newcomer is a common practice in the restaurant industry.
  • Train the new employee well on all the digital tools so that he/she adopts them quickly, without making mistakes.
  • Communicate clearly about the goals you are setting for it.
  • Verify that they have taken charge of their mission at the end of the onboarding period and that they feel confident in their new position.

2. Improve comfort and well-being at work

The harsh working conditions in the restaurant industry are one of the main factors that drive employees to quit. In order to fight turnover, restaurant chains can better manage schedules to improve the daily lives of their employees. Offering schedules without breaks, adjusting employees' schedules according to their needs and avoiding under-staffing are all good practices to put in place in your restaurant to retain employees.

Finally, recruiting a good manager is a necessity. Inpulse has interviewed many entrepreneurs and restaurant founders: they all agree that a competent manager will guarantee collective motivation. Human, unifying and exemplary are the qualities most often cited. However, they must be able to concentrate on their core business - management - while the operational management part: suppliers, stocks, performance analysis often takes several hours a day. It is to help restaurant managers in this task that Inpulse was created. By automating supplier orders thanks to AI, managers save more than 20 hours per month and above all they place the right supplier orders even if they have little experience.

3. Involve employees in the company's performance 

Sharing performance indicators facilitates teamwork and helps raise employee awareness of the restaurant's objectives. This will allow them to measure the impact of their actions, and thus involve them in improving operational management. To do this, it is necessary to be transparent and make available key ratios and indicators as well as the restaurant's financial objectives. 

To fully involve them in achieving these objectives, some entrepreneurs are starting to interest their restaurant managers, as Valentin Bauer of Tripletta (11 establishments) told us during a webinar organized by Inpulse :

"Equipping ourselves with tools like Inpulse helps raise awareness among teams. We do this with bonuses that are unlocked for the entire staff if profitability goals are met." 

The profit-sharing scheme motivates the restaurant staff, who redouble their efforts to invest more in their respective missions.

4. Training to accelerate the rise in competence 

According to the results of a recent survey conducted by CHD Expert, 38% of employees in the restaurant industry consider access to training as an additional motivation to stay with their company. 31% of employers also see training as a way to retain employees

Training saves time for company managers and accelerates the development of employees' skills. A well-trained employee is more comfortable in his or her job and can aspire to more career opportunities. This simplifies the management of catering staff and limits voluntary departures. 

New employees in a restaurant should receive training before they are fully employed. Similarly, existing employees should also be trained on a regular basis to keep up with changes in the business and new ways of working in the restaurant. 

The restaurant industry has long been one of the few sectors that allows all profiles to climb the ladder quickly, it is not necessary to have a degree to rise in responsibility. The Director of Operations at Comptoir Volant is a very good example of this, as we discovered in a recent interview with Baptiste Lenglard:

"We have a real entrepreneurial mindset, I started as a multi-skilled crew member 5 years ago and now I'm Director of Operations. It's in our DNA to help our teams grow, we want to write great stories, it's a personal enrichment for us to see them progress. And to do that, we have to give them the means to improve their skills! With Inpulse, I want to offer my managers a tool that makes them autonomous: to simplify their lives with regard to orders, especially when you're just starting out, to allow them to spend time analyzing the profitability of their restaurant by accessing the cost of materials and consumption variances, and finally, thanks to Inpulse's turnover forecasts, they can predict the payroll from one week to the next and adjust the schedules." 

5. Encourage employees and strengthen the corporate culture

Many employees in the food service industry leave their jobs because of a lack of recognition from their employers. Turnover is not only related to the difficulty of the job, but also to the lack of empathy that employees sometimes feel from their superiors. 

So how do you create a positive work environment that builds team cohesion and a sense of belonging among employees?

  • Train managers to be closer to their teams, open to discussion and willing to find solutions with employees when problems arise. 
  • Encourage and congratulate teams on their accomplishments, take time to celebrate good news, and highlight employees who meet their goals and get involved on a daily basis. Restaurant employees need to feel valued.
  • Ensure that conflicts are resolved quickly to maintain a healthy work environment .

In order to fight against the shortage of personnel and mass departures, it is important to set up a solid company culture. Team buildings, organization of outings and days with colleagues are all means to be used to reinforce cohesion and develop a corporate culture.

6. how to reduce turnover with Inpulse?

  • Make managers quickly autonomous: Inpulse is a tool for automating supplier orders and steering the profitability of your restaurants. Regardless of the manager's experience, he will quickly be able to control material costs.
  • Better anticipate your business and staffing: Many restaurant owners use Inpulse to forecast their restaurant traffic and tools like Combo to create intelligent schedules that optimize payroll.
  • Easily onboard your operational staff: Inpulse can be taken in hand in less than an hour. It is a tool designed so that any profile can adopt it quickly. See for yourself how simple the tool is by requesting a demo from one of our experts.

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To go further

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