8 Employee Retention Checklists for Restaurants

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Employee Retention Checklists for Restaurants

Learn why great people leave and the checklists you can use to keep them. 

In an industry with staggeringly high turnover rates, it pays to invest time and resources into keeping great hires. Why do they leave and what can you do to retain great people? ?

In this guide we will cover the following: the top 6 reasons staff leave their jobs, the 5 areas to focus on when it comes to staff retention, and the 8 checklists that will reduce staff turnover. Let’s begin.

When it comes to complex challenges, before we try and solve an issue, we first of all have to understand it. So we turn to the data. Based on a 2021 study conducted by Statista, these are the top 6 reasons people are leaving their jobs: 

With this in mind, let's look at how you can retain the talent you have!

Top 6 Reasons Why People are Leaving Their Jobs: 

  • 36% Low wages and tips 
  • 25% Covid and health concerns 
  • 21% Concerns about hostility or an unsafe work environment 
  • 14% Changing into a different industry
  • 2% Transitioning into a different role within the industry
  • 2% Moving away 

(Source: Statista 2021, Leading reasons restaurant workers are leaving their jobs in the United States)

Keep Great Employees, With Great Onboarding

Onboarding and retention are linked, so it is paramount that you have systems in place to help you retain great talent. 

We recommend you implement the following procedures when hiring to help you keep great people. 

Onboarding Checklist: 

When onboarding, be sure to cover these bases: 

  • Use software for applicant tracking and smart hiring 
  • Use interview software to keep track of interviews
  • Have standard operating procedures (SOP's) in place for the interview process
  • Use software for employee onboarding to keep things in one place
  • Use digital onboarding to make it easy for employees to onboard 
  • Share an employee handbook with your staff 
  • Assign your new hire an onboarding buddy
  • Have set regular check-ins for the first month
  • Have set training sessions booked (all with their own checklists!) 
  • Ensure staff payments are set up correctly for prompt payment
  • Be sure to gather any staff information such as schedule requests and note them
  • Consider creating a staff file within the HR software to learn more about employees’ long-term goals

Employee Handbook Checklist: 

An employee handbook should include the following: 

  • Table of contents and structure
  • Company culture overview 
  • Clearly defined tasks, roles, and expectations
  • Company rules, including dress code 
  • Any information they need to perform their best 
  • Accessible and attainable training (and processes around it) 
  • Resources for if they need help
  • Resources on the protocols to deal with abuse, harassment, or other challenges. 

58% of employees who went through a structured onboarding stayed with their company for 3 years

(Source: Contract Recruiter)

Retain Staff Better, With Thoughtful Training 

As mentioned above, two of the leading causes of low staff retention include not getting enough pay or transitioning into a different industry. Yet, with proper training, staff members' work experience can be optimized, as can their wages. 

Staff members should feel that they can succeed and make money. Ideally, they can complete their job confidently and efficiently. And if you set them up correctly, there could even be a path to career development beyond the more entry-level food-services roles. 

That is why training is so paramount to retention. Consider the following when training staff.

Onboarding Checklist: 

When onboarding, be sure to cover these bases

  • Provide resources to learn the food and drink menus 
  • Set tests to review menu knowledge 
  • Have training on guest service
  • Training on how to handle allergy protocols
  • Safety training 
  • Training on the POS systems 
  • Training on side duties
  • A set amount of training shifts 
  • A senior staff trainer to aid in the transition
  • A set amount of training shifts 
  • Communication around expectations
  • Communication around opportunities 
  • Scheduled 1:1s for the first month (at least) 
  • A follow-up review 3 months in 

Back Of House Training Checklist: 

A BOH Checklist should include the following.

  • Provide training on food preparation and systems
  • Training on dishes and ingredients
  • Training on how to handle allergy protocols
  • Training on food costs
  • Training on how to use tools that may be new
  • Safety training 
  • In-depth training on their ""station""
  • Training on side duties
  • A leader to own and manage the training schedule 
  • A set amount of training shifts 
  • Communication around expectations
  • Communication around opportunities 
  • Scheduled 1:1s' for the first month (at least) 
  • A follow-up review 3 months in 

22% of staff turnover occurs in the first 45 days of employment.

(Source: The Wynhurst Group)

Invest in Great People 

Many people are leaving the services industry to pursue other avenues; however, having a career in foodservice remains a fantastic choice. So how can you support those who may not only want to stay but dig deeper into the industry? Why not ask the talented team you have?

Career Development Checklist to Keep Great People

  • Proactively ask candidates with the potential to evolve in their foodservice careers
  • Provide a clear career plan for them to follow
  • Provide tests and benchmarks that are straightforward to follow 
  • Set timelines and milestones to keep them motivated 
  • Offer pay increases with performance increases
  • Provide a systematic meeting cadence and framework 
  • Offer a mentor or leader to guide them 

Make Engagement and Morale a Priority 

Your staff will stay if they are happy, and the great thing about running a business is that you get to decide how you go about doing that. Based on the top reasons staff leave, we believe that these checklists will help increase retention tenfold.

34% of employees feel disconnected from their company

(Source: YOOBIC, 2021, the State of the Frontline Employee Workplace Survey) 

Morale Boosting Checklist to Keep Great People

  • Allow employees to have flexible work schedules 
  • Provide employees with opportunities to get their tips instantly (with advanced payment cards) 
  • Have a communication hub where you share updates with employees
  • Have weekly competitions and prizes
  • Consider quarterly team celebrations or events 
  • Learn, and support employees' career growth and goals

Download the checklist here!

Click to download the 8 employee retention checklists

Be Passionate About Staff Safety

Sadly, two of the highest reasons for employee turnover are based on safety concerns. Whether it is health concerns due to the pandemic or stress surrounding customer behavior during tense times, you need to take full account of safety concerns to retain great talent. Here are some added safety measures to consider: 

Health and Safety Checklists 

  • Have a safety committee
  • Stay up to date on the latest cleaning protocols and follow them
  • Give staff the choice to wear a mask or not, should mandates end 
  • Ensure that your staff can distance safely
  • Be generous with sick time should staff feel unwell

Respect and Safety Checklist 

  • Create systems around behavior you will and will not tolerate from customers 
  • Stand up for your staff, and let them know you have their back 
  • Inform guests that staff mistreatment will not be tolerated and may get them banned
  • Share systems for staff to report workplace issues like assault or harassment in a safe and discreet way
  • Have policies such as the aforementioned printed clearly in the staff room

In The End, Remember the Golden Rule.

If you had to walk off with one takeaway from this guide, our advice would be to remember the golden rule.  How would you want to be treated, and are you treating your staff accordingly?  If you reflect on the top reasons staff leave jobs, the underlying thread is that they are unhappy and aren't getting what they want, need, or deserve.  If you take the time to invest in understanding your staffs' needs, check-in with genuine curiosity, listen, and stand by your word, you will do just fine.

The Technical Solution You Have Been Seeking

We mentioned that streamlined onboarding, hiring, communication, and prompt payment are linked to retention, but what tools do you need to get the job done? We have you covered. 

Push have developed an integrated software solution, built specifically for restaurants, to help you streamline your HR, payroll, time tracking, and scheduling, all from one flexible and easy-to-use platform.  

When you use Push, you can communicate with staff via the messenger app, allow them to self-onboard, set and adjust their shift schedules, and receive payment promptly and effortlessly directly to their bank accounts. It’s the solution you need if you are looking to increase employee retention and engagement. 

Want to learn more? You can book a demo with our team below to understand how this integrated solution can help you keep great people.

Download the checklist here!

Click to download the 8 employee retention checklists

Want to learn more? You can book a demo with our team below to understand how this integrated solution can help you keep great people.


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