• Home
    Home We Serve America's Restaurants Representing nearly 500,000 restaurant businesses, we advocate for restaurant and foodservice industry interests and provide tools and systems that help members of all sizes achieve success.
  • Foundation
    Foundation Building & Retaining Talent The NRAEF is focused on developing a stronger workforce and building the next generation of industry leaders through education, scholarships and community engagement.
  • Show
    Show May 18-21, 2019 As the international foodservice marketplace, the National Restaurant Association Show provides unparalleled opportunities for buyers and sellers to come together, conduct business and learn from each other.
  • ServSafe
    ServSafe Minimize Risk. Maximize Protection. For over 40 years, ServSafe® training programs have delivered the knowledge, leadership and protection that have earned the trust and confidence of business leaders everywhere.

National Restaurant Association - Tools for tackling turnover

Skip to navigation Skip to content

Manage My Restaurant

Tools for tackling turnover

As the industry’s employee-turnover rate inches up, take some time to concentrate on how to retain employees. Below, two operators share their tools for tackling turnover.

A guide to hiring

The first step to boosting employee retention is to hire the right people, says Tom Clark, area partner for FATZ Café, which has 47 locations across the Southeast. When FATZ’s annual turnover rate for hourly employees hovered around125 percent in 2009, the company decided to revamp its hiring process. 

A company taskforce developed interview guides to help managers ask questions that identify whether an applicant is a good fit. “We put a lot of emphasis on finding a certain personality,” Clark says. “We’re looking for someone who is happy, a doer, a natural team player, who is always helping others. The questions are designed to bring out an applicant’s personality and accomplishments.” Previously, managers were on their own to decide what to ask, with no guidance as to what questions would help them find the best applicants.

The taskforce created interview guides for six positions from prep cook to server. Each guide includes questions about skills and knowledge, personal attributes, availability, previous experience and job accomplishments. The guides include space for interviewers to rate each response and make notes, as well as rate personality traits, such as enthusiasm and communication skills. Each guide also comes with a job description so that interviewers can accurately describe the work to applicants. (Click here to see a sample guide.)

FATZ launched a three-interview process when it introduced the interview guides. “Applicants are interviewed by three different managers who get together and compare notes,” Clark says. The improved screening process resulted in better hiring decisions, he says, noting the annual turnover rate for hourly employees has dropped to 90 percent.

Tracking turnover

High turnover can lead to inefficiencies that chip away at profits. “The longer you keep an employee, the more knowledgeable and efficient he or she becomes,” says Tom Boucher, co-owner and CEO of Great New Hampshire Restaurants, which operates T-Bones, Cactus Jack’s and Copper Door restaurants. “That can help you with everything from food costs to food quality to customer service.”

Boucher keeps an eye on the turnover at his eight restaurant locations by tracking the information monthly on a spreadsheet. The turnover rates are broken down by location and then divided into kitchen and dining room staff. The stats are recorded for the past month, three months and six months. The bottom line shows the average turnover rates companywide. The setup lets upper management easily compare the retention rates from one restaurant to another. (Click here to see a sample of this type of spreadsheet.)

▲ Back to Top


We're glad you're here!®

® 2012-2017 National Restaurant Association. All rights reserved.

2055 L St. NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20036
(202) 331-5900 | (800) 424-5156