One doesn’t have to work in the restaurant industry for long to know that employee turnover is an issue. Covering the demands of recruiting, vetting, and training new employees is undoubtedly a struggle. While many restaurants choose to manage issues related to turnover by shortening their onboarding process, the best way to reduce loss from turnover is by reducing overall turnover. 

Employee turnover is often caused by a lack of enthusiasm and job satisfaction, so it follows that a boost in employee morale leads to a decline in turnover rates. Despite the recognized importance of engaging staff, many restaurant owners worry that the time and resources needed to boost employee morale will take away from overall operations. Luckily, this doesn’t have to be the case! Just a few small changes within workplace culture can help boost employee morale, increase retention rates, and improve overall restaurant performance.

Provide Career Development Opportunities

When employees feel that their employer believes and invests in their future career, they are likely to show increased loyalty to the business. One way that restaurant owners can invest in their staff is by providing on-the-job skills training and other professional development opportunities at little or no cost to employees. 

While investing in professional development may require a bit of investment upfront, it is likely to improve a restaurant’s bottom line in the long run. When staff feels supported by their employer, they are less likely to seek employment elsewhere, decreasing losses due to turnover. Further, learning new skills gives employees a renewed sense of purpose and can help to reduce burnout.

Include Employees in Decision-Making

Burnout often occurs when employees feel that they are dedicating their all to an employer who has little regard for their personal needs. By including staff in the decision-making process on issues that directly affect them, restaurant owners allow employees to take greater control and ownership of their work. Inviting employees to collaborate when developing a monthly schedule, for example, shows that their personal time and preferences are just as important as keeping the restaurant staffed. 

Celebrate Employee Success

Employees who feel appreciated for their work are likely to continue to provide quality service and are less likely to feel discouraged on days when things don’t go their way. By showcasing a job well done, restaurant owners also motivate other employees to achieve the same level of excellence in their work, creating a “ripple effect” of outstanding service. 

Employee appreciation, while it can come in the form of a bonus or some other incentive, doesn’t always have to come at the expense of an employer. Something as simple as writing a thank-you note, awarding an “employee of the month”, or giving a shout-out during a staff meeting is often enough to make restaurant staff feel recognized and appreciated.

Boosting employee morale not only increases employee retention, it also improves overall restaurant performance. In an industry where high rates of turnover can drain restaurants of profits and resources, taking the time to implement small changes to improve employee satisfaction pays off for businesses in the long run.