November 22, 2022

3 Red Flags That Make Restaurant Workers Leave A New Job

In this article: 3 red flags that make restaurant workers want to leave a new job, either during the hiring or training process.


The restaurant industry is in the midst of a labor shortage. If you own, manage, or work in a restaurant, chances are you’ve been affected in some way by this crisis.


Fueled by the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, nobody fully seems to understand how we got here, or what the fix is. It’s complicated, right?


Employees are the ones with the options right now.

Potential employees have a lot of options right now. With everyone hiring, they can easily pick and choose the best place for them, meaning that employers have to really step their game up and be competitive if they want to build and keep a good team.


To start, let’s take a look at the top 3 red flags that make restaurant workers want to leave a job before they even begin. These are things that they see during the hiring or training process. Nip these in the bud, and you will increase your chances of building a team that really hits the mark.


Top 3 Red Flags That Make Restaurant Workers Quit

#1. Disorganization

Walking into a restaurant that functions in chaos isn’t fun for anybody. For someone just starting out, trying to find up-to-date information, or trying to find to-go boxes in dry storage can become a nightmare if the restaurant is highly disorganized. 


Being an organized restaurant isn’t an easy task. Our industry is fast paced, and things are constantly changing. How many times have you organized the host stand just to come back the next day and it’s a mess again? Sometimes it seems easier to just give up on organization because it’s just too exhausting.


If I'm starting a new job at a new restaurant, there will always be a bit of a learning curve. Where do we keep extra linens? Am I allowed to make substitutions to that one menu item? What color socks am I allowed to wear? In an unorganized restaurant, these answers may change day-to-day, or depending on the person I ask. How frustrating is that! After a week or two in that environment, I start to wonder if management even knows what they're doing, and if I can be successful there. 


If you want to build a team of rockstar employees, your management needs to get organized. This is both physically organizing the restaurant so that everything has a home and can be found easily, and organizing the policies and procedures that make up your daily operations.


Related: Investing In Your Best Assets: How Training and Organization Improve The Employee Experience

#2. Lack of Communication

Chances are, if you’re highly unorganized, your team doesn’t have great communication either. Being able to communicate clearly and effectively is hard, even for a highly organized restaurant. 


Miscommunication usually leads to mistakes, which leads to drama and finger pointing quickly! Find a way to keep all of your important information - like menu guidelines, call-out policies, uniform requirements, and payment processes - in one central place. Before anything is changed, the management team needs to communicate the changes clearly among themselves, and then update the centralized information.


Clear communication is good leadership. Confident, clear messaging about team goals and objectives really sets the tone for newcomers, and leaves a fantastic impression. Work to elevate your communication if you want to reduce drama and keep the best employees.

Related: Effective Leadership In Restaurants: How Changing Your Message Changes The Game


#3. Poor Workplace Culture

Culture is the overarching “feel” of your work environment. Do people get along? Is there petty drama and gossip? Do people enjoy coming to work, and feel a sense of connection to the team and your shared goals? 


Poor workplace culture is a huge red flag for potential or new employees. Nobody wants to feel like crap about themselves when they’re at work, and if there are options available to them elsewhere, you better believe they will be quick to take them and leave you in the cold.


How can you improve your culture? It has to start with your management! If you have bad apples, remove them. Take the risk of being short staffed but having good people in leadership positions. Get organized and outline your goals, and make sure your management team is communicating clearly among themselves.


You will start to see your culture shift after those first changes, but it doesn’t stop there. Fire any toxic members of your staff, the same way you did with your management team. Make a commitment to changing the culture, and remember it doesn’t happen overnight! There might be some struggles along the way, but the payoff will be a fantastic team of employees who share your goals and values.

Related: 3 Reasons To Fire Toxic Restaurant Workers
Related:”I Don’t Want To Work...For You” How Successful Restaurant Managers Are Navigating The Labor Crisis

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Conclusion: Build your dream team!

These are unprecedented times. The world is changing in front of our eyes, and the restaurant industry is changing faster than others. Restaurant workers are demanding better pay and better treatment in their jobs, and employers are adapting as quickly as possible. 


Ready to build your dream team of servers, bartenders, and hosts? To make sure you attract (and keep!) the best of the best, get organized, improve your communication, and elevate your culture. Remember this will take some time and commitment, but the payoff is worth it.


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