Hospitality Industry Employees
Almost every industry is facing staffing challenges, but perhaps the hospitality industry is the hardest hit. Knowing how to recognize and retain hospitality industry employees is critical to business survival.
It’s not unheard for restaurant employees to take a job at a competitor across the street for just .25 cents more an hour!
Both front of the house and back of the house staff would be less tempted to leave for such a small raise if they felt engaged, valued and appreciated.
In a blog post on about turnover rates in the restaurant industry, these startling retention stats were shared:

In 2016, the annual employee turnover rate in the restaurants and accommodations sector was a whopping 73%, according to The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Job Openings and Labor Turnover Program [JOLTS].
To put this in perspective, say you started 2017 with 100 employees. If your restaurant has a 73% annual employee turnover rate, 73 of the original 100 employees who began the year working at your business will be gone by years end and hopefully replaced with someone new.

It’s Harder to Find Hospitality Employees

Many people find their first jobs in the restaurant industry.  In fact, the National Restaurant Association reports that 1 in 3 Americans got their first job experience in a restaurant and half of all adults have worked in the restaurant industry at some point during their lives.
But those days of eager teens knocking on the door looking for their first job seem to be over.  Today’s teens are so busy with sports, AP classes, volunteer work and the pressures of college admissions that some parents are actually paying their kids not work during high school.  With fewer teens in the workforce, restaurants are starting to look for alternative workforce solutions, like retirees, formerly incarcerated individuals and people with disabilities.
For those employees who find their home in the industry, it can be a great stepping stone to success.  The National Restaurant Association shared these facts which stress that the industry continues to grow:

  • 1 million+: Restaurant locations in the United States.
  • 14.7 million: Restaurant industry employees.
  • 1.6 million: New restaurant jobs created by the year 2027.
  • 9 in 10: Restaurant managers who started at entry level.
  • 8 in 10: Restaurant owners who started their industry careers in entry-level positions.

How to Recognize and Retain Hospitality Industry Employees:

Reducing Restaurant Staff Turnover

QSR Magazine shed some light on the factors that most often contribute to turnover in the restaurant industry.  Being mindful of these issues can help mitigate them:

1. Create flexible working hours – Being flexible to your employees’ personal obligations when building a schedule will greatly improve their satisfaction.

2. Be consistent – Creating consistent weekly schedules, weeks in advance, is a big win and can improve retention. Consider enabling them to submit requests for time off or trade a shift with a colleague.

3. Offer training – Professional development can help keep employees happy and productive. Offer employees training in some new skills or find a seminar or class to improve their work.

4. Incentivize results –  Don’t forget to reward your star performers. Results that go unnoticed can be very deflating to employees and gives them a reason to start looking elsewhere.  For example, acknowledge your star employees’ on-time arrivals and reward them with a small token of appreciation.  They may feel inspired to continue their efforts.

5. Communicate – Putting systems in place that improve the ability to quickly and clearly communicate with employees can have a big impact.  Don’t let the excuse of being too busy get in the way of open communication (both verbal and written).

Rewarding (and Keeping) Your Valuable Employees 

Maybe you’re one of the lucky restaurant owners or HR professionals and you have a great team assembled.
Show them how crucial they are to the success of your restaurant and how they impact customer satisfaction.
Buzztime Business pointed out why it’s important to reward employees:

  • Positive Reinforcement: “While there’s a time and place for constructive criticism, positive reinforcement can be just as effective in increasing productivity. When you reward restaurant staff members who go the extra mile, it boosts their confidence and desire to take on more responsibility (to earn those sweet rewards!).”
  • Employee Retention: “Deciding to reward restaurant staff could help you reduce employee turnover, which costs the average restaurant $146,000 per year.”
  • Team Building: “Everybody wins when you reward restaurant staff for a job well done. After employees receive a great reward or prize, expect to see them working more closely together on future projects.”

Buzztime Business went on to list fun and creative ways you can reward your team members.  Highlights include:

  • Name a Menu Item After an All-Star Staff Member
  • Host a Fundraising Event for a Charity of Their Choice
  • Let Them “Go Live” on Social Media
  • Match Their Tips
  • Say it with Gift Cards
  • Let Them Choose Their Next Shift

Motivation is Key – A Few More Tips

Remember, everyone on the team contributes to the positive outcome of customers’ dining experiences!  While the customer may come first, recognizing employees’ hard work and loyalty is incredibly important.

Make Employee Happiness a Year-Round Priority

Keep the commitment going towards building a culture of appreciation and loyalty. Download gThankYou’s FREE “Day-to-Day Employee Celebration Calendar” today and nurture an everyday culture of appreciation that employees will love.
The gThankYou annual calendar is jam-packed with insights into the latest HR trends, how-to tutorials for engaging and thanking employees, case studies to inspire you, examples of holidays to celebrate each month, and research statistics to help you make the business case for appreciation.
Download yours FREE today!

About gThankYou, LLC

Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any grocery store in the U.S. Find out more: gThankYou Gift Certificates.
gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime. gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Gratitude Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.

To learn more about gThankYou, watch our “About Us” Video and visit gThankYou today!

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gThankYou, LLC ( is based in Madison, Wisconsin. Contact: Rick Kiley, Chief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at or 888-609-2234.
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Gift Certificates

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How gThankYou Certificates Work

Step 1

Order Certificates

Choose the gThankYou Certificates you want and order them online or by telephone.

Step 2

Ship directly to your business

Your order is delivered by UPS. Nearly all orders ship the day received. Overnight shipping is available.

Step 3

Distribute to your employees

Personalize your gThankYou Certificates with Giver name or logo (both optional) and give them to employees.

Step 4

Redeem at any grocery store

Recipients redeem Certificates at major U.S. grocery stores and select the items they want.