Ever seen the show “Kitchen Nightmares?” Even though it carries the stigma of reality TV, the show genuinely has some lessons for small restaurant owners to take to heart. The service industry is brutal when it comes to turnover rates. If you want to keep your staff around for awhile, you’ll have to show them you appreciate them to make them stay.
“The turnover rate for employees in the restaurants-and-accommodations sector was 62.6 percent in 2013, compared to a 42.2 percent turnover rate in the overall private sector” (National Restaurant Association).
One of the recurring themes in almost every episode has to do with the staff. Gordon Ramsay rails into restaurant owners who do not show respect to their staff who are working hard. Your staff is what makes your business a reality. Showing them you care can ultimately assure you won’t constantly be interviewing new staff.
Not all of these ideas were inspired from “Kitchen Nightmares,” but they ultimately the key ingredients for success.
#1 Have a recognition book.
Get a super cute notebook (it can be from the dollar section at Target), and encourage team members to write down praises of their teammates and managers. If you run multiple locations, you can have your General Manager lead the charge at each location.
This may seem somewhat childish, but it can do wonders for a team’s morale. The reason we love this is because words have power. Sometimes feeling appreciated, or recognized for extra actions they take assure staff is feeling valued.
#2 Flexible hours.
There are some crazy, unpopular hours that go along with keeping a restaurant. But understand that your team does not want to work every single undesirable hour.
Give your staff some breathing room, and let them have some flexibility with their schedules.
The flexibility can be worth a lot more in the long run. If you’re accommodating to their own schedule, they are more likely to stick around as happier and harder working employees.
#3 Be polite.
This may seem obvious, but the basic act of being respectful to your staff will do wonders for the feel-good vibes around the restaurant.
No one likes working in a hostile environment, or feeling like their boss is trying to put them down. If your team member has an issue or complaint, try and listen to them with patience and understanding.
#4 Day off pass.
You would be amazed what good a day off can do for your staff. Every quarter or so, give each staff member a free vacation day to pick. This acts as a sort of freebie where they aren’t calling in “sick” or take the day off without you planning for it, all the better if it’s paid!
#5 Snack basket.
Sometimes it’s hard to catch a break to sit down and eat in a restaurant. Being surrounded by food creates a tempting environment for your staff to eat food on the side.
This can add up to your shrinkage costs. Have snacks on hand for your staff to eat freely. This will cut down on your missing food costs, and overall make your employees happier. The same goes for drinks! Have a nice coffee maker for your staff to get in a caffeine break.
#6 Create a space for them.
Try and set aside a place in your building where your staff can escape and relax on their breaks. None of them (not even you) want to go sit down where customers are sitting when they are supposed to be taking a break from work.
#7 Give perks to your Part-Timers.
Not all employees are full-time workers but treat them like they are. Acknowledge their contributions. If they’re temps, write notes to their representative about their great work.
#8 Close early or open late.
Everyone enjoys a day off, sometimes it’s worth the loss of customers to shut down a bit early. Give your staff a half day such as the morning or afternoon off. Even better if you can give your staff part of a holiday off.
Remember, your staff is your family.
Don’t let the relationship with your staff fall apart. All the tips above can help with the dreaded turnover rate, and build a stronger team.
If you want to learn more helpful tips about managing your restaurant, subscribe to our blog.