The Real Cost of High Employee Turnover

Ask any frequent restaurant patron why they return to a restaurant and second to the food quality, a typical answer is the staff and hospitality. Whether it is a family-style restaurant, bar, or fine dining establishment, customers feel a sense of comfort when they walk in and see familiar faces. Establishing a memorable guest-to-server experience is vital to generating repeat business.

Equally important is retaining servers, especially those that have a proven ability to build lasting guest relationships that drive customer loyalty. High turnover rates can have a tremendous effect on the bottom line. In fact, according to the Black Box Intelligence, the industry average for the replacement cost of a single employee is around $2,000. The National Restaurant Association estimates that the average restaurant is losing $150,000 a year due to staff turnover.

The loss of an employee has directed associated costs including advertising the open position and additional management hours devoted to reviewing applications and interviewing candidates. Couple this with the training hours, productivity loss, and certain food waste resulting from a new server’s initial training, and the costs quickly add up.

High turnover rates affect the overall atmosphere of a restaurant as well. Staff morale can drop as friends leave and new relationships have to be established. Schedules become challenging as a smaller crew is left to pick up the vacant shifts. Also, the quality of service tends to drop as the experienced employee is replaced by a new hire that is unfamiliar with the menu and restaurant operations. When customer service suffers, even for just a few tables, the overall brand of a restaurant can take a significant hit.

As a result, it is crucial to keep employee turnover as low as possible. Here are a few tips for developing a successful employee retention strategy.

Proactive Strategies Reduce Turnover

A strategy that savvy managers use to reduce turnover is a tiered employee referral program. Providing an incentive to employees to bring on new staff members and reward them for the longevity of the new hire is a natural screening process that attracts quality, long-term hires. A tiered referral incentive provides bonuses when a referral is hired when they’ve reached 3 months and 12 months of employment. The current employees have an incentive to endorse candidates that will remain loyal to the restaurant. In addition to reducing turnover, employee referral programs lessen the explicit costs associated with onboarding new employees as previously outlined.

Another strategy is providing competitive wages. One of the most common reasons for an employee to leave is they receive a better offer elsewhere. You can prevent this by being familiar with competitors’ wages and matching or exceeding them. Not surprisingly, providing competitive compensation is likely to increase employee retention.

Perhaps equally important, is considering technology that enables the server to be more efficient and earn more tips. While an extensive training program will help your employees perform their basic job functions, implementing the right technology can ensure they are enabled to spend quality time with your guests. Pay-at-the-table convenience is one option for freeing up your staff to focus on hospitality.

TableSafe’s payment platform provides a guest controlled payment solution that enables the server to focus on hospitality. The TableSafe RAILTM pay-at-the-table platform is an EMV secure, guest-controlled payment solution that allows your waitstaff to focus on hospitality and revenue generation, not payments. To learn more about TableSafe and how it mitigates high turnover, visit


Follow us on social media for the latest updates in B2B!



student athletes training
The Anticipation of Record Heat Must be the Concern of Educational Institutions and the Safety of their Student Athletes
April 17, 2024

Temperatures around the globe are continuing to set new records, and as a result, universities now face increasing challenges in ensuring the safety and performance of their student athletes.  Rising mercury poses risks of heat-related illnesses and affects the athletic performance and recovery of student athletes. Educational programs on recognizing the symptoms of heat […]

Read More
HVAC building efficiency goals
Improving HVAC Systems Plays a Key Role for Meeting Building Efficiency Goals
April 17, 2024

In today’s rapidly advancing world, the role of HVAC systems for building efficiency goals has become a pivotal topic for businesses and property owners alike. With energy costs soaring, the shift towards more energy-efficient systems isn’t just a luxury—it’s a financial imperative. Building efficiency upgrades could slash global energy demand by 12% and save […]

Read More
Generative AI Remains at an IP and Privacy Crossroads
April 17, 2024

As artificial intelligence becomes increasingly integrated into our daily lives and business operations, the conversation around its ethical and legal implications grows louder. It’s clear that generative AI will continue to face legal battles; applications from oncology, to mental health services, to the classroom, are raising questions about AI’s ethics and the consequences of […]

Read More
strategic Capital allocation
Strategic Capital Allocation Can Help Businesses Leverage Employee Knowledge and Collaboration for Better Returns
April 17, 2024

Strategic capital allocation, a critical aspect of business management often emphasized by investment experts like Warren Buffett, involves more than just distributing financial resources; it’s about strategic investment that drives long-term value. Firms are increasingly recognizing the need to integrate capital allocation with broader corporate strategies, ensuring that investments are not only financially sound […]

Read More