Addressing High Turnover in Restaurants

High turnover can be one of the most difficult problems restaurant management strives to solve.

Published on June 25, 2019

High turnover is a difficult issue to escape. Once employees start leaving, it can be difficult to find replacements, which can quickly lead to being understaffed. In a restaurant, the inability to find staff can set you back immediately – you might have to delay or limit your opening, your customers may have to wait longer, and your staff may be overworked. An overworked staff can make a turnover problem even worse. Let’s take a deeper look at turnover in restaurants and the steps you can take to avoid it.


The current state of restaurant turnover

Hospitality is a competitive industry. People move from one location to the next if they find something with a better work environment, better schedule, or higher pay. There are generally more separations than new hires in accommodations and food services, leading to a restaurant employee turnover rate as high as 73%. Retaining employees is one of the biggest challenges for restaurants and a difficult one to solve for.


The hidden costs of turnover

High turnover is not only a hard-to-solve challenge, it is also a problem that runs deeper than the surface level. The cost of losing and replacing one hourly employee can be as high as $5,864. A large part of this cost can be attributed to the cost of finding a replacement for that employee and training the new hire. Re-entering the recruitment phase each time an employee leaves can start racking up time and money.

High turnover puts a strain not only on restaurant owners and managers – it makes life difficult for all current employees. Turnover leads to an understaffed environment that makes work more difficult for everyone that sticks around, barrelling them towards burnout and making it more likely for that person to leave.


Combating high turnover rates

Employees leave if they’re feeling overworked, underappreciated, or underpaid. You need to know what your workers are unhappy with as well as what they want in their roles to lower turnover in your restaurant. In cases where employees are particularly unhappy about their wages, you should strive towards a more competitive pay rate. A more competitive pay rate can also help employees feel more appreciated and valued. Showing that you care for your workers wherever possible can positively impact your turnover rate. It may seem like an immediate expense, but it can certainly be better to raise the pay rate than face the cost of replacing an hourly employee.

Another positive move towards lowering turnover is allowing for flexible work arrangements. This again displays that you care for your workers and are willing to be more accommodating. The lack of work flexibility is the number one reason millennials will quit their job. It’s clearly becoming a higher priority for workers and all businesses should work towards being more flexible.

Although these solutions can help you combat a high turnover rate, it may not be possible to implement them and see results fast enough. It can be difficult to become more flexible when you already feel short-staffed and seem impossible to raise your wage when expenses are already too high. Giving workers everything they want might not be feasible when you’re already struggling to keep things in order. If you’re currently overwhelmed with a high turnover rate and feel that you won’t be able to immediately change your business operations, you can use tilr.


tilr helps combat high turnover by ensuring you find the right people without needing to spend more money searching and recruiting. tilr can also help you manage flexible work schedules more easily – allowing workers to accept work assignments that match their own schedule. High turnover is clearly a difficult challenge to tackle, but there are steps you can take now to improve your retention and ensure your team is engaged.