With busy summer months and patio season here, it’s more important now more than ever to retain staff. Whether it’s restaurant or catering staff, losing team members during the busy season is not only frustrating, but it decreases productivity and therefore sales, and also costs you money to train new staff. Here are some methods to help you retain staff:

1. Hiring process

If you’re going to hire a waiter or cook, make sure to take note of applicants with a history of moving around jobs, and not staying at a position longer than a year. Especially if they are reluctant to give references. It’s a bad strategy to hire a large number of people in hopes that they will stay on if their history indicates otherwise.

2. Keeping staff occupied

Keeping staff busy keeps them engaged and is important to retaining staff. Now, we don’t mean keeping them busy with the same tasks day-to-day. Keeping staff engaged with different tasks and teaching them new skills allows them to continue to grow as hospitality professionals (which is the reason many staff takes new hospitality jobs). Luckily event servers have a different day every event, but giving them the opportunity to learn is even more important. As soon as they bored, you risk losing them to another job where they’ll be able to build on their knowledge and skills.

Retain Hospitality Staff

3. Incentive Programs

Whether it’s an incentive to increase sales, sell a specific menu item or get a guest review, incentive programs are another way to keep staff engaged and pushing themselves. It could be as simple as a free post-service dinner for the first staff member who sells a certain bottle of wine. For an event staffing company, this could be certain levels of rewards for the number of events or years they work with you. For any type of hospitality, company incentives could be health insurance, tuition assistance or even gym memberships. This keeps your staff pushing to do a better job, stay healthy (less sick days!) and stay with the company longer.

4. Don’t punish for wanting/needing time off

It’s important for staff to be committed to their job and the company, but there is a tendency in the industry to push staff too hard and even discourage or even punish staff for wanting time off. This includes verbal warnings or even taking away busy and/or their desired shifts. Of course, staff members shouldn’t be consistently asking for time off on the busiest days of the week, but being understanding if one of your team members needs to take a day to deal with something personal, or they want time off to spend with their family goes a long way. At the end of the day, everyone deserves to have a life outside work, and recognizing that will make your staff feel valued.

5. Give staff authority

A number of months after you hire a bartender or waitress, consider giving them some authority. Giving staff the opportunity to make low-level decisions such as handling guest complains or making small adjustments to bill will benefit guests and the team alike. Not only will this help with efficiency as the manager onsite doesn’t need to make every small decision, but your staff will appreciate being given more authority.

Staffy is a staffing company that provides you with temporary on-demand restaurant and event staff within 90 minutes in Toronto, Vancouver and New York. Whether you need to hire a bartender or catering staff, Staffy has you covered! Learn more at www.staffy.com


Lucy Cullen


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