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6 Reasons Why Restaurant Staff Throw in the Towel and Quit

Saif Alnasur
Saif Alnasur

Nov 12, 2017 1:22:48 PM

Whether you manage the hottest restaurant in town or own a struggling independent restaurant outside the city, you can agree that running a restaurant is no walk in the park. That's because the restaurant industry itself is probably the most cut-throat place to be.

As a restaurant operator, there is no reason you should be making it any harder on your staff than it already is. With employee turnover as high as it is in the service industry, the cards may already be stacked against you. This will often leave you wondering how you can keep your employees from quitting. 

A recent study by Gallup research shows that the reasons employees quit may not exactly be what you think. It's easy to assume that 100% of the time, it's because of money, but the study below shows otherwise. 

So why do employees quit?

  1. Advancing their career or promotional opportunities: 32%
  2. Salary: 22%
  3. Not suited for the job: 20.2%
  4. Management/work environment: 17%
  5. Scheduling/work hours: 8%
  6. Job security: 2%

Looking at the research above indicates that well over 70% of the time, the reason employees quit comes down to things outside of the employee's control, such as management. 

If you are in a management position, this puts you in the perfect spot to make the change from within to prevent any future employees from leaving. In this article, we arm you with the tools necessary to keep your staff from leaving.

>> Create your restaurant training manual with our free template

quitting job

1. Long Hours

Improper working hours are the leading cause of employee burnout. In the restaurant industry, it’s not unusual for staff to work 6 days a week with 10-12 hour shifts. If you don’t ensure that your employees have a consistent schedule, they will often times have trouble planning their lives around work. Without maintaining some form of a social life outside work, employees can start to feel overwhelmed and productivity will go down.

Although highly unusual in the restaurant industry, providing your employees with two days off back to back will leave them feeling refreshed and ready to come back to work. This can easily be achieved by properly scheduling shifts. It may seem like more trouble than it's worth, but in the long run, it can be highly rewarding when you don’t have to keep replacing employees that can't handle working hours.

Tip: A table management system with built-in server management can drastically improve scheduling shifts.

2. Low Salaries

The bottom line is that for most people, a job is almost entirely motivated by the desire for money. If an employee feels inadequately compensated for their work, they aren't going to stay for long.

Are you tight on money? There are still a few ways to reward those that work hard.

Bonuses are an excellent method of incentivizing workers to hit certain KPI’s. Make sure these goals are clearly defined to avoid any confusion. If properly executed, your employees will be willing to do more work with the promise of being rewarded.

An alternative to bonuses is a performance-based raise. Instead of giving employees raises based on loyalty to your restaurant, set out a clear path from day one that highlights the goals they need to meet for a pay bump.

Low salaries

3. Underachieving Coworkers

Every business has one or two underachievers that manage to skim by doing the bare minimum. Your top performers notice this and it will definitely bring down work morale. Workers that have to put in double the effort to compensate for other employees won’t stick around for long. All employees should be doing the same amount of work, and when this isn’t the case, your best employees will quit.

Hold one-on-one meetings with each employee as often as you can to discuss what can be done differently around the workplace to ensure all are satisfied.

4. Employees Feel Unappreciated 

In the restaurant industry, employees are told that "the customer is always right", "no matter what happens maintain a smile". If the same treatment does not extend to the employees themselves, it’s no wonder they end up leaving.

Take time out of your day to thank your staff, and point out when they are doing a great job. This will go a long way in terms of staff loyalty. Try not to take your employees for granted by constantly praising them for the effort they put in to keep your restaurant operating smoothly.  

5. Poor Equipment

If you are looking to operate your business as smoothly as possible, make sure you are willing to provide your staff with the best equipment. While a good employee might make do with what they have, putting them through the stress of having to constantly repair and replace parts is a mentally exhausting task.

Having the best resources at your employee’s disposal is the quickest way to ensure that they produce consistent and quality work.

6. Terrible Management 

Finding the right balance between being a good boss and a nice person can be hard, but taking the time to evaluate whether or not you are hard to work with is essential. Your staff will notice it for sure, and they often go along with unfair behavior because they are getting paid. But eventually, pay alone will not be enough to tolerate a terrible boss.

Treat your staff the way you would want them to treat your customers, only then can you form a long-lasting relationship with them.

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