The Cost of Turnover in Quick Service Restaurants: Plus Steps to Reduce Employee Turnover

Is the turnover rate at your quick-service restaurant keeping you up at night? 

Bad turnover rates can indeed become a source of anxiety, and you’re certainly not alone in facing this challenge. In fact, the restaurant industry at large grapples with an exceptionally high turnover rate when compared to other private sector industries. 

So, why are so many employees leaving their quick-service restaurant jobs? Where are they choosing to go instead? And more importantly, what is this high turnover costing your business? 

How High is Your Turnover Rate? 

Before devising a strategy to reduce your turnover rate, it’s essential to understand what that rate actually is. To calculate your turnover rate, divide the number of employees who have left your restaurant by the average number of employees needed to fully staff your restaurant. Then, multiply the result by 100 to express it as a percentage. 

Why is Turnover So High in the Restaurant Industry? 

Why does the restaurant industry contend with such high turnover compared to other sectors? One major reason is that many quick-service restaurants employ young individuals. Students often work seasonally or depart after completing their education. 

The pandemic exacerbated turnover rates across the private sector workforce. Shutdowns and the unpredictability during the initial stages left numerous restaurant employees struggling, prompting them to explore alternative career options for survival. Unfortunately, many of these employees who left have not returned. 

Lastly, the service industry, including quick-service restaurants, can be inherently stressful. Constantly dealing with customer complaints, long working hours, and a lack of camaraderie and connection with the employer can result in low employee morale. We all know that unhappy employees tend to seek alternative employment opportunities. 

The Cost of High Turnover in the Quick Service Industry 

Why should you aim to lower your turnover rate? Simply put, it is directly impacting the bottom line of your quick-service restaurant. 

According to the National Restaurant Association, the average restaurant loses $150,000 in a year due to staff turnover. Additionally, the Center for Hospitality Research at Cornell University estimates that losing a front-line employee costs an employer an average of $5,864. To grasp the real impact, multiply this cost by the number of employees your restaurant cycles through, and you’ll gain a clearer perspective on what turnover is truly costing your business. 

Steps to Reduce Employee Turnover at Your Quick Service Restaurant 

Begin by gathering data on why your employees are leaving through voluntary exit interviews. This can shed light on any underlying issues and help you understand where your employees are heading instead. Once you have insights into the reasons behind the high turnover, you can take steps to address it. 

1 | Address Being Overworked: 

If your employees feel overwhelmed and struggle to find a healthy work-life balance, it’s time to tackle scheduling issues. Maintain open lines of communication about scheduling and empower your employees by involving them in the decision-making process. Utilize QSRSoft’s Workforce Management solutions to create schedules that accommodate everyone, featuring a smart time clock, dynamic automatic schedule generator, scheduling graph view, and more. 

2 | Offer Career Development Opportunities: 

Providing opportunities for career growth can foster loyalty, especially among younger staff with limited work experience. Consider implementing mentorship programs, skill-sharing initiatives, or other industry-related classes and workshops. When you invest in your staff’s future, they, in turn, invest in your business. 

3 | Employee Recognition: 

Elevate morale and enhance workplace culture by acknowledging employees who go above and beyond. Utilize QSRSoft’s TV to showcase recognized employees to your staff. This demonstrates your appreciation and motivates others to strive for excellence. Employee recognition programs can keep your team engaged and content, resulting in satisfied customers. For more ideas to support your employees’ mental health and boost morale, explore our article on the subject. 

Final Thoughts 

The cost of turnover in quick-service restaurants, when left unaddressed, is substantial. It has repercussions on workplace culture, the customer experience, and your financial bottom line. By proactively addressing the reasons behind employee departures, you can improve turnover rates and bolster your profits. 

Learn more about how QSRSoft can simplify the operation of exceptional restaurants with our innovative solutions that empower both you and your employees.