A sure-fire way to retain staff in your restaurant is to avoid upsetting them.

Sound obvious? Maybe, but the restaurant trade is hectic, and the task of running an establishment is littered with opportunities to inadvertently create your own HR disaster.

Brilliant managers and restaurant owners aren’t perfect in this regard, either – they make mistakes like the rest of us. That’s why it pays to keep this handy list of misdemeanours in your back pocket:

1. Inconsistency

Inconsistency in restaurant management extends from decisions made about the rota to the way guests are treated.

For instance, if you give Sarah Thursday evening off at short notice but the same request by Sam a week later is denied, you need a legitimate reason for making that decision.

Equally, if you give one staff member the go ahead to apply a discount to the bill of an unhappy guest, make sure there’s clarity behind the decision to ensure the rest of the team operate from the same set of rules.

2. Lack of acknowledgement for the small things

Sure, you’re going to give a hearty pat on the back to the member of staff who suggests a theme night that results in record Friday night revenue, but what about the person who guided the blind diner to the window seat for the best light?

Acknowledge every achievement you spot, no matter how small, because the more staff go unrewarded for going above and beyond, the bigger staff retention problems you’re going to have.

3. Lack of trust

Discovering that a member of the team is stealing from the business is a terrible feeling, but in reality, such instances are pretty rare.

You can trust your staff. That goes from giving them the benefit of the doubt if they call in sick for a second day to leaving them alone while cashing up.

Trust goes an awfully long way with restaurant staff, and particularly in a trade that demands it for the efficient running of the business.

4. The. Same. Damn. Playlist.

Ugh. That playlist… again?

The restaurant industry is awash with stories of staff who have been driven to the point of distraction after being forced to listen to the same playlist over and again.

When deciding on the soundtrack for your dining experience, mix it up a bit and ensure you have at least four or five playlists with plenty of tracks on them. Music’s good for the soul – providing it doesn’t repeat endlessly.

5. Inflexibility with the rota

If there’s one area of your business that’s likely to court the most controversy, it’ll be the rota.

A steady, predictable rota is fine, but one that changes like the wind will do nothing but rile even the most placid restaurant staff.

Things happen. Unexpected events, illnesses and influxes of business take place. That means you can never set a rota in stone, but what you can do is ensure any changes are communicated with as much notice as possible and done so in person, rather than via a blanket email or text message.

Wrapping up

Your team is the beating heart of your restaurant operation. Avoid the above, and worries about staff retention and turnover should become a thing of the past.

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