Hospitality is no longer an “interim” job; it should be considered a career option as it can be excellent in many ways.
High staff turnover is an ongoing problem because many employers are so focused on reducing costs and cutting labour seems to be the easiest and fastest way to cut costs- but at what cost to the business? Investing in staff is money well spent, in my opinion, as no matter how fantastic your product is, your staff can make or break your brand.
New establishments opening always make the “grass appear greener” promise, but promises are generally never kept- people move all the time, trying to find the right fit and the right boss. How can you be the “right boss”?
Here are a few tips on how you can be a great boss:
• Team building days/nights
• Staff parties
• On-going training
• Succession planning
• Simple pleases and thank-you’s
• Mutual respect
• Understanding that every role is as important as the next- in fact, I believe your KP’s and cleaners are the most important (and most thankless) roles
• Days off together (unless preferred otherwise)/rotas that make everyone happy
• Acknowledgement on birthdays- whether a small dessert, an extra day off or just a high five
Change the way tronc works - the system I found best was to give waiters up to 40% of their service charge - this meant they were exceptionally well-rewarded for working hard. Our demands were high, our standards were high, but they all delivered as they knew it was lucrative. The other 60% was distributed on a point system among the rest of the team, which meant there was plenty to go around for everyone.
Having staff work “ doubles” is only slightly less expensive for the business as opposed to having to say a team for lunch and a team for dinner. In the US, this is the norm and allows for more jobs. Las Vegas, the hospitality mecca, works around the clock. Forty hours per week- 5 x 8-hour shifts or 4x 10-hour shifts; 7am-3pm, 8am-4pm, 9am-5pm, 10am-6pm, 11am-7pm, 12pm-8pm, 2-10pm, 3-11pm, 4pm-12pm OR 7-5pm, 8-6pm, 9-7pm, 10-8pm, 12-10pm, 2-12pm, 3pm-1am - you get the picture.
Many newer companies are allowing staff to choose their own rotas - it’s amazing how people actually step up to the plate and work better and more effectively when this is put in their hands.
Sadly, some employers/senior managers “grew up “ in the industry and were treated poorly, so they don’t understand how to manage their staff differently. But hospitality should be no different from any other industry- employees are people no matter what job they do.
Flexibility - our industry should be the most flexible - yet 15 hour+ days are still expected six days a week- why? It’s not cheaper. When your staff are exhausted and under-performing, it costs your business far more than you realise. When they leave and need to be replaced, and it’s far more expensive to find new staff, retrain and have them make the “newbie” mistakes than it is to give people time off.
On average, in the UK, it costs £11,000 to replace a staff member - this is the basic cost of recruitment and training. You could spend a fraction of that to retain your staff through the above mentioned methods.
People who feel taken care of and looked after will deliver above expectations. If only more restaurateurs could understand and implement this approach.