One of the oldest and most prominent problems in the restaurant industry is employee turnover.
“With annual turnover rates reaching 300%, apparently the foodservice industry’s problem is not finding employees, it’s keeping them” (Weinstein, 1992, online). The manager is the essential element to running a successful independent restaurant. In my eyes, a successful restaurant goes beyond the financial spectrum. I believe successful, in this sense, is defined as employing and retaining happy employees who are motivated to work. “A happy employee makes a happy customer” (Strauss, 1999, online).
When customers are pleased with the service they receive when dining out, they are more inclined to return and tell their friends about the good experience they had. The manager is the source in keeping her employees smiling because she is responsible for setting the morale and the tone inside the establishment. “From restaurant to restaurant, the leading reason for crew turnover is an adversarial relationship with management” (Weinstein, 1992, online). My main focus for this paper is front-of-the-house restaurant employees. I define front-of-the-house employees as servers, bar backs and bartenders. If a manager wants to prevent her employees from quitting she must keep them happy and in order to do that she must focus on what the employee wants.
Combining my personal experience with the data that I researched, I have written this report on the two most important standards that I feel a restaurant manager must enact to keep her employees turnover to a minimum. The two criteria that I feel a manager must follow in order to successfully retain her smiling quality employees are employee incentives and training. This report was written in five weeks using the following data: two personal interviews, online information and books. I’ve had personal experience in the restaurant business for eleven years. In that time I have worked in seven different restaurants. The managers that ran these establishments had very diverse managerial styles.
Their managerial styles ranged from the employees running the place to the management acting like they were the restaurant police. According to Robert Plotkin, “NO ONE CAN MAKE OR (sic) break a place like the manager” (2000, online). None of the different supervision tactics that I have worked under seemed to help keep employee turnover down. The majority of the individually owned restaurants that I am familiar with are run and managed by the owners themselves. As a restaurant employee I feel that servers and bartenders need more of an incentive to be employer loyal than just making tips.
Cash is not enough of a motivational factor for employees to not leave one institution to work for another. Restaurants that implement incentive programs tend to have employee turnover rates that are lower than the national average. When I state incentive programs I’m talking about employee health benefits, and reward strategies. Restaurants such as Chevy’s and Chi-Chi’s continually develop benefit and incentive programs, that help make their turnover rates the envy of the industry (Weinstein, 1992, online). If a supervisor offered her employees health benefits her employee retention rate would increase dramatically. Among the perks at Chi-Chi’s restaurant is medical insurance for part-timers who work at least 20 hours a week.
“A lot of part-time employees stay with us because of the medical benefits,” says Talarico, vice president of training and development for Chi-Chi’s, Louisville, Ky (Weinstein, 1992, online). I spoke with Marc Uelmen the manager of Mongolian BBQ in Ann Arbor, Michigan and he said, “because Mongolian offers our employees medical and dental we are able to keep our employees from leaving and going to work at another restaurant” (Uelmen, Interview). I believe that a manager should offer health benefits to all her employees that work on average at least 20 hours a week. Of the several different establishments I have worked at in restaurant career only one of them offered employee health benefits. Employee incentives like health insurance not only keeps employee turnover down but it would also make employees more productive.
More productive employees provide better customer service so it would inevitably mean more money for the business. The real challenge we face today is not finding new people; it’s keeping the best ones we already have and making sure that .