The restaurant industry is a service industry. The quality of your day-to-day operation hinges on whether or not you have employees who are talented and professional.
But the restaurant industry is also one of the most difficult industries in which to find and keep talented workers. This is a difficult profession and many managers skimp on employee training, which ends up obscuring each individual’s true potential.
Here are several reasons why it’s difficult to retain talented workers in the restaurant industry:
1) Achieving a sense of accomplishment is very hard: Opportunities for advancement are relatively limited in the restaurant industry and this is frustrating for employees. They have few opportunities for promotion and also have to deal with salaries that never increase. As a result, they have no incentive to improve their work.
2) Physical labor, low income: Building a restaurant’s business requires a lot of effort, but there are also a lot of barriers to growth, extremely intense competition, long hours and a lot of physical labor involved. But the financial compensation is comparatively low.
3) Even if goals change, the day-to-day work stays monotonous: The type of tasks done by each employee never changes, so there are never any new experiences or challenges.
4) Intense competition results in little opportunities to grow profits: The restaurant industry has low barriers to entry, so the marketplace is always competitive and constantly flooded with similar products. It can be hard to attract new customers and you can’t increase your earnings.
5) The service industry rarely evolves and it’s hard to enjoy a feeling of accomplishment: Restaurant owners should think about how large their own ambitions are, and then look for employees who share a similar outlook about their careers.
6) There are limits to the use of technology (or bosses who aren’t willing to invest in new equipment): A completely new POS system might cost an estimated NT$300,000 and a lot of restaurant owners are not willing to invest that much money. But that means there will be constant limitations in how the business is operated, including making it very difficult to change the menu.
7. No connection with customers: It may seem as if every day customers come and customers go, but employees are never able to establish a deeper connection with them.
8. Uniforms aren’t attractive enough: Younger employees are sensitive to their appearance, and some will even pick and chose their place of work based on whether or not the uniforms are good looking.
9. They have a limited vision for the future, so they are not willing to invest in further study or training: If your employees don’t have enough incentive, then they will drift aimlessly. They won’t spend their spare time brushing up on new skills; instead they will just find ways to kill time.
10. Maybe there aren’t opportunities for further study or training: Many restaurant operators don’t provide enough education. Some may manage to create an entire training system, but for whatever reason are unable to implement it.
11. The restaurant industry is a hard road and if you don’t have close business partners it’s hard to continue: Restaurant employees often need to work morning and evening shifts, as well as rotating shifts on the weekend. They don’t have the same working hours as most people, and once they get married and start having children, it can be difficult for their families to accept their schedules.
1) Find employees who have studied restaurant or hotel management, or the tourism industry: Graduates who studied the restaurant industry or hospitality management are already familiar with the ins-and-outs of operating a restaurant, so they are prepared for the challenges.
2) Persist in training: Have regular weekly or monthly off-job training sessions.
3) Make the promotion process transparent: If employees know how achieve different qualifications and promotions, it will give them something to work for.
4) Create a system of bonuses or give emotional support: A business manager needs to have an awareness of human nature, so employees will consider them a comrade. If a manager is willing to cooperate with their employees, than they will be able to retain those people.
5) Be a model for your employees: Executives must set an example and they should have very high standards for their own behavior and work ethic.
6) Continue to expand and make it clear to employees that the company is growing: If employees can’t visualize the future of your company, then you will lose them.
(Photo via Google, CC License)