According to the National Restaurant Association, "The overall turnover rate in the restaurants-and-accommodations* sector was 72.9 percent in 2016, up slightly from a rate of 72.2 percent in 2015." The seasonal nature of the industry coupled with the long hours and demanding workload contribute to this higher than average turnover rate, but there are some strategies employers can use to retain the right people.


More restaurateurs name staffing and hiring as their biggest challenge to success than any other issue, according to the 2017 Restaurant Success Report. Standardize the hiring and onboarding process with an eye toward finding the right people for your team. It’s better to take time to vet applicants than to have to rehire only a few months later. Identify what your company culture is, and bring in your entire management staff during the hiring process to assess if candidates are, indeed, a good fit.


Everyone wants to feel capable of doing their job properly. If your staff isn’t equipped with the right tools and training to get the job done, they will soon get frustrated and begin looking elsewhere. Cultivating a training team of managers, servers, and chefs who can execute your vision and train others to do so is essential. Capture your policies in an employee handbook, and then train from that resource. Foster an environment that welcomes questions and learning, and encourage your staff to continue to better themselves each day.


If your employees feel like they’re stuck in a dead-end job, they will eventually leave. For that reason, it’s important to provide a clear path for advancement for all employees. Give your staff access to education related to your industry, and reward them for pursuing it with bonuses and other incentives. Also, employees who do not feel that their employers are invested in them will likely look elsewhere. Treat your staff right by offering a living wage and benefits such as health care, maternity leave, and paid time off.

Rather than the standard performance assessment, which can feel like a report card, focus on reaching goals together. Upon hiring and training, identify what your goals are for each employee. Then schedule regular check-in times to assess whether or not you are reaching those goals and what can be improved.

Demonstrate to your employees that they are valuable members of your team every day in both words and actions, and you’ll see your turnover rate drop, as your employees are able to enjoy a professional and positive working environment.

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