Why Did Your Restaurant Managers Leave?

Written by Rachael Skinner

July 4, 2018

Why do restaurant managers leave? Why is there generally high turn-over within the restaurant industry? We’ve identified three main reasons cited for turn-over by restaurant managers and hope that in understanding them, restaurant owners and managers can find and initiate solutions to reduce this “revolving door” problem.

Reason One: Wages

Of course, not getting paid well enough is a reason cited by employees leaving any job. With restaurant managers, however, it is not just not getting paid enough, it has to do with the gap in pay corresponding with the lack of job satisfaction. Therefore, simply raise pay won’t solve this issue- you must also help them feel more rewarded by their jobs. How? We suggest bonuses/incentive programs.

Giving your manager bonuses can help in many ways. By achieving sales goals, your managers are helping to drive traffic and being compensated out of that growth. This is a three-fold win – the company makes more money, the manager increases his wages and gains job satisfaction.

Bonuses are not a new concept but are often misused. Look at the big picture, such as the overall cost of the incentive program (increased food supplies, labor etc.) and make sure they are realistic and achievable with a positive expected outcome. Track results to determine if it’s working as intended. Make sure you are creating the right goals – ones that promote productivity and the intended end results.

Poorly set-up or managed incentive programs can backfire, so don’t go into it haphazardly.

Reason Two: Lack of Work/Life Balance

The reason Predictive Scheduling Laws are coming into place is due to the poor quality of life “on call” employees are experiencing, and sadly the largest affected industry is that of food service. Working back to back shifts, not having days off in a row to fully rest or take care of personal items, makes it easier for an employee to just walk out.

Give managers (and all employees) as much advance notice on schedules as possible so they can plan appropriately for child care needs, personal appointments, and self-care activities. Make it simple to work out schedule changes with other employees and request time off to prevent conflicts.

Make an effort to show gratitude for employees, especially during peak times such as holidays, with incentives, decorations, celebrations, and fun. Anything that can break up the pressure employees can be feeling will go a long way in bringing in a culture of connection, rather than the disconnection that makes it easy for them to find a new workplace.

Reason Three: Lack of Buy-In

It’s been said time and again that when employees care about where they work, they are more likely to give real engagement and will perform better. Creating a culture that excites employees is a very hot topic in business and is being demanded by those entering the workforce today.

How you establish a rewarding workplace will be really in line with the ownership’s goals, mission, vision and values. If the time hasn’t been spent to not just create this foundation, but to really develop ways to implement, prioritize and follow through on it, it is time, and could be a matter of the life or death of your restaurant.

Too often, restaurant owners and managers act out of desperation and reactivity and a shift needs to be made to proactive, engaged teams. This is easier said than done in the short term, but longer lasting and rewarding in the long run.

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