5 Tips To Improve Staff Retention in Your Café, Bar or Restaurant

If you’re in the food and drink service industry, you know that retaining your staff is crucial. But as staff turnover figures for cafés, bars and restaurants show, it’s not that easy to make your best employees stay.


A recent report by Deloitte found that employee turnover in the industry can be as high as 31%, which is nearly double the average rate for other industries. A different report estimates that the sector in Ireland and the UK needs 993,000 staff by 2022, with some 870,000 needed to replace existing staff. And, according to the Restaurants Association of Ireland, there is an immediate deficit of 5000 chef trainees annually.


As well as the disruption and expense of replacing and retraining staff on a regular basis, a high turnover rate can also affect the knowledge base in your café, bar or restaurant and lower performance and morale. So, if you are looking for new, creative ways to engage and retain your staff, here are top 5 tips on employee retention.

  • Look for employees who know the industry

  • Before you can begin retaining employees, you have to make sure that you hire the right employees. Good supervisors are crucial for retention, so make sure that managers and supervisors are all trained professionals. If you have part-time jobs to fill, look for students who are studying hospitality or food/drink service management, because they know and like the industry, they take their employment as an opportunity to build their CV, and they are more likely to stay upon graduation.

  • Show them a future

  • Creating a career development program for your employees is a great way to create a sense of loyalty. Supporting their education, helping them complete a course, providing paid training leave or paying for your staff’s training programs are some of the options. As well as maximising retention, you will also reap the benefits of your employees’ new, improved skills.

  • Create a comfortable work environment and culture

  • Small things make a big difference in the food and drink service industry. Acknowledge your staff’s life outside work by offering flexible hours. If you can, offer them free food/drinks/coffee and/or parking. Make sure everybody feels included and create a work environment that values diversity.

  • Offer competitive salaries & benefits packages

  • When you think about staff retention, you should not underestimate the power of money. The best way to make your best employees stay is by paying them well. In addition, health insurance, life insurance and pension packages could also improve staff retention.

  • Always listen!

  • You should always spare a moment to find out what’s going on with your employees, in both their professional and personal life. Make your staff feel like they are a part of the entire business process. Talk to them about your café, bar or restaurant’s performance to make them feel responsible. Encourage ideas and open communication. Don’t forget to say “thank you” and acknowledge your employees’ contribution!

    Do you have any secrets to employee retention? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Please comment below or share this post to keep the conversation going!

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