Reduce employee turnover with help from technology

The hospitality industry is known for having a high employee turnover rate, reaching a staggering 66% at the end of 2016. Not only does this affect team structure and cohesion, but it also damages your bottom line. Experts estimate it costs upwards of twice an employee’s salary to find and train a replacement, so we’re looking at the key ways technology can help to reduce churn and benefit your restaurant as a whole.

Communication between waiting staff
Investing in a good communication system allows staff to respond more efficiently to customer needs, which in turn leads to higher levels of customer satisfaction. Call buttons, for example, are great for tables and bar areas, allowing diners to attract staff attention at the press of a button, which then instantly alerts staff pagers. This allows your front of house to be more attentive, which reduces waiting times and complaints from customers. Less complaints leads to a less stressful working environment, which means increased job satisfaction and cohesion amongst your employees.

Technology is constantly evolving, so it’s important to take advantage of this, and keep up with customer expectations. Simplifying your seating plans and booking process is another way of reducing stress factors that contribute to employee turnover. If it’s easy to manage where different parties are sat, and clear to see whose area it’s in, then staff will have a better understanding of who is responsible for what table. DineTime is a restaurant guest app that allows diners to book reservations directly from their smartphone. It helps to keep your restaurant as full as possible by better managing diners, automatically populating your waiting list and keeping your host stand organised.

Communication between chefs
Chefs work long hours in a stressful, high-pressure situation where they must perform consistently and work well as a team to get dishes completed on time and ensure a table’s orders arrive together. It’s therefore vital that all kitchen staff are on the same page, and know exactly which meals need to be served and when. This process can be simplified with QSR’s ConnectSmart Kitchen (CSK), offering chefs clear preparation advice, digital spec cards to view recipes and cooking tips. Not only does this help to maintain high standards and food quality, but it also reduces confusion and late or missed orders as each cooking station shows chefs what orders to focus on, what food to prepare and when to cook it. The head chef can view all orders and see who is working on what, so the process is better organised and stress levels are reduced. This all contributes to higher job satisfaction rates and a more positive workplace association.

Creating harmony between front and back of house
ConnectSmart Kitchen also helps to strengthen the communication system between your chefs and your front of house. Runner screens eliminate the need to shout across the restaurant when food is ready for service, as head chefs approve completed orders and bump the ticket to the front of house screen, which automatically pages waiters to let them know. Raised voices are therefore a thing of the past, enhancing the customer experience and greatly improving communication amongst your entire team. Waiters are able to better focus on being attentive whilst subtly being alerted when food are ready.

Develop skills with regular training
Most experts agree that hiring the right people from the start is the single best way to reduce employee turnover. However, shifts can get repetitive, and it’s important to ensure the job they’re doing stays interesting and helps to grow their skillset. Almost all restaurants offer some sort of on-boarding process that teaches employees the ins and outs of working in the industry. Integrating a system such as TeamAssist, part of our CSK solution, helps chefs develop their knowledge of different recipes and different cooking techniques. Chefs can use these tutorials to develop a more advanced skillset, and it benefits operators as they become a more valuable employee to the business.

Encourage feedback
Customer feedback is incredibly important, and as a restaurant owner, taking a step back and listening to honest opinions is invaluable in helping you to reflect on improvements. If your customers don’t leave feeling satisfied, they won’t continue to come back time after time. But then, can the same not be said about your staff? If they’re not happy in their role, then they will be less motivated to perform well and keep customers happy. It’s important to listen to your employees, and pay as much attention to what they think of your restaurant operation as you do your customers. From meetings to anonymous online surveys, ensure you give your front and back of house staff the opportunity to speak up, rather than simply leaving if they’re unhappy.

Final thoughts
Poor communication doesn’t need to be a predominant factor that contributes to a high employee turnover rate, because there are many simple solutions, as highlighted, that help to strengthen your team. Churn can damage morale among remaining employees, as employees who have spent longer together get to know how each other works better. Investing in an effective communication system will offer a more efficient workforce, faster table turns and data driven decisions, guaranteeing a smooth service, helping to build positive relationships between employees and improving your bottom line, with ROI speaking for itself.

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