Combating Labor Turnover

One of the things my wife and I enjoy when we go out is seeing the same friendly faces at our frequented haunts. That is true for most customers. The problem is that most places are not able to hang on to their employees. Now, employee turnover is a fact that you cannot hide from. People leave jobs for all sorts of reasons. They move. They go back to school. They have children.

Unwanted Turnover

The question is, how do proprietors keep that unwanted turnover from happening? You know, that turnover that happens in the first few months of employment. The turnover that occurs before an employee is truly productive.

Well, it starts right from the very beginning. You need to make sure you are hiring the right people for the job. Make sure your job descriptions and expectations are clear and concise. Only interview truly qualified candidates.

Check those references. And when you are conducting that interview with a prospective hire, pay attention to that gut feeling. Is it telling you, “No way, this is just not going to be a good fit?” Or is it saying, “Wow, this person is perfect for this position?” Follow that instinct and react accordingly.

Now, once you have that right person for the job, work on keeping them there. Train them! Do not cut corners here. Take you, or your best employee (that you will reward with all of the savings you will be getting from having low turnover), and go over every detail and expectation. If you want that new employee to have a good chance of success, it starts with you and how well you show them the ropes. It is also important that this training takes place on a slow day. Not on a Saturday night! How on earth can a new employee learn anything if they are focusing all of their energy trying to not be in the way?

Feed Them!

There are other ways to help avoid high employee turnover. Feed them. Maybe buy them a beer or a glass of wine after their shift. Those two things contribute to good employee morale, and keep theft down. Compliment your employees and thank them for a job well done, and conversely don’t be afraid to say something if you notice them doing things contrary to your wishes. And then retrain them. It is important to monitor their performance after they have been at the job for a while. Inspect what you expect.

It’s Good for Morale

Now that you have the right staff in place, find ways to reward good work. Not just for sales, that only favors the front of the house. You are saving a lot of money if you are keeping that employee turnover down, so use some of that savings for your good employees. This will also keep theft down. Give them gift certificates to your restaurant. Trade gift certificates with other restaurants and give those out to your employees.

Give Back to your Employees

Trading with other restaurants is a good idea, because it costs you only about thirty cents on the dollar (if you are keeping control of your food costs). Trade for movie tickets. Hotel rooms. Golf gift certificates. Give them wine. Some of that wine is just sitting in your wine cellar, not on the list and not worth much more than ten bucks—give it out as a job well done.

The best reward of all is that you will build a strong client base that you can count on for years to come because your customers will be able to count on seeing familiar faces when they come in. That will make my wife and I happy.


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