Sighing, Todd hung up the phone. Another crew member quit. That made three in the last month alone. He started making calls to other employees to cover the weekend shift.
If you manage or own a restaurant, you know the drill. Employees don’t always work out for one reason or another, but each time it happens, morale tends to go down like an elephant on a see-saw while the stress and cost of replacing them cranks up.
Independent Pizzerias Often Struggle with High Turnover Rates
Finding the right people to staff a business is rarely easy to begin with, but it can be doubly hard when it comes to hiring staff for an independent pizzeria. According to the National Restaurant Association, turnover rates have been on the rise for almost a decade, increasing over 17% since 2010.
According to G&A partners, a staffing and HR company, industry turnover rates for restaurants are now some of the highest in the nation, hanging around 73% annually. Per the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, it costs approximately 16% of the annual salary for high-turnover, lower wage jobs such as delivery drivers and kitchen workers.
Another study by RAIL Media, restaurants lose and average of $146,000 per year in employee turnover related costs. Average costs include recruiting, lowered morale and productivity, interviewing, orientation and training, and others. While some costs can be easily calculated, others are often intangible, and include things like losing long-term customers due to longer wait times or otherwise poor service.
How to Lower Employee Turnover
So here is the big question: what can you do about it? How do you bullet-proof your hiring and retention rates? For starters, avoid what we like to call "panic hires". Panic hiring means exactly what it sounds like: hiring anyone who walks in the door because you are desperately short-staffed and need to cover shifts.
As a manager, you probably don’t have a lot of spare time, but this is one area where doing a quick fly-by is not really a good idea. Like on-boarding and training, spending a little extra time on finding the best applicants will pay off in the long run.
Of course, this is easier said than done.
As an independent pizzeria, you may not be able to offer a lot of perks such as insurance and or other benefits, which can severely limit your pool of applicants. That does not mean that you can’t lure in better people though.
Hire Good Team Members
For instance, if you have a good employee, ask them if they have someone they can recommend. Consider adding an employee bonus program where they get a small referral commission for recommending someone that stays for six months or more. Additionally, when you advertise for a position, make sure you include highly specific duties and realistic job demands.
Next, if possible, think about creating clear career paths for your employees. Many people are willing to put in extra work if they know that they have a chance to move up. This dovetails nicely with another huge restaurant employee retention factor: rewards and recognition.
When team members feel that someone notices when they do well, they are more likely to stay. Although it is easy to get busy, taking a moment to tell a team member they are doing well has been shown to:
- Boost productivity
- Improve morale
- Lower turnover
- Create better customer experiences
Remember, happy employees are less likely to quit. They are also more likely to create satisfying guest experiences. All of which means that taking the time to focus on the well being of your team worthwhile.
If a team member does quit, you should also make a point to find out why. If, for example, a certain position seems to be a high-speed revolving door, it may signal an issue you need to address. Sometimes the process itself is flawed, such as a point-of-sale (POS) system that is intuitive, easy to use and flexible.
At Thrive, we understand that a better pizza is more than great ingredients. That’s why we offer a complete suite of products to help you grow. For more information, call 800-750-3947 today, or click here for more information.