Restaurant Employee Engagement: The Often Ignored Yet Critical Factor Influencing Your Profits

employee engagement

The problem of employee turnover is not foreign to restaurateurs across the globe. The overall turnover rate in the  industry is as high as 74.9%, as per a report from Restaurateurs lose out an average of $150,000 a year solely because of the high turnover rate. The issue of  attrition can be solved by focusing on increasing the employee engagement rate, or an employee’s commitment to an organization. Engaged employees do more than just their duty and help uplift your brand . Ensuring that people work as a team secures business owners employee loyalty and a higher quality of work. 

Before moving forward with some tips and insights on how to enhance your employee engagement rate, lets understand why the problem of high attrition arises. 

Understanding The Problem Of High Turnover Rate 

The percentage of employee turnover is  high as the restaurant industry works differently than any other sector. People look to gain skills at one restaurant and then try to find another that pays them better. The good and bad part about this industry is that you find jobs pretty quickly. There are so many restaurants waiting to hire people with good skills. So employees can always look for a better opportunity once they get skilled enough. 

Increasing employee engagement not only eliminates the need to look for a better job but also makes employees want to do more with their time. Engaged employees are more productive and hence generate more revenue. Their dedication towards the brand also helps to boost the performance of fellow teammates. 

In this blog post, we shall talk about how business owners around the globe can create a better environment for their people to work in. 

How To Enhance Employee Engagement At Your Restaurant 

Now that we have established the cruciality of the problem of employee turnover and the importance of employer engagement in combating it, we shall dig into how you can enhance your engagement rate. Here are seven creative ideas that you can try at your restaurant. 

1. Reinforce Your Brand’s Mission And Values

Your employees must understand the values and mission of your restaurant brand. When your employees know that they are working towards a larger goal, they tend to work better. 

Employees tend to feel more passionate about their work once they resonate with your brand. You can start to offer recognitions like ‘Employee of the Month’ or incentives to employees who are passionate about making a difference.

2. Have Team Bonding Activities 

A recent study by 7Shifts found that three-quarters of restaurant employees believe the best part of their jobs to be their colleagues. The bond employees build among themselves plays a crucial role in their overall performance. A happy team also boosts  customer experience. 

You can try creating a happier team by making team meals a tradition, or hosting parties outside of work. Along with that,  provide enough vacation time for all your teams that makes them feel relieved. 

One great example of  team bonding activity is Byg Brewski’s tattoo drill. Employees came together to tattoo their brand’s name on themselves as a symbol of their dedication and love towards it.The activity became such a hit that even customers are getting themselves inked. 

byg brewski tattoo story3. Restaurant Employee Recognition Improves Loyalty 

Research suggests that companies with a culture of recognizing and celebrating employee milestones have a 31% lower restaurant employee turnover rate than others. Employee Recognition should not stop at performance rewards but extends to personal occasions like birthdays, anniversaries or work anniversaries to make them feel special.

4. Have Healthy Games And Competitions To Calculate Performances 

A great way to monitor a restaurant employee performance is to gamify their experience. A little friendly competition can go a long way. For instance, you can use a standard technology platform to track individual performance. Offer incentives to your team on meeting short term business goals, like upselling an order or selling a specific menu item to a customer.

5. Create A Mentorship Program 

Pairing  new employees with the more experienced ones leads to better staff training. The mentorship program can be useful when combined with real-life stories and experiences from the restaurant employees. New employees will eventually think of their mentors as someone to ask for advice in times of trouble.

staff training

6. Create Development And Growth Opportunities

One primary reason why restaurant employees shift to other jobs is a perceived lack of growth opportunities in their current position. Try setting budgets for individuals wanting to learn a new skill. You can also appoint managers to spend more time on the development of employee’s traits. 

Along with that, you can sponsor employees for online video courses and sessions to help them grow with your brand.

7. Make It Easy To Stay in Touch

Focusing on both internal and external communication at your restaurant is crucial. So, one of the best ways  to do this is to have a common platform that is accessible to all employees. When employees are readily available for each other, there are lesser possibilities of errors and thus increased overall efficiency. 

All in all, working on your employee engagement rate can turn out to be a great decision when it comes to reducing the cost of attrition. Customer experience, as well as revenues, start to grow when employees value their work. Try these tips to enhance their engagement with your brand. 


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Daniel McCarthy is a seasoned restaurant consultant and serves as the Communication Manager at Restroworks, a prominent F&B SaaS company. Drawing from his vast knowledge of leveraging innovative technological solutions, Daniel excels at enhancing restaurant operations and revenue, thereby contributing to the ongoing transformation of the industry.


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