Managing a bar and restaurant means having to deal with employee turnover rates that you just don't see in other industries. That means more time spent hiring and training staff and less time spent on other areas of the business. While high turnover is part of the industry, there are some steps you can take to make sure that your employees want to stick around.
1. Provide opportunities for growth and upward mobility.
A lot of restaurant staff are student workers or seasonal employees who have no plans of sticking around, but you also have quite a few people on staff who enjoy their work and are interested in the restaurant business. Those workers will be more likely to stay loyal if they feel like they are learning on the job and they can see a clear path to a better position that offers more responsibility.
Take advantage of senior staff members and create mentorship opportunities. You can also invest in training and work to create opportunities. Any job can begin to feel like drudgery, but if employees feel like they are working towards a goal, they won't mind the long hours quite as much.
2. Pay your staff well and show appreciation.
A pay check provides staff with the money they need to live, but it can also send a message about their worth within the restaurant. It won't take long for employees to move on to better-paying positions if they feel they are being underpaid. You can be frugal about a lot of other aspects of your business, but don't shy away from paying high-performing employees what they deserve.
Small gestures of appreciation can also go a long way to making staff members feel valued. Whether you throw a staff party or make sure a worker gets an extra break when they are having a bad day, a little kindness can create a positive work environment that people are happy to come to every day.
3. Gather feedback.
Don't shy away from learning about where you may have made mistakes. Be sure to conduct exit interviews and find out why people chose to leave your restaurant. Keep track of the data you gather and see if you can identify any trends.
It is also a good idea to regularly check-in with staff and see what kind of suggestions they have for improving the work environment. You might just find that they have some good ideas and implementing their suggestions will make them feel more vested in the business.
4. Practice transparency.
Allow employees with more insights into how the business is doing and what kinds of management decisions are being made. Make sure that you are measuring different aspects of your business and sharing performance numbers with the employees. Practicing transparency and inclusion will reduce the gap between management and staff and make everyone feel more invested in the success of the business.
5. Branch out when it comes to hiring.
Take a look around your bar or restaurant. Is 99% of your staff made up of young 20 somethings? If so, you might want to shake up your recruiting practices and start to diversify your staff. Baby boomers represent a growing demographic of restaurant industry workers and may be the perfect addition.
Employee turnover in the restaurant industry is always going to be high, but you can encourage loyalty simply by making an effort to reward performance and being willing to make changes when you see room for improvement. Ultimately, this will translate more time that you can spend tackling other challenges.