Employee Engagement in the Restaurant Industry

Employee turnover hurts. Not only does it create staff shortages, but it also costs restaurants significant amounts of money each year to advertise, interview, and train new employees. In a study by Cornell University’s Center for Hospitality Research, it is estimated that it costs businesses $5,864 for every employee lost. For the second year in a row, the food and beverage industry experienced significant turnover rates. Employee turnover for the industry topped out over 70% for 2016.

One of the primary reasons the food and beverage industry struggles to retain quality employees is due to low employee engagement.  Job satisfaction greatly influences the way team members feel at work, and one of the biggest influences is engagement. When employees are engaged with the restaurant or company they work for, they are emotionally committed to their jobs. Employees who care about their work contribute to achieving the company’s goals and overall success.

Engagement starts with employees and ends with higher sales. Many companies use a “Engagement-Profit chain” to show the success of their business through increased employee engagement.

  • Higher service, quality, and productivity leads to…
  • Higher customer satisfaction leads to…
  • Increased sales (repeat business and referrals) leads to…
  • Higher profits for the business.

Restaurants and other food and beverage companies can benefit from adopting a similar approach. Improving employee engagement boosts the quality of service employees give to customers and thus, starts the chain reaction.

Employee engagement isn’t about what you say as a restaurant manager, it’s about what you do. Seven out of 10 employees who were not confident in the abilities of senior leadership were not fully engaged. Supervisors and other company leaders need to be invested in their employees in order to earn that trust and build strong relationships that make employees feel more connected. Here are a few ideas to get your staff engaged:

Get their input. Use their ideas to improve. Feedback is incredibly important for company growth. If managers don’t understand what employees want in a job, how are they expected to keep employees satisfied? Have team meetings to discuss improvements that can be made. Pose specific questions and ask for specific feedback. Take everyone’s opinions into consideration and encourage discussion. If you have an employee with a break-out idea, empower them to help implement it.

Hire people who fit the company culture. Restaurant and beverage industry workers can be trained for new tasks and skills, but there isn’t much that can be done to change an employee’s character. When hiring new employees, be sure their personality meets the goals of the company’s culture. Recruit people who are enthusiastic, customer-focused, willing to participate in the team, and forward-thinking.

Show appreciation and reward hard work. In order to keep employees engaged, they need to know that their work is appreciated by management. Creating a rewards program or regularly hosting employee recognition events not only helps employees to feel good about their work, but also strengthens company culture. Roughly 7 out of 10 employees claim they would work harder if they feel their efforts are recognized by upper management.

Organizations with engaged employees outperform those with low employee engagement by a whopping 202%. Engaging your employees not only brings businesses closer to meeting their goals, it reduces turnover and allows a competitive advantage over other  restaurant and beverage companies.

Levy Recognition offers several different recognition solutions designed to give authentic appreciation to the dedicated and hardworking employees who have stayed loyal to your company over the years. Read more about our recognition solutions on our website.

Get more information about how Food and Beverage recognition programs are effective in improving employee engagement by downloading this FREE infographic.

Celebrate Your Employees!