Business Insights

Don’t Re-train – Retain!

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By Chef Antonia Lofaso

It’s always easier to retain than retrain, and given the current economy – retaining talented employees becomes priority number one.

There are two driving factors making employee retention one of the biggest challenges of 2020: the low unemployment rate and the increasing labor minimum wage. With the unemployment rate one of the lowest in recent years, there simply isn’t a large enough pool of qualified candidates to draw from. The higher labor minimum wage opens more career choices to service staff. Suddenly, doors are opened to alternatives to a high-pressure restaurant operation.

Strategies to Overcome the Current Landscape

As an operator, there are a few strategies you can use to overcome the current landscape.

  • Share the Story

    Make your staff feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves. One way to do this is by sharing the story behind the concept with them. Building an emotional connection to your concept and their co-workers can be more powerful than their paycheck. And the bottom line is people don’t leave jobs they love.

  • Employee Incentives

    Importantly, employees should be rewarded for their commitment to your operation. Consider bonus incentives tied to sales, specials and more.

  • Attitude of Gratitude

    More than anything, never forget the power of an attitude of gratitude. Make a point to say thank-you to staff at the end of each shift. Find something positive to call out during staff meetings. Try to balance every point of improvement with a compliment to keep staff feeling proud of their performance and eager to continue working hard for you.

Restaurant operators are resilient! We always figure it out – whether it’s creating edible gluten-free pasta or turning the least favorite vegetable of a crudité into a $13 fried cauliflower with lemon aioli appetizer. Learning to retain our employees during these challenging times is a breeze in comparison!

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