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Restaurant Employee Turnover Causes & How to Reduce it


Discover the causes of high restaurant employee turnover and effective strategies to reduce it. Improve retention, save costs, and boost your business success.

Employee turnover is a major issue in the restaurant industry. With an average turnover rate of 75%, restaurants are constantly facing hiring challenges and struggling to retain their employees. This high turnover rate not only affects the bottom line but also creates staffing issues and disrupts the overall functioning of the restaurant.

In this article, we will explore the what is employee turnover, how to calculate employee turnover rate, the causes of restaurant employee turnover and provide strategies to reduce it.

What is Employee Turnover?

Employee turnover refers to the rate at which employees leave a company and are replaced by new employees. It is a crucial metric that measures the percentage of employees who leave an organisation over a specific period.

High employee turnover can have negative effects on an organisation, such as increased recruitment costs, reduced productivity, decreased morale, and disruptions in workflow. Understanding the causes of employee turnover and implementing strategies to reduce it is essential for maintaining a stable and successful work environment.

How to Calculate Employee Turnover Rate?

To calculate employee turnover, you can use the following formula:

Employee Turnover Rate = (Number of Employees Who Left / Average Number of Employees) x 100

Here's how you can break down the formula:

  • Determine the number of employees who left during a specific period (e.g., a month, a year).
  • Calculate the average number of employees during the same period. This can be done by adding the number of employees at the beginning and end of the period and dividing by 2.
  • Divide the number of employees who left by the average number of employees.
  • Multiply the result by 100 to get the turnover rate as a percentage.

By calculating the employee turnover rate regularly, you can track the stability of your workforce and identify any trends that may require attention to improve retention.

Restaurant Employee Turnover Causes

Low Wages and Benefits

One of the main reasons for high employee turnover in the restaurant industry is low wages and benefits. Many restaurants pay their staff members minimum wage or slightly above, which is not enough to cover living expenses. This leads to employees seeking higher-paying jobs, resulting in a constant turnover of staff.

Additionally, most restaurants do not offer benefits such as health insurance, paid time off, or retirement plans. This lack of benefits makes it difficult for employees to see a future career path with the company, leading to a higher turnover rate.

Long and Unpredictable Hours

Working in a restaurant often means long and unpredictable hours. Employees may be required to work late nights, weekends, and holidays, which can be challenging for those with families or other commitments. This can lead to burnout, negatively impact their performance and dissatisfaction with the job, causing employees to seek employment elsewhere.

Lack of Career Growth Opportunities

Many restaurant employees see their job as a temporary one, with no room for growth or advancement. This lack of career growth opportunities can lead to employees feeling stagnant and unfulfilled, resulting in a higher turnover rate.

Poor Management and Communication

Poor management and communication can also contribute to low employee retention rate. When employees feel undervalued or unappreciated by their managers, they are more likely to leave their job. Additionally, a lack of clear communication can lead to misunderstandings and conflicts, causing employees to seek employment elsewhere. Use staff management tools to establish clear communications.

Stressful Work Environment

Working in a restaurant can be physically and mentally demanding. Employees are often required to work in a fast-paced, high-stress environment, which can lead to burnout and dissatisfaction with the job. This can result in a higher turnover rate as employees seek less stressful job opportunities.

How to Reduce Restaurant Employee Turnover

Offer Competitive Wages and Benefits

One of the most effective ways to reduce employee turnover and increase staff retention is to offer competitive wages and benefits. This means paying employees a fair wage that covers their living expenses and providing benefits such as health insurance, paid time off, and retirement plans. This will not only attract top talent and keep your staff happy, but also encourage them to stay with the company long-term.

Create a Positive Work Culture

A positive work culture can go a long way in reducing employee turnover. This includes fostering a sense of teamwork, recognising and rewarding good employees for their hard work, and promoting a healthy work-life balance. When employees feel valued and supported, they are more likely to stay with the company.

Provide Opportunities for Career Growth

Offering opportunities for career growth and advancement can help reduce employee turnover. This can include providing training and development programs, promoting from within, and offering mentorship opportunities. When team members see a future with the company, they are more likely to stay and grow with the organisation.

Improve Management and Communication

Effective management and communication are crucial in reducing employee turnover. This means providing clear expectations, regular feedback, and addressing any conflicts or issues promptly. Additionally, managers should strive to create a positive and supportive work environment for good employee experience.

Implement Employee Retention Strategies

Implementing employee retention strategies can also help reduce turnover. This can include offering flexibility in schedules, employee perks such as free meals, and employee recognition programs. These strategies can help improve employee engagement satisfaction and loyalty, leading to a lower turnover rate.

Who is Responsible for Reducing Employee Turnover?

Reducing employee turnover is a team effort, and everyone in the organisation plays a role. However, ultimately, it is the responsibility of the restaurant owner or manager to create a positive work environment, offer competitive wages and benefits, and implement employee retention strategies. Use a hospitality workforce management tool to better manage your staff.


High employee turnover is a major issue in the restaurant industry, but it can be reduced by offering competitive wages and benefits, creating a positive work culture, providing opportunities for career growth, improving management and communication, and implementing employee retention strategies. By prioritising employee satisfaction and retention, restaurants can improve their bottom line and create a more stable and successful work environment.

FAQs about Employee Turnover At Restaurants:

What causes high turnover rates in restaurants?

Restaurant turnover rates can be driven by a variety of factors, including low wages, long, unpredictable hours, a lack of career development opportunities, inadequate management, and a stressful work conditions.

How does employee turnover impact restaurant operations?

Employee turnover can disrupt the overall functioning of a restaurant by creating staffing issues, increasing recruitment costs, reducing productivity, and affecting customer service quality.

What are the costs associated with high turnover rates in the restaurant industry?

The costs associated with high turnover rates in the restaurant industry include hiring process and training expenses, decreased employee morale, and lower customer satisfaction.

What strategies can restaurants implement to reduce employee turnover?

Restaurants can reduce employee turnover by offering competitive wages and benefits, creating a positive work culture, training programs, rewarding top performers, providing opportunities for career growth, improving management and communication, and implementing employee retention strategies.

How can restaurant owners and managers effectively address employee turnover issues?

Restaurant owners and managers can address employee turnover issues by actively listening to employee feedback, conducting exit interviews to understand reasons for leaving, promoting work-life balance, and acknowledging and rewarding employee contributions.

What is considered a good turnover rate?

A good turnover rate in the restaurant industry is typically below the industry average of around 75%. Ideally, aiming for a turnover rate closer to the national average for all industries, which is around 15-20%, would be considered excellent. Regularly monitoring and improving turnover rates is essential for maintaining stable operations and employee satisfaction.

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