Salaries in the restaurant industry have hit a record high in recent months, but the sector’s turnover rate suggests that retaining talent is not enough. For workers to stay, restaurant employers need to do more than just raise pay.
Frontline workers are quitting their jobs in droves as they face burnout, inadequate benefits and unpredictably long hours. Even though the restaurant industry has a historically high turnover rate, over the past couple of years we have all seen an escalation of existing issues. This has had an impact on workers, making them realize that they want more from their employers.
In an effort to attract and retain talent, many catering establishments have tried to offer hiring bonuses or raise salaries – and neither seems to be very effective. While offering a higher salary is a compelling way to show employees that you appreciate their work, it’s no longer enough to keep them sticking around. So what will be encourage restaurant employees to stay?
It’s time to take a closer look at the benefits you offer employees. Today’s workers demand an engaging work environment, opportunities for career advancement, and modern technologies that allow them to work effectively and efficiently. Does your retention strategy reflect this?
Catering Employers, Stop Making These 3 Mistakes
The last two years have reshaped the restaurant industry – the seismic shift towards off-premises catering, the adoption of technologies to digitize operations – the list goes on. But one thing has remained constant: restaurant workers are quitting at a rapid rate and employers are struggling to fill vacancies.
From COVID-19 concerns to inadequate benefits, employees in the restaurant industry have had enough. Restaurateurs need to stop making these mistakes. Here’s what you should do instead.
Mistake #1: Using outdated tools and technologies
Digital tools are just as important for frontline workers as they are for their office counterparts, yet only 14% of organizations say their frontline workers are digitally equipped to perform their jobs effectively. Nearly 70% of frontline workers still use paper scheduling, making it difficult and inaccessible when last-minute changes are needed. Additionally, most restaurants use outdated training models that make onboarding inefficient and exhausting.
Instead of stressing over schedules and chasing after someone to ask a simple question, arm your restaurant employees with digital tools that support real-time communication, plus access to scheduling and Training. By providing a digital work platform, workers can manage their schedules and easily retrieve information that helps them complete their daily tasks. These types of technologies are mutually beneficial as they improve operational efficiency while helping to alleviate burnout.
Mistake #2: Looking only for external candidates
When you’re struggling to fill a vacancy, the perfect candidate might be right in front of you. Internal recruiting is a cost-effective and easier way to fill vacancies because it reduces the time and cost needed to hire and onboard candidates. You also already know the candidate and they will know how the company works and its brand standards. In addition, employees of companies with high internal mobility are more likely to stay longer in the organization.
Promote internal mobility within your organization by offering attractive training modules that employees can follow at their own pace and on their own time. For example, if you are looking for a restaurant manager and a hostess is interested, she can take the management training program for the career advancement opportunity at hand. With a digital workplace, training sits alongside standard operating procedures, company news, task lists and scheduling on a single app in the employee’s pocket, ensuring these functions are prioritized. Plus, you can establish a two-way communication channel where you can ask employees for feedback on anything from sentiment to career advancement opportunities, and post internal positions before seeking out external candidates.
Mistake #3: Not Providing Solid Employee Benefits
Restaurant employers have tried everything to entice job applicants, from raising wages to offering hiring bonuses. Unfortunately, these efforts have failed to fill the labor gap. While fair compensation is essential, workers want more than higher wages. They want an engaging work environment, respect and flexibility.
The pandemic has proven that flexibility in the workplace is essential, but restaurant jobs require workers to be on-site. So you have to provide flexibility in other ways. A digital workplace allows you to standardize training across regions and allows workers to take additional shifts in other locations. It is a flexible option that puts workers in control of their economic well-being. And since wages are usually set in stone within an institution, you can also provide early access to earned wages, before the typical “payday,” using tools like ExpressPay.
Invest in your employees or risk their departure
Unfortunately for restaurateurs, labor shortages aren’t going away anytime soon. Instead of waiting, it’s time to rethink your current work practices and how you treat workers. Do your employees know that you appreciate them? Are they equipped with the proper tools to do their job effectively? By creating an engaging, people-focused environment, you can alleviate burnout, boost retention, and make your restaurant a place where employees are proud to work.
Steven Kramer, co-founder, president and CEO of WorkJam, has over 20 years of leadership experience driving business results and developing disruptive technologies for the retail industry. In 1999, Steven co-founded iCongo, one of the world’s leading software providers for omnichannel retail and B2B commerce solutions, which merged with hybris Software in 2011 and became the largest independent commerce solutions provider. electronics with 27 offices worldwide and more than 1,000 employees. and over 600 customers. Steven was part of the management team and was a member of the board of directors of hybris. hybris Software was purchased by SAP in 2013. Steven holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from McGill University.
While innovating in omnichannel and the connected consumer, Steven identified a gap between traditional workforce management systems and the way retailers hire, schedule and manage their hourly employees. With this in mind, Steven co-founded WorkJam and is responsible for the strategic direction of the company.