During the labor shortage: How to retain your restaurant kitchen staff

August 19, 2019


Your restaurant kitchen is the heart of your restaurant. This is where your kitchen staff works hard to produce delicious dishes to attract customers and encourage them to come back.

Accordingly, you have to do your best not only to hire the best kitchen staff but also to retain them and avoid any chance of being understaffed. Not having enough kitchen staff will have negative effects on your restaurant workflow and operations; there will be a mess in taking, preparing and serving orders.

Hiring more kitchen staff is not the solution. Alternatively, you need to hire qualified staff in the first place who is able to run operations smoothly and provide high-quality customer service.

Through the hiring process, when you interview applicants, make note of their traits such as:

  • Confidence
  • A positive and collaborative attitude
  • Attention to detail
  • Flexibility

Interviewing candidates is not enough. You should test their skills through a practical exam to ensure that they have what it takes to be part of your restaurant’s team.


Why do you need to hire and retain the qualified staff?

Labor cost directly affects your bottom line. Hiring and retaining the qualified staff will help you run your restaurant’s operations smoothly while lowering costs.

High employee turnover and labor shortage cost you a lot in terms of spending time and money to train new staff.


How to retain your restaurant kitchen staff?

After hiring the best kitchen staff, you need to retain this staff in order to guarantee that your business will run smoothly.

Here you will find 5 ways to retain your kitchen staff:

1. Kitchen Operations’ Optimization:

You should start by pointing out the points of weaknesses in your kitchen. It might be your kitchen layout, the preparation time, miscommunication between BOH and FOH.

You should act according to the problem. If it is the kitchen layout, then consider reorganizing your kitchen stations. Whereas, preparation time requires you to speed up every process and enhance the workflow. You shall also consider using technology and installing more effective equipment.


2. Have a fair tipping policy:

If you can not offer your staff higher wages, then you should find a way to distribute tips between all employees. Kitchen staff might work as hard as servers and hosts but they don’t have tips directly so you shall find a fair policy to distribute tips between them.


3. Increase the benefits package:

For your full-time employees, consider offering them benefits package including:

  • Medical and Dental compensation.
  • Paid Vacation.
  • Transportation Allowance.
  • Employee Activities.


4. Workplace Culture Improvement:

Ask your employees what they like and what they don’t. Know what their needs are. Listen to their suggestions for improvement and make changes upon these suggestions. This will definitely make them feel appreciated and increase their loyalty to the business.


5. Offer Them Chance To Develop Their Skills:

Another way to retain your kitchen staff is to offer them chances to develop their skills like mentorship program, classes, and training programs. This will teach them additional skills related to their tasks and make them feel that working on your restaurant involves a long-term plan.