The Best Growth Strategy is Keeping Good Employees
Every time an employee quits you could be loosing 1000’s of dollars. You now have to train someone new to take their spot. Your new employee isn’t going to know their job as good as your previous employee did right away, maybe ever. It is in your restaurants best interest if you invest and keep your good employees. The number one way to grow your restaurant is to keep your employees.
Why Crew Members Quit
If you read the 50 Restaurant Owners and Managers Speak Out What I wish I would of Known Before I started in The Restaurant Business you would see there are a few recurring statements. One of them is how hard it is to find good help and keep them. Here’s the thing I have learned over the years. People don’t quit because they’re not making enough money usually. Money will help attract new talent but people don’t usually quit because of money. Usually people quit because they don’t like the management and / or like how things are going.
Think about it how many jobs have you quit in the past over money? I know I haven’t quit many because of money. If anything I have kept that job and found a second job to help make more money. As long as I like the people that work there I stay.
It is important to have a fair wage. Nobody wants to work for free. I haven’t found one person yet that will work for free. If you do find someone that will work for free share your secret.
Losing 2 of my Best Managers
Here’s an example for you. I have two stores. I stopped going to the second store and put most of my time into the first store. I learned first hand why people quit. I had two managers quit shortly after I stopped putting my time into the second store. They were directly under my partner, who is a boss not a leader, you can refer to “An Effective Restaurant Manager vs a Boss” about what is the difference between the two if you don’t know.
I will never forget when I talked to my top manager there. He said “You’re going to have to either start coming here more like you used to or you’re going to have close the store.” I looked at him and said I know my partner can be hard to work with. He looked at me and said it is even harder to work with someone that doesn’t care and does nothing. The other manager left because he wanted something new. It wasn’t soon after them leaving that the rest of the crew that was there quit as well. Let me tell you, you haven’t owned a restaurant until the entire crew walks out on you in a matter of a few days. Now that right there is a lot of fun!
We had to find a whole new crew. It has happened twice where the whole crew has quit not at the same time but close. Each time it was at the second store.
Getting Your Crew To Help You Find New Crew Members
Here is a trick that I have learned throughout the years that seems to work. Tell your crew if you know someone that wants a job let them know we are hiring. If they apply and they last 90 days you get a $100 bonus, but if they quit before that 90 days they have to give you $100. I have used this method several times and every time it has worked well.
Another way to get your crew to help find other good team members is simply to just ask them. “Hey do you know anyone looking for a job?” Only ask your good team members though. Chances are they are the ones that will know others that have good work ethics. If you ask one of your star team members the chances are they will only refer others they know will work out. They won’t want their reputation tarnished by a bad apple.
Both ways will work it is just up to you which way you want to go.
Retaining Restaurant Employees
There are several legitimate reasons why a team member might quit. For instance they could be moving, starting a family, or going to school. You want to know how to get your team members to stay? I have found that you can break it down into 9 areas.
9 Predictors of Employee Retention
1. Restaurant Team members personality also match the job –
This is just as it sounds. The team members personality needs to match the job. Not only does their personality need to match but they need to be able to handle the daily activities that are associated with the job they are performing. If they are a server and they have an introverted personality the chances are being a server or bartender won’t be a good match for them. This doesn’t mean they won’t fit in with your restaurant but that they may need to be moved to the back of the house. It is a good idea to have them take an online test that shows what kind of personality they have. There are plenty of websites out there that do just this. It’s a Google personality test. Here’s a free one that I have used in the past.
2. Role Challenge –
A team member that is challenged on day-to-day bases is more likely to stay longer and you are more than likely going to receive more out of them as well. If a team member goes to a job and isn’t being challenged the job will become mundane. They will search for something that is going to challenge them and keep their brain thinking. This will create a more creative environment if the team member is being challenged. This helps their brain think of new ways to solve problems.
3. Compensation –
Compensation plays a big role in attracting new talent to your restaurant but not as big of a role in retaining them. It is hard to get top talent if you are not willing to pay for it. Especially if you’re trying to attract restaurant team member that do outstanding work or have a unique skill set that others do not portray. Restaurants have always been known to pay minimum wage and not give insurance. I suggest that you doing just the opposite. There have been many experiments done that have been documented that show if you give your team members a higher pay your sales and profit will go up.
Imagine if you were the only restaurant in town that offered some kind of 401 k, insurance, and above minimum wage. You would attract a lot of people and a lot of attention to your restaurant. I am not saying you need to do all that but if you can afford it go for it.
Read this article on 3 reasons you should raise your pay rate to your employee’s.
4. Balance of work and life –
Every human being wants to experience life. Things have changed from 15 years ago. People now more than ever want to explore and experience life. Life isn’t just about working to them. Jobs are still important to people but they want a more balanced life. A more balanced life means a happier team member. Offering things like paid vacations and doing things as a group are things your team members like. If you can’t afford to do both try to do things together.
I know of 2 different companies that I have seen do this. One company had everyone come together and play paint ball. Everyone was aloud to bring their families and spent the entire first half of the day playing paint ball. It was a lot of fun. Another company took everyone and their families to a professional baseball game. Some companies give away trips. Most of you reading this own restaurants and those things might be out of your budget. Try thinking of some things you can do on a smaller scale.
Team members also want to have a flexible schedule especially now more than ever before. Peoples lives are so busy that they need to be able to change their schedule if they need to. This could mean allowing them to make there own schedule similar to what google does or allowing them to switch schedules with other team members. I allow this but they need to check with me first. I can’t have someone that knows how to do everything switching with someone who is brand new.
5. Rewards –
I used to have a team member that worked at my restaurant and at Home Depot. I asked her where do you like working better? She said Home Depot. I asked why? She said it was because they had contest for the cashiers. I thought to myself that is really all it takes? So it was after that I started doing contest as well. I held a contest that whomever can sell the most breadsticks and a 2 Liter together by the end of the month would receive a gift certificate to Outback Steakhouse. They really enjoyed it and got after it. Another time I gave away random gift certificates to Outback Steakhouse for doing well that month. There are a lot of little things like that you can give away that your team members will really enjoy.
6. Supervisor Support –
This one is a big one. Having a supervisor that is willing to help you at the most crucial times. If you can’t be there then you’ll want it to be someone under you that the manager on duty can call and that they can make decisions for you. Nothing frustrates a manager more than having a problem and they can’t get a hold of you to solve it if they can’t. It could be someone called in that day and they are short staffed or it could be someone’s food got really messed up, or it could be they ran out of an ingredient.
When I had 2 stores going that doubled my problems that I had to attend to even on my days off. My partner really didn’t like to be bothered when he wasn’t there so both stores would always call me. I would ask “did you try calling Dave my partner”? They would respond with one of two answers either they did and he didn’t answer or they say they don’t like calling him because he isn’t helpful. My managers at the second store would get so fed up with this that numerous employee’s quit.
7. Work environment –
No one likes to go to work if the work environment isn’t a healthy one. People don’t want to go to work if they don’t feel safe. There needs to be a way to handle complaints against fellow team members. They need to know where to go if they aren’t getting along with a certain team member. When there is hostility in the work place people are more likely to quit. Studies have shown that work environments are one of the leading reasons why people quit.
First hand experience from myself is that I used to have a manager that when I wasn’t around they would throw things and go outside and punch their car when things would get busy in the kitchen. My team members started telling me they didn’t want to work with him when he was running the show. It made for a hostile work environment.
8. Product or service –
People like to serve a high quality product and work where there is good service. Not only do the team members like it but so do your customers. Having a high quality product something they can be proud to sell is something that will help keep your team members as well. Sounds like something you should be doing anyways if you want to stay open but you’d be surprised.
9. Training and career advancement –
This is something that everyone company needs to make sure they have in place when they open. It was something I took for granted when I opened up my store. I thought everything was common sense. I had been in the industry since I was 15 though too. Have a training guide for each and every job you hire for even if it is only one page. People want to do what is expected from them. In the restaurant industry people may be responsible for several different things but they want to know what they are going to be responsible for during their shift.
There also needs to be an advancement plan in place for every new hire. If they don’t want to advance you should get rid of them right away. You know they aren’t interested in your company if they aren’t wanting to advance.
Don’t let money walk out the door. Use these ideas and you could see a much lower turnover rate and your profits could even start to go up. I have used these rules for years and I have a pretty low turnover rate for being a restaurant.
*results may vary