Line Cook Employee Turnover, a new epidemic?

Business Posts, Employers & Recruiters September 14, 2015

Line Cook Employee Turnover
So, I’m sitting on a bus right now traveling from Washington DC back to the office in New York City, and apologies because it’s definitely been a while since I’ve had a chance to post on our blog! We’ve been very busy with a slew of new clients, and its been keeping me and the team very busy! However, these travels always allow me to spend sometime away from everything and reflect on conversations with various restaurant owners, managers, and recruiters. So let me get into it…

Anyways, what I want to write about is merely based on my observation & conversations with our new clients and discussions with prospect ones in the restaurant industry. It involves a consistent pattern I keeping noticing….line cook employee turnover. Now I don’t need to tell you that the restaurant industry employee turnover is the highest out of most industries (I believe it was around 62.5%). But from many conversations with clients regarding line cooks, I keep noticing a pattern where they say something like “we constantly are looking for line cooks”, “line cooks come and go”, or “line cooks don’t get paid well, so they never stay long”, etc, etc.

Over the weekend, I was sitting with my good friend and his girlfriend. She had done a lot of recruiting for a 6-location restaurant-chain, and was also voicing that line cooks would many times come and go. Another conversation, with a couple of clients (who were restaurant owners/managers) were specifically complaining about how almost every few weeks they need to hire new line cooks. One went as far as saying… “I mean who wants to be paid $10 or $11 dollars an hour and work hard”.

So what’s the solution? Is it increase the pay? It seems that it might be waste of money to keep recruiting and paying those costs to keep hiring (let alone the time, energy and other resources wasted over and over with constantly having to hire and re-train staff). Is it a culture thing? Do we need to take a lesson out of the book “Tribal Leadership” and perhaps it’s the Leaders in charge. Perhaps focus on employee happiness like signature CEO Tony Shei? Do we need to emphasize more of a focus on employee happiness, engaging them, and making them feel like a team? I can only offer thoughts but I’m no expert restaurant manager…. nevertheless it is apparent we need to some re-thinking here.

Anyways this topic tickled my mind and I just wanted to share…it makes me want to dig deeper and see if this is really a large trend with restaurants across the nation. I’d be interested to hear from more line cooks their frustrations and from managers to see if this sort of turnover is an constant issue. Quantitatively I would like to measure or get some sort of statistics on the turnover and reason why. For now this article doesn’t even do any justice to what is going on but is just an observation for now….I’d be interested to see what any of you readers think ☺

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