Employee retention can be difficult. The restaurant industry’s turnover rate is higher than the national average, and it’s been steadily rising over the past five years. With the National Restaurant Association estimating that industry turnover is about 63%, it’s important to determine what qualities you are looking for when evaluating your restaurant staffing process.
A high turnover rate hurts your business. It means more time spent training new employees and less time to focus on the restaurant’s operations. There are more than a million restaurants in the U.S. vying for top talent, which means the race is on to find good workers who want to stick around before the competition does.
Making sure you’re attracting the best candidates is important when trying to build a team of employees that will stick around for longer than a few months. Here are some tips that will help you attract top-tier employees who will kick up customer service to the next level.
Create a Strong Company Culture
People coming in for an interview will ask, “What it’s like to work here?”, so be prepared to provide a clear answer. Set aside a few minutes and define the company culture of your restaurant. How do your employees interact with your customers? Does your staff use any special vocabulary with customers that sets you apart from your competitors? Assign someone to be the steward of your restaurant’s culture and make sure everyone is moving in the right direction. Your company’s culture should reflect your branding, making everything in your restaurant a cohesive experience.
Hire for Your Company Culture
Once you’ve defined your restaurant’s culture, don’t just hire anyone who shows up for the interview. Focus on a candidate’s attitude more than their technical skills. Making sure they’ll fit in with your culture will give you a better chance of hiring someone who might stay with your company long-term. You can teach someone how to input an order or make a pizza, but changing their attitude is a lot more difficult.
Craft Interview Questions that are Appropriate for the Position
Interviews are a chance for you get to know candidates and to evaluate their potential. Before an interview, review the questions you plan to ask and make sure they’re specific to the role. Although some questions will naturally focus on a candidate’s skills, you should be sure to include questions that might not have a right or wrong answer. Tossing aside a great candidate because they stumbled on a question that isn’t pertinent to the role could make you miss out on a good fit for your restaurant.
Promote from Within
According to the National Restaurant Association, nine out of 10 restaurant managers started in entry level positions. Employees who know they have the potential to move up will stay motivated and stick around longer. Not to mention that promoting from within is also a benefit to your business. You’re already familiar with the employee, and you’re promoting someone who is already knowledgeable about your processes and operations. This saves time and resources that would have been spent on recruiting and training new candidates for management, supervisors, or other salaried positions.
Second to inventory, restaurant staffing is your business’ largest expense, so focusing on hiring or promoting quality candidates is crucial to lowering your turnover rate. Good company culture, an accurate interviewing process and opportunities for advancement will help attract and retain the best employees. There are tons of restaurants customers can choose from, so focus on finding staff that will make yours stand out.