One of the bigger problems facing the hospitality industry, specifically…
Food & Business Tips
One of the bigger problems facing the hospitality industry, specifically restaurants, is the huge turnover in our staff. Many of us just accept it as a cost of doing business, but it doesn’t need to be that way. We all hear about how much it costs to lose an employee, but many chefs really do not understand how it is a true cost to the restaurant, so let’s clarify this oft-repeated phrase with some tangible costly situations, and then explore some things you can do to make work fun (and profitable) for your employees.
Remember, for this article, we are not discussing turnover which is the result of employee termination. This month, we are focusing on losing employees to other restaurants simply because they are leaving for better working conditions, job pay, or job security. Although chefs will argue that losing a long-term is actually beneficial because a lower-waged employee can be brought in, or that a new worker can be trained without the negative habits of the previous employee, these are actually excuses. Any employee developing poor work habits should be dealt with immediately; that is the crux of being a manager. Secondly, wage does not explain costs alone. The cost of a new employee (over and above wages being paid) include, but certainly are not contained to, fees for advertising the position, orientation pay, additional pay for other employees to help in training, and additional costs for mistakes (improper portioning, variances in recipe production, meals returned). Multiply these costs by each lost employee and the numbers become staggering. So how do we help ensure our staff is not looking to greener pastures? One of the easiest and fastest solutions is to help out their wallet…….while still adding to the bottom line! Consider these ideas:
1. Sell five bottles, get one free—Want to see full bottles of wine sales rocket? Have a standing rule that for every five bottles a server sells, they get one free (the cheap stuff of course!)
2. Menu sales promotion—pair all your kitchen and waitstaff as teams and tell them to push one or two items (it doesn’t have to be the special, it may just be a menu item that you need to get rid of) and the server selling the most gets $20 along with the kitchen personnel they are teamed ($40 is much less than the cost of wasted food.)
3. Floating $20—Pick an item you want sold, and as soon as a server sells it, they get a $20 bill (along with the kitchen pairing). As soon as the next server sells that item, the $20 goes to them. Whoever has it at the end of the night, keeps it!
These are just very simple ideas, but you can see how to keep a shift upbeat and really get everyone involved. The small outlay in cash is nothing compared to the huge increase in upselling or focused marketing.
Chef William Knapp; FMP, CEC, CCA, CHE, MIHTM