Why high staff turnover is bad for your restaurant (and how to avoid it)


The restaurant industry is known for high staff turnover, particularly in those establishments where tips and gratuities represent a significant percentage of staff income. Many managers may not regard this as being significant, especially as there is often a ready supply of new staff.

However, staff turnover affects businesses in many ways, and managers and owners who take time to understand the reasons for turnover find their businesses benefit.

Quality of Service

The first area that is affected by high staff turnover is the quality of service. New staff take time to understand their roles and how to satisfy clients. Clients expect staff serving at tables to know the menu and to be able to make meaningful recommendations, particularly when specials are on offer. Kitchen staff need training in food preparation, cleanliness, hygiene and food presentation

Related: 5 Tips to Reduce Staff Turnover in Your Restaurant


Low employee morale is reflected in the demeanour and attitude of staff towards clients and other staff. Customers notice this; it affects their enjoyment of their meals and is a factor that will discourage them from returning to the restaurant. Poor morale is shown in the way staff don’t care about customers, are sloppy in their work, the way they dress and in negative attitudes. Low staff morale can have a devastating impact on a business.

Training Costs

High turnover means ongoing regular training. It takes time to train a new employee properly and for them to understand the nuances of a restaurant. New employees need coaching and supervision to ensure they have the knowledge to perform their tasks independently.


In the highly competitive restaurant market, customers have many choices and the main attribute that draws customers is the restaurant’s reputation. A reputation is based on many factors including the quality of the food, service and ambience. It can take a long time to build a reputation and maintaining that reputation requires hard work. High staff turnover directly affects this as standards are difficult to maintain and it puts pressure on staff dealing with customers, inevitably leading to errors.

Costly Errors

Cost control is a vital aspect of restaurant management that directly impacts on profitability. High staff turnover leads to mistakes that cost money. These include:

• Incorrect orders
• Food returns
• Food wastage
• Beverage losses
• Poor stock control
• Incorrect billing

Apart from the direct financial cost, these errors impact on service quality and customer satisfaction. Dissatisfied customers are unlikely to return and most will share their bad experience with their friends leading to further loss of reputation.

Related: 6 Tips for Controlling Labour Costs in the Restaurant Industry

Turnover Matters

The impact of high staff turnover is felt in every aspect of a restaurant’s business, leading to higher costs, wastage, fewer patrons and ultimately loss of profitability. Reasons for high turnover need to be proactively addressed and understood. Corrective action is essential for an establishment to prosper and survive.

It is important that restaurant management understand that high turnover negatively effects staff morale, attitude and behaviour, which in turn directly affects the quality of service offered and has a damaging influence on the restaurant.

Now it’s your turn. How do you keep your employee turnover down in order to run a successful business? Share with us below.

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