Recent world events have led many restaurant owners to struggle to keep employees. When a trained employee walks out of your business, you lose a lot both in experience and training. A good server can turn a great meal into a remarkable event. Keeping your staff happy, effectively staffed, and happy to stay will save you a great deal of cash in the future.
Make It Easy For Staff To Control Their Schedule
Life happens. Your staff members need a quick and easy way to switch shifts. You may also have staff who need to pick up extra shifts when money issues crop up. Using quality restaurant scheduling software that can be easily accessed on a smartphone will keep all your employees happy and make those switches easy.
Of course, you will also need to monitor hours to protect your bottom line. You can’t have volunteer employees signing up for more than 40 hours a week; overtime is expensive and your franchise owner or branch leadership may be quite unhappy when employees suddenly qualify for time and a half.
If you have staff that is happy to volunteer to pick up extra shifts, you will need to notify them when they’re getting close to breaking their 40 hours. If you’re working to keep those folks happy, you may need to be able to customize those schedules. To keep those employees happy, it may make more sense to keep them off the breakfast shift so they can make more over the dinner shift. Of course, if all they can work on is breakfast, you may want to encourage them to focus on weekends.
Reward Employees Who Step Up
This is not a time to allow employees to come in when they’re a bit under the weather. Your client base will not be comfortable with a sniffly server. To keep your employees both healthy and happy, make sure you have a hard line about coming to work healthy and offer perks and benefits to the folks who can come in when others are sick.
Perks for these employees can include
- free meals and free take-home
- being the first to leave when you shut down for the evening
- short shifts over the rush only
Depending on the age of your employee pool, a single adult beverage at the end of the night can also be helpful. It should be noted that this beverage should not be the start of a wild night. Many people working in the restaurant industry are of an age to overdo it when offered a drink. Keep an eye on these gatherings and if you have an employee who isn’t managing themselves well, find a different perk to avoid putting their safety and your liability at risk.
Work Around Student Schedules
Many who work in the restaurant industry are also students, either in high school or college. If you have a college student who is a highly beneficial member of your team, make sure you note the semester changes in your software so you can quickly line them up for their new schedule.
This may also be the time to start tracking breaks. For many college students, the chance to stay put and load up on hours is a great benefit of school breaks. Post your intentions on the employee notice board, both in person and online. If you have students who want to pick up extra shifts while they’re on break, make your other employees aware that it may be a good time to take some time off if they need it.
Restaurant schedules need to flex. Contraction is certainly part of the routine; for example, it’s rare that you get a rush on a Monday night. However, not everyone wants to work every Saturday night, even if that’s when the tips are best. If you have a glut of volunteers wanting hours on fall break, loop in your other employees.
Celebrate Life Events
Make time and space for celebrations. If you have a bus person headed off for college, it may or may not be appropriate to take up a collection for their new direction. However, you can certainly get a card and offer other employees the chance to write down their good wishes.
You may also have employees who are expecting a new baby, getting married, or celebrating another milestone. A small shower party or collection and gift can be a lovely way to bring people together and build cohesion.
Everyone who has waited tables has their own horror story. Grumpy clients awkwardly lit set-up spaces, or frustrating storage space can all make the working day difficult.
Every kitchen has spaces that work a bit more poorly than the rest of the space. If you have employees with suggestions on how to make things run more smoothly, gather their recommendations and do your best to implement the best ideas. Give credit where credit is due.
The quiet quitting epidemic has impacted every industry and may be gearing up to cause problems for your business. If you have employees who used to offer suggestions but have backed off, you need to find out why. Quiet quitters are often the folks who feel the most voiceless.
Strive For Longevity
Employees with plenty of time invested in your business may also have a following among your clients. Too many restaurants have, in the past, not been willing to accept a 2-week notice. Quickly getting rid of those who put in their notice creates a culture of corrosion among your remaining employees. Not every employee who chooses to quit does so with the intention of leaving that night.
Keeping employees happy has always been important, but recent events in the job market have employees and employers in an awkward relationship. Community and communication are key to training your new employees and encouraging them to stick around for the long term.