Employers – How to Survive High Employee Turnover Rates in 2024

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Effective Strategies for Employers

Employee turnover is a perennial challenge for the restaurant industry in the United States, impacting operational efficiency, customer service quality, and overall profitability.

Restaurant owners and managers continue to grapple with high turnover rates, exacerbated by various factors, including labor shortages, changing workforce dynamics, and evolving employee expectations.

Some restaurants have experienced closures or reduced operations, others have faced unprecedented service demand, putting strain on existing workforce resources.

Many restaurants have struggled to retain skilled employees, leading to higher turnover rates across the sector.

According to the latest data as of January 2024, the restaurant industry has experienced an average annual turnover rate of 79.6% in the last decade.

The restaurant industry turnover rate remains higher than pre-pandemic levels.[1]

The talent competition has intensified as businesses across various industries vie for a limited pool of workers

In the restaurant sector, where long hours, low wages, and high-pressure environments are common, attracting and retaining employees has become increasingly challenging.

Changing workforce dynamics have also contributed to turnover rates.

Millennials and Gen Z employees comprise a significant portion of the restaurant workforce and often prioritize flexibility, work-life balance, and career growth opportunities.

Restaurants that adapt to these preferences may need help to retain top talent.

In response to these challenges, restaurant owners and managers implement various strategies to reduce turnover and improve employee retention.

One approach is prioritizing employee well-being by offering competitive wages, benefits, and perks such as flexible scheduling, paid time off, and employee discounts.

Creating a positive work culture that values diversity, inclusion, and employee development can also help foster loyalty among staff members.

Investing in training and professional development programs can enhance employee skills, boost job satisfaction, and increase retention rates.

By providing opportunities for advancement and recognizing employee contributions, restaurants can motivate their staff to stay with the company long-term.

While restaurant employee turnover remains a significant challenge in 2024, proactive measures and strategic initiatives can help mitigate its impact.

By adapting to changing workforce trends, prioritizing employee well-being, and leveraging technology, restaurants can foster a more stable and engaged workforce, improving performance and customer satisfaction.

Strategies to Reduce Restaurant Employee Turnover Rate

High turnover rates can lead to increased recruitment costs, decreased productivity, and instability within the workforce.

Here are five key solutions to reduce restaurant employee turnover rate:

1. Competitive Compensation and Benefits Packages

In today’s competitive labor market, employees seek more than just a paycheck—they seek comprehensive benefits and incentives demonstrating an employer’s commitment to their well-being.

Restaurants can differentiate themselves by providing attractive perks such as health insurance, retirement plans, paid time off, and performance-based bonuses.

By offering a competitive total compensation package, restaurants can enhance employee satisfaction, loyalty, and retention.

Employee well-being programs are becoming increasingly important to support employees’ physical, mental, and emotional health in the restaurant industry.

The demanding nature of restaurant work can take a toll on employees, leading to burnout, stress, and decreased job satisfaction.

Insufficient compensation and lack of benefits can hinder the development of employee loyalty.

According to recent surveys, around 50 percent of restaurant managers anticipate leaving their current position within the next five years.[2]

Insufficient compensation and lack of benefits can hinder the development of employee loyalty. According to recent surveys, around 50 percent of restaurant managers anticipate leaving their current position within the next five years.

By implementing well-being initiatives such as wellness programs, access to mental health resources, and employee assistance programs, restaurants can demonstrate their commitment to the health and wellness of their staff.

2. Employee Training and Development Programs

Investing in employee training and development programs is essential for building a skilled and engaged workforce.

By providing comprehensive onboarding, ongoing training, and opportunities for career advancement, restaurants can empower employees with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in their roles.

Training programs can cover various topics, including customer service, food safety, leadership development, and technical skills.

By investing in employee development, restaurants demonstrate their commitment to fostering a continuous learning and growth culture, which can boost employee morale, job satisfaction, and retention rates.

A report published on February 28 by Express Employment Professionals and The Harris Poll suggests that 33% of hiring managers in the United States believe employee turnover will increase by 2024.

This is expected to have a financial impact and may burden the remaining employees.

Among those who anticipate higher turnover, the main reasons cited by hiring managers include better pay or benefits being offered elsewhere (38%), increased workplace demands (35%), employees resigning (33%), employee feelings of being overworked (31%), and a competitive job market (26%).[3]

3. Flexible Work Arrangements

Offering flexible scheduling options can help accommodate employees’ circumstances and preferences.

Flexibility in work arrangements can improve work-life balance, reduce burnout, and enhance employee satisfaction.

By giving employees greater control over their work schedules, restaurants can create a more supportive and accommodating work environment, leading to higher employee engagement and retention. Recent statistics shows that forty-eight percent (48%) would leave a job if it prevented them from enjoying life.[4]

4. Employee Recognition and Rewards

Employee recognition and rewards play a crucial role in fostering a positive work culture and boosting employee morale.

Recognizing and rewarding employees for their achievements, milestones, and contributions can create a sense of appreciation and motivation among staff members.

Restaurants can implement various recognition programs, such as “Employee of the Month” awards, peer-to-peer recognition initiatives, and performance-based incentives.

By acknowledging and rewarding employee excellence, restaurants can reinforce positive behaviors, enhance employee engagement, and reduce turnover rates.

According to a recent survey, 37% of employees consider employee recognition the most important factor.

Teams that perform well in engagement experience 59% fewer turnovers.

The level of engagement among US workers is approximately 34%, whereas 53% of workers in the US are not engaged, as per the employee engagement statistics by Gallup.[5]

5. Employing International Workers[6]

The EB-3 visa program allows restaurants to address staffing shortages and access a broader talent pool by sponsoring foreign workers for permanent residency in the United States.[7]

The program is designed for skilled workers, professionals, and other workers who meet specific eligibility criteria.

By leveraging the EB-3 visa program, restaurants can recruit foreign employees with the necessary skills and expertise to fill critical organizational roles.

This can help alleviate staffing shortages, enhance workforce diversity, and reduce employee turnover rates.

6. Enhanced Communication and Feedback Mechanisms

Effective communication fosters a positive work environment and reduces restaurant turnover.

Establishing open lines of communication between management and employees can help address issues proactively, clarify expectations, and solicit feedback from staff members.

Regular check-ins, team meetings, and performance reviews create opportunities for employees to voice their concerns, share their ideas, and receive constructive feedback.

By listening to employee’s feedback, addressing problems promptly, and fostering a culture of transparency and collaboration, restaurants can improve employee morale, engagement, and retention.

Technology can facilitate workplace communication in addition to regular check-ins and team meetings.

For example, restaurant managers can use digital platforms to send updates, share important information, and gather employee feedback.

This can be especially useful for staff members who may need access to email or other forms of electronic communication.

It’s also important to remember that effective communication is a two-way street.

In addition to providing opportunities for employees to share their thoughts and concerns, managers should proactively communicate with their team.

This could involve setting clear expectations, providing regular feedback, and recognizing employees’ hard work and contributions.

According to a recent survey, 72% of employees consider team communication crucial for work satisfaction.[8]

By prioritizing open and effective communication, restaurants can create a more positive and productive work environment for their employees, ultimately improving customer satisfaction and business success.

Final Thoughts

Proactive measures and strategies can help mitigate the impact of restaurant employee turnover.

To reduce turnover rates, restaurants must prioritize employee well-being, offer competitive compensation and benefits packages, invest in employee training and development programs, and create a positive work culture that values inclusion and diversity.

Restaurants can then foster a more stable and engaged workforce, improve performance, and enhance customer satisfaction.


[1] Justin Guinn. “How to Help Reduce Restaurant Turnover Rates and Foster Retention”. https://pos.toasttab.com/blog/on-the-line/restaurant-turnover-rate

2 Linda Ray.“Employee Turnover Statistics in Restaurants”.https://www.coursesidekick.com/business/689419

3 Carolyn Crist. “1 in 3 employers say they anticipate higher turnover in 2024”.https://www.hrdive.com/news/employers-expect-employee-turnover-2024/709154/

4 Geoff Whiting. “Understanding Employee Turnover Statistics and Trends for 2024”.https://hubstaff.com/blog/employee-turnover-statistics/

5 Danielle M. Jones, Esq. “The 48 Employee Recognition Statistics to Take Note of in 2024”.https://www.selectsoftwarereviews.com/blog/employee-recognition-statistics

6 USCIS. “Employment-Based Immigration: Third Preference EB-3”. https://www.uscis.gov/working-in-the-united-states/permanent-workers/employment-based-immigration-third-preference-eb-3

7 EB-3 Work. https://eb3.work/

8 JD Spinoza. “45 Restaurant Industry Statistics for 2024”. https://www.zoomshift.com/blog/restaurant-industry-statistics/

[8] JD Spinoza. “45 Restaurant Industry Statistics for 2024”. https://www.zoomshift.com/blog/restaurant-industry-statistics/