What happens if too many employees quit at a restaurant?

Updated on : December 6, 2021 by Raymond Greer



What happens if too many employees quit at a restaurant?

"Too many employees quit"? Hmm ...

If I am short of waiters or kitchen staff (or both) on a particular shift, I can close the stations to limit the number of guests we are serving. That way, the business can continue to operate, albeit with limited capacity.

But if many staff members resign at the same time, there is usually a cultural issue that needs to be addressed. The reality is that most restaurant staff live from paycheck to paycheck, so if a number are quitting at the same time, I would assume there is a reason, usually a single reason, why this is happening.

Most people don't give up

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"Too many employees quit"? Hmm ...

If I am short of waiters or kitchen staff (or both) on a particular shift, I can close the stations to limit the number of guests we are serving. That way, the business can continue to operate, albeit with limited capacity.

But if many staff members resign at the same time, there is usually a cultural issue that needs to be addressed. The reality is that most restaurant staff live from paycheck to paycheck, so if a number are quitting at the same time, I would assume there is a reason, usually a single reason, why this is happening.

Most people don't just quit and then hope they can find another job before the rent is due. Most people will have their next gig lined up before they leave, so they don't collapse financially. This requires interviews for the new job, planning for the first day, and all that sort of thing.

So if the staff leaves at the same time I guess it was not a coincidence. And as a general manager, I would try to find out what was going on. This is the beauty of the exit interview.

I used to frequent a coffee shop near my apartment. My church had events in the cafeteria and I also had a good relationship with the staff. One day as I entered, I noticed that things had moved a bit and I asked the manager what had happened. The owner had sold the store and things were changing pretty quickly without any notice from the staff.

When the new owner arrived (who owned several other coffee shops), he began to change some processes and even changed the machinery for automatic units. It met a lot of resistance from the existing staff, especially from the manager. After a little bit of fighting,

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I used to frequent a coffee shop near my apartment. My church had events in the cafeteria and I also had a good relationship with the staff. One day as I entered, I noticed that things had moved a bit and I asked the manager what had happened. The owner had sold the store and things were changing pretty quickly without any notice from the staff.

When the new owner arrived (who owned several other coffee shops), he began to change some processes and even changed the machinery for automatic units. It met a lot of resistance from the existing staff, especially from the manager. After fighting a bit, she gave up and left with most of the staff following her. The new owner was left with only 1 staff member! Fortunately, he was able to quickly resupply in about a day. Unfortunately, the culture of the store changed dramatically. Previous staff had built a culture and relationships with regulars. The new staff was completely different, and all of a sudden the regulars stopped coming. Within a year, the new owner had to cut his losses and sell the store himself.

It is important to mention that turnover is quite common in the restaurant industry, especially in gastronomic capitals. New restaurants tend to experience a lot of turnover in the first year due to business levels or the restaurant trying to solve your problem. However, if a restaurant has low employee retention, it is usually a sign of employee dissatisfaction. This could be due to a toxic culture, poor management, a lack of structure, poor organization, or all of the above.

Personally, before hiring any employee in any capacity, I invite you to a tour or stage so that you can interact with

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It is important to mention that turnover is quite common in the restaurant industry, especially in gastronomic capitals. New restaurants tend to experience a lot of turnover in the first year due to business levels or the restaurant trying to solve your problem. However, if a restaurant has low employee retention, it is usually a sign of employee dissatisfaction. This could be due to a toxic culture, poor management, a lack of structure, poor organization, or all of the above.

Personally, before hiring any employee, I invite them to a tour or stage so that they can interact with other employees and determine if my establishment is the right one for them or not.

Similar to Swayze Yancey's answer, my brother-in-law works with a cleaning crew in a building in Washington DC. They had been working together for years when a new manager was hired. The new manager wanted to change things a bit, changes to which the work team did not agree. They told the new manager that they had been working this way for years and that there was no need for any changes. His ultimatum was, either we continue working as we have done until now, or you will have to hire new workers. Fortunately, the new manager was smart enough to realize that with political affairs underway and

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Similar to Swayze Yancey's answer, my brother-in-law works with a cleaning crew in a building in Washington DC. They had been working together for years when a new manager was hired. The new manager wanted to change things a bit, changes to which the work team did not agree. They told the new manager that they had been working this way for years and that there was no need for any changes. His ultimatum was, either we continue working as we have done until now, or you will have to hire new workers. Fortunately, the new manager was smart enough to realize that with the political issues going on every day in the building, he didn't have time to hire and train a new team, and here he had an old and experienced team of workers. In the end, he gave in to most of their demands and the crew agreed to a few minor changes that were asked of them.

I experienced this recently when I was on an assignment in West Texas. The oil industry is booming, so there is an effective negative unemployment rate.

I walked into restaurant after restaurant only to see half the empty tables, but wait an hour or more to be seated.

The only places with enough staff were Hooters and a couple of local chain bars. The difference? These places only had part-time staff, most of whom were local college students.

“Real” restaurants need professional waiters and full-time kitchen staff, but they have a hard time competing with the oil industry in terms of pay.

I raised

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I experienced this recently when I was on an assignment in West Texas. The oil industry is booming, so there is an effective negative unemployment rate.

I walked into restaurant after restaurant only to see half the empty tables, but wait an hour or more to be seated.

The only places with enough staff were Hooters and a couple of local chain bars. The difference? These places only had part-time staff, most of whom were local college students.

“Real” restaurants need professional waiters and full-time kitchen staff, but they have a hard time competing with the oil industry in terms of pay.

I raised this issue with some of the locals and they said it has been a problem for two years. One said that he and his wife rarely go out to eat well anymore, except at their country club.

This happened to the restaurant. Later I worked for the owner, but this incident was before I met him. The story they told me was that he discovered that a significant amount of money was missing. I'm not sure of the amount right now, but it was between $ 1,000 and $ 2,000 and the restaurant was a restaurant open primarily for breakfast and lunch. He called the waiters and told them that he would be leaving the restaurant for two hours. When he came back in two hours, he expected the money to be on the counter, no questions asked. If not, they were all fired. When he came back the money was not there and he fixed

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This happened to the restaurant. Later I worked for the owner, but this incident was before I met him. The story they told me was that he discovered that a significant amount of money was missing. I'm not sure of the amount right now, but it was between $ 1,000 and $ 2,000 and the restaurant was a restaurant open primarily for breakfast and lunch. He called the waiters and told them that he would be leaving the restaurant for two hours. When he came back in two hours, he expected the money to be on the counter, no questions asked. If not, they were all fired. When he returned, the money was not there and he fired everyone. It closed for a few days while it trained new staff and reopened.

There is always rotation in restaurants, since it has many hourly positions and those who work in those positions tend to look for better conditions / hours / pay / culture, etc. Some operators consider that less than 70% of the annual turnover is earning. If too many quit at the same time, rather than over a period of time, then it's the same as any other business, run more efficiently until you can no longer run. It is much better to find and fix the issues that are causing high turnover in a unit / region / company before you are faced with a lot of churn or acute churn.

If many quit, the restaurant closes. If many quit, it's probably for a good reason and the restaurant will close, whether the reason is poor food or poor management or a combination of both.

Management is forced to intervene. These are the loyal core that MUST know from top to bottom how to run the place. It will take MAYBE 48 hours to replace all of them. Unless the corporate queue gets in the way, which in this case I doubt.

Most restaurants would find a way to stay open.

In the past three years, I have resigned from two different salaried managerial positions due to burnout, lack of motivation, and evasion of general responsibilities. One was from a company he had worked for eight years, the next for a year and a half.

The key to identifying whether an employee is likely to quit is the observable changes in the behavior of those who work closest to them. These changes are likely not to be noticed by casual acquaintances in the workplace. They can manifest in a variety of ways, but they all have one thing in common: they result in a completely different employee than the one you used.

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In the past three years, I have resigned from two different salaried managerial positions due to burnout, lack of motivation, and evasion of general responsibilities. One was from a company he had worked for eight years, the next for a year and a half.

The key to identifying whether an employee is likely to quit is the observable changes in the behavior of those who work closest to them. These changes are likely not to be noticed by casual acquaintances in the workplace. They can manifest in a variety of ways, but they all have one thing in common: they result in a completely different employee than the one you used to know.

Using myself as an example, these were changes in behavior that were likely observable by other people, from before I lost motivation to after:

  1. Before: I spent half the day away from my desk, going from office to office, manager to manager, or to the shop floor to light fires under people's butts and keep my operational awareness high. After: I rarely left the office except for lunch. Other employees would comment that they didn't even realize it was on that day.
  2. Before: Corporate / managerial lackey who always preached about the best interests of a corporation and our "duty" to shareholders. After: He became increasingly cynical of any motive or pressure from top management and Wall Street analysts that would put additional stress or responsibilities on management or salaried professionals without (a). equal compensation, or (b). additional template. Fuck the shareholders, I have a life to live.
  3. Before: I worked all kinds of erratic hours to get the job done. After: Maintain a regular schedule from 8 to 5/7 to 4, Monday through Friday, regardless of the workload, the size of the to-do list, or who was depending on me to do it.
  4. Before: Set up regular scheduled meetings to update my bosses / other stakeholders on all the great things I was working on or had completed in order to defend myself and build my "brand." After: I never provided updates on almost anything, since frankly I wasn't doing much more than the basics (remember: I'm "just" working 8-5 now, so I don't have all that "extra" project time) .
  5. Before: He answered work emails on the work phone at all hours to show how “engaged” he was. After: I never responded to emails from work outside of work (in fact, I completely turned the phone off after work).
  6. Before: I took my laptop home every day. After: No, never. Even if you manage to contact me outside of work, I can't do it without my laptop :-)
  7. Before: Known for being a frequent, punctual, prepared and vocal attendee at meetings. After: being late, unprepared and generally silent.

In both cases, the behaviors appeared about two to three months before I decided to throw in the towel. Also, in both cases, I just quit completely without even having another job lined up.

I am currently on my 10th consecutive month of vacation, so ... is anyone hiring? :-)

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