flexible work arrangements is the key to retaining restaurant workers

Last Updated On May 01, 2019 / Written By Caroline Sams

Flexible Work Arrangements Is the Key to Retaining Restaurant Workers

What’s the biggest nightmare for restaurants in the U.S. today? It isn’t empty tables as many think; it’s an unbelievably high employee turnover rate! Read on to learn why the industry is having a hard time retaining workers and how to combat it.

Yes, the turnover rate in the hospitality industry has reached a shocking high with the fast-food industry recently attaining a turnover rate of close to 150%.

Why the Hospitality Industry Having a Hard Time Retaining Employees

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If you are a restaurant operator, chances are you have found yourself understaffed at some point this year. If so, you are not battling this challenge alone, 98% of restaurateurs have admitted to being understaffed or short-staffed in back-of-the-house hourly workers, while 73% say they are short-staffed in front-of-the-house workers.

So, why are restaurateurs not retaining their employees?

Understaffing in the foodservice industry is due to an overflow of restaurant jobs. Unemployment rates in the restaurant industry seem to have dropped even further since 2000.

So, if your team members aren’t satisfied with what you are offering in terms of pay and working conditions, they can leave and get another job without hustling much.

If your workforce keeps fluctuating, then how can you best retain staff members? There are a number of things you can do to lower your turnover rate and retain exemplary team members, and we have listed a few options below.

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How to Retain Restaurant Workers - Lead by Example

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Set clear expectations and lead by positive example. You must be fair and approachable if you want your team members to respect you, not to fear you. By ruling over your business like a tyrant or dictator, you’ll only succeed at creating a palpable work environment of fear and stress. As expected, this will only encourage your workforce to leave. That’s not all, customers too will pick up the tension, and before you know it, you’ll not only be dealing with a high turnover rate but empty tables as well.

How to Retain Restaurant Workers - Offer Training

Along with health and safety training, and the training needed to perform their jobs, employees will appreciate additional training opportunities. You can choose to have your own in-house training made, or you can purchase various training courses online.

You also have the option of sponsoring staff members to take courses at local training establishments in your area. Some courses you can consider offering your workforce include first aid training and management and supervisory training. If your employees feel like they are not developing or growing in their jobs, they’ll leave.

How to Retain Restaurant Workers - Use a Respectful Approach

Be open with your employees and don’t make promises you can’t fulfill. For example, don’t promise an employee a few days off or extra vacation days only for you to break your word or forget making the promise. Not only is breaking promises you’ve made to your workforce a bad business practice but it also destroys their confidence in you and prompts them to seek for greener pastures.

Be honest and respectful with your employees’ requests. If they need something you can’t provide at the moment, like extra vacation days or extra premium coffee in the break room, tell them upfront and explain why you are not in a position to agree to their requests.

Online employee scheduling software that makes shift planning effortless.
Try it free for 14 days.

How to Retain Restaurant Workers - Offer Flexible Work Arrangements

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It’s clear how the unemployment rate in the industry has contributed to high turnover rates. Restaurant workers, especially the hourly ones, are leaving the industry thanks to what is now popularly referred to as the gig economy.

The gig economy is a labor market highly characterized by freelance work or short-term (on-demand) contracts, popularly known as gigs. According to Forbes, this labor market has attracted enough people it is estimated it will soon become the workforce majority.

What is pulling restaurant workers towards this new freelance labor market? The gig economy is attracting restaurant workers because of flexible work arrangements; this means that by offering flexible work arrangements, restaurateurs can re-establish themselves as the employer of choice for hourly workers.

What are flexible work arrangements? Flexible work arrangements are schedules that differ from the restaurant start and stop time. Flexible schedules are dependent on the availability of the employee and are popular with hourly workers because they offer work-life balance.

While flexible schedules have benefits, some roles or positions are not appropriate for this kind of schedule. Your head-chef, for example, will need to maintain a consistent schedule to run the kitchen smoothly.

For hourly workers, a flexible work arrangement will likely improve their morale, and as a result, you will have a happier and more productive team working with you.

To achieve this, you can implement a labor management solution to anticipate your staffing needs; however, you will also have to anticipate your workers’ scheduling needs, and this is where a web-based scheduling system, like Zip Schedules, comes in handy. Zip Schedules enables employees to update their availability via their mobile phones. Zip Schedules employee scheduling software also allows staff members to communicate with management, pick up available shifts, and swap shifts with each other. Knowing your staffing needs and the scheduling needs of your workers, you can then proceed to create flexible work arrangements for the day, week, or month.

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