Top Ways Food Retailers Are Retaining New Hires

In a new two part blog series, we will go in depth on what businesses can do to retain their new hires.

The restaurant industry has been consistently growing over the past decades so much so that restaurants have become an everyday part of people’s personal and professional lives as well as a contributor to economic growth and development.  But, as the number of restaurants rises, we have to ask: who is waiting on you, who is completing the restaurant checklists, and who is sanitizing surfaces? Businesses are facing a dilemma when it comes to new hires. So how else can food retail attract new employees and keep their doors open? Many people rely on folks who work in the hospitality sector; however, the number of employees willing and ready to work are rapidly declining. 

In our past blog post, we discussed how restaurants can attract new employees by marketing more aggressively. In part one of the series, we will gain an understanding of the importance of strong employee retention and how investing in your employee’s happiness is beneficial to the entire company. 

Understanding Employee Retention

Compared to other industries, QSR is reported to have the highest employee turnover rate per year. Why is strong employee retention important?  High employee turnover rates can result in devastating consequences for the entire workplace, culturally and financially. There are many factors that contribute to the true costs of employee turnover–including the costs of advertisement, interviewing time, screening, onboarding/ training, and lost productivity. Needless to say, the payoff for businesses to focus time and energy on employee retention is worth it.  Many businesses are faced with the question: how can they solve short staffing problems and hire members who are truly interested? The seemingly obvious answers are higher pay and/or better benefits, but here, we are going to delve into the less apparent solutions.

magnet attracting employees

As new restaurants are popping up at every corner, locations like Nashville and Washington D.C. are becoming popular culinary hotspots, on top of the preexisting restaurants reopening. With more restaurants open, more employees are needed. The ideal candidates are Generation Z. So, how can food retailers recruit and retain people to be servers, grocers, or hosts?

Investing in Your Employees Happiness 

Though there are companies out there who think they are minimizing costs by providing the bare minimum of benefits, it’s more likely increasing their expenses because it can make it easier for employees to be more willing to job hop in the long run. Businesses can help alleviate stresses and retain employees longer by compensating competitively and remembering to evaluate pay yearly by considering promotions to further increase retention. QSRs like Shake Shack carve out opportunities for their employees to grow and develop. Shake Shack reported in 2018, that 58% of those who were promoted were women. Because of this, the company decided to pilot a women’s mentorship program that supports health and leadership development. Shake Shack is also transparent from the start in regards to employee development by sharing a detailed blueprint outlining eligibility requirements and the needed training for each position on the ladder. They are a strong leader in showing how investing time into creating long term attainable goals with new employees and providing them the resources to be successful can increase employee retention, satisfaction, and engagement. 

happy employees

Gen Z seeks jobs that have a purpose. By giving attention to employee’s personal and professional goals, companies are supplying the purpose that Gen Z and many others desire for their careers. Happy employees are more efficient, productive, and more likely to stay longer. Investing in your employees is ultimately worth it and is the right thing to do, whether that be offering opportunities for challenges and development (i.e. individual development plans) or supporting their personal goals (i.e, work/life balance).

Improving Workflow Management by going Digital 

Consider providing methods to make more efficient workflows which will ultimately make employee’s responsibilities easier. This can result in satisfied employees who are able to supply more time for the customers and their goals. In our digital age, automating complex and repetitive tasks related to food safety and shift management can boost employee happiness. Routine tasks such as food safety protocols consume a large but necessary portion of time. The constant repetition of tasks decreases employee engagement. Engaged employees are more likely to invest in the work they do. According to Harvard Business Review, organizations with high levels of engagement experience a 22% increase in productivity. By taking out the day to day complicated responsibilities, employees can focus on higher-value tasks. 

Food safety is always at the forefront of concerns for food retail owners and customers. Products like Squadle’s digital checklists, digital food safety, shift management, and temperature sensors (i.e. remote temperature monitoring) can be implemented to make operational compliance seamless. By switching traditional restaurant checklists to digital, the company is able to streamline responsibilities, therefore making employees happier, more engaged and satisfied  in the workplace. Food retailers have seen an immediate impact on employee satisfaction when implementing restaurant temperature monitoring systems and other digital products, while also reducing pencil whipping and incentivizing compliance from employees

digital checklists

When companies strategically invest in their employees, they not only attract their ideal talent but also hold onto their candidate longer. The bottom line is that people want to be seen with respect, and when a company’s actions speak louder than words, workers will be more willing to stay, which ultimately helps with productivity, customer satisfaction, and revenues. 

A Smart Business Decision 

Strong employee retention is critical to a business’s success and future growth. It will help keep your workers engaged with the work they are doing thus improving their likelihood to stay. When people are passionate about what they do for a living, they will be less inclined to jump from job to job. To help foster an engaging workplace, a company needs to structure employee growth and provide the resources and support for them to thrive. Similar to customers, a company is nothing without their employees, and happy employees results in more satisfied customers that will choose your business over your competitors. By investing in your worker’s happiness, your business will experience a great increase in productivity, profitability, and efficiency. 

In part two of the series to this article, we will further expand on ways that businesses can boost their employee retention, specifically breaking down the impacts positive work culture environments have on employee retention.