How to retain and care for restaurant workers amid COVID-19 crisis

The restaurant sector is notorious for having one of the highest turnover rates, at 81.9 percent as of 2019. According to economists, the employee turnover rate in the restaurant sector was 62.6% compared to a 42.4% rate in the private sector. But proper restaurant workforce planning strategies can help owners motivate employees to work harder, be happy and stay longer.

Restaurant Workers

Lower turnover rates ensure that restaurants spend less time training new employees, which in the end saves money on onboarding and training costs. With the help of a well-devised workforce management strategy, owners and managers can retain good employees and keep them engaged on the job.

retain restaurant workers COVID-19 crisis

Most restaurant workers don’t believe that the job can become their career. The higher up the ladder you go or move to a fine establishment can be a potential career path.

Care For Employees

Behavioral Round

Managers must carefully consider how to hire the right worker. This entails use of the criterion that allows the restaurant to vet candidates for job responsibilities, culture fit and job expectations. If a restaurant sees many workers are being lethargic, managers can opt for behavioral-based questions into the interview rounds.

Behavioral questions aren’t meant to direct. The question “Are you organized” may not help get the same response as something like “If I went into your room, what would I see?” An organized candidate might end up being an exceptional host or hostess, while someone with a different set of strengths may be a better server.

Future Goals

We often view restaurants as a workplace wither fewer benefits and low wages. The reality is quite different, and the benefits and compensation depend on what level of the restaurant you’re working at. A server at a fine dining establishment may value meaningful conversations to network with patrons, but at a casual restaurant the waiter make value flexibility and money until they get an opportunity to move on.

A few questions to ask: What is your ambition in life? Are you planning to go back to school? Would you like to use this job as a ladder to a successful career in the restaurant industry?

High-end establishments with a well-trained wait staff mostly hire based off skills and years of experience. Managers at casual outlets can employ the appeal of these places to retain staff longer. They can teach valuable skills needed to work at finer restaurants and provide them the experience needed to be eligible for such well-paying. Not only would this benefit the employer, but also save money in reducing turnover.

Retain employees

Not all workers are looking to etch a career in the restaurant industry. This isn’t a negative point. Restaurants can still hire talent by enticing them to stay longer by learning what motivates workers. If a worker values a fun workplace, one way to keep them motivated and engaged by creating contests and keeping them entertained. If a worker values stability due to other commitments then the restaurant can honor this by giving them the same time and hours each week.

Don’t say the job market is rough. You must look internally and find out what processes need to be changed.

Invest in the right technology

Restaurants are known for outdated technology. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are now aware of the importance of embracing technology in order to grow through the crisis. Take a look at the most successful establishments like McDonalds, Pizza Hut and Chipotle that have invested in technology. It pays off in times like these and helps them lead the pack.

The right use of tools and technology can make workers find their jobs most satisfying and provide employers a simple way to trade shifts.

When it comes to communications, owners and managers must consider worker preferences, such as texting, calling, etc. on the job. It’s a simple perk but goes a long way.

As long as the worker is doing their job the company must provide benefits and perks that matter most.

It’s imperative for the restaurant industry to create a safe workplace. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission data, workers in the restaurant and retail industries are some of the most susceptible to workplace harassment. Owners and managers must learn to detail with this and provide the right training to their workers to handle such situations.

It is no longer acceptable for managers to fly off the handle and yet at the worker. That’s not going to solve the crisis in the long term nor is it going to help retain workers. Owners and managers need to act as an HR person in order to handle the situation.

Anna Verasai
Anna Verasai
Anna Versai is a Team Writer at The HR Digest; she covers topics related to Recruitment, Workplace Culture, Interview Tips, Employee Benefits, HR News and HR Leadership. She also writes for Technowize, providing her views on the Upcoming Technology, Product Reviews, and the latest apps and softwares.

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