Want to keep good employees? It’s easy when you know how…(Photo: EyeSpyCC) 


Keeping a restaurant staffed is hard during normal circumstances, add to that the upheaval the industry encountered in 2020 and you’ve got a perfect storm for a restaurant hiring crisis. Add to that the fact that restaurants have one of the highest levels of employee turnover of any industry – in 2019, that rate was 75% – and you’ve got a employment market that is well, a nightmare. 


Retaining good employees is almost as tough as hiring them, so how do you keep that star server or hostess on your team? Implementing these best hiring practices to maximize your restaurant’s employee retention rate!


1. Pay Well

A competitive compensation structure is more important than ever to keep your employees happy, and with the current economy giving employees better bargaining positions you’ve got to be competitive. Check market rates on Glassdoor or Salary.com, or ask fellow restaurant owners what they’re paying their staff.


2. Mentor Your Employees

One-on-one mentoring provides junior staff with goals and guidance to achieve more from their daily role in the restaurant. Both mentor and mentee gain valuable knowledge and greater engagement leading to higher retention and greater employee satisfaction.


3. Challenge Your Employees

Setting challenging but achievable goals is key. You don’t want anyone to feel like they are failing, but employees also want to feel that they are learning and growing in their roles. Providing ongoing restaurant staff training can help your employees better serve your restaurant’s current and future needs.


4. Promote Your Employees

Promoting from within saves time and money while boosting employee morale – and motivates other employees. Employees who demonstrate leadership, communication, and a good work ethic are ideal candidates for internal promotion. Hiring from within also makes employees feel valued and promotes a culture of recognition and reward.   


5. Engage Your Employees

Create competitions across the restaurant staff to get everyone involved and moving in the same direction. These competitions can also foster camaraderie and respect. Celebrate the restaurant’s victories as a team.

Come on, you know how to keep restaurant managers motivated, don’t you? Encourage social events to celebrate employee life events such as birthdays and weddings. If employees feel engaged with their coworkers, customers, and restaurants’ success they take more ownership in it and will be more likely to stay.


6. Create a Culture Club: Show Your Employees You Appreciate Them

Make your culture one of recognition and appreciation. Saying thank you goes a long way. Whether it’s from management or between coworkers, make sure everyone feels acknowledged. Create events, gifts, and letters to show your team members how much their work matters. 


7. Trust Your Staff

Make sure your employees don’t feel micromanaged. Create open forums for discussion, where employees feel safe to express issues and can come up with ways to solve them. 


8. Empower Your Employees

Allow employees autonomy over how they meet the standards and expectations of their role. Another way to make employees feel empowered is to give them as much choice about their schedules as you can. It’s important to create an atmosphere that allows them to feel that they can talk with you about both their job and personal needs. 


9. Value ALL Your Employees

Each role in a restaurant is important. No one should feel overlooked or like their job doesn’t matter. A dishwasher should feel just as respected as the managerial staff. Your and your staff’s attitude should be, “everyone sweeps the floor,” no task is above anyone, including you Mr. Restaurant Owner.  


Employing these 9 practices will foster a strong culture within your restaurant while helping you retain good employees. Increasing employee retention also means more of the staff share the restaurants’ values and standards. As you know, good, long-term employees are a vital part of a sustainable, profitable, business. 


Employee Retention Programs are a very valuable way for you to retain employees. EyeSpy’s Employee Retention Program is one of the best in the business and has been used by Bay Area Restaurants for many years. An ongoing retention program is a good way to show new hires you are ready to reward them and keep seasoned employees onboard. 

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