Skip to content

Blog / August 11, 2022

How to Keep Restaurant Managers From Leaving: 9 Retention Strategies

From leading employees and handling team conflicts to implementing initiatives that grow the business, restaurant management stays busy. In fact, general manager is one of the most important jobs in a restaurant. An experienced manager can help keep the business afloat for years, while an unsuccessful one can hasten the business’ demise.

If you find a good manager, you need to hold onto them and treat them well. Unfortunately, just like other jobs in the hospitality industry, the role of manager is susceptible to high turnover rates. Keeping restaurant management from leaving is harder than it looks. 

That’s where this guide to restaurant management retention comes in handy. Keep reading to learn:

  • The state of staff retention in the restaurant industry
  • Why do restaurant managers quit?
  • How to retain restaurant employees: 9 ways to keep restaurant managers from leaving

The State of Employee Retention in the Restaurant Industry

The hospitality industry has an astronomical annual employee turnover rate of 73%. This figure means that only about a quarter of the employees who work at a restaurant at the beginning of the year would still be there by the end of the year. 

The average restaurant employee switches jobs every 56 days, making their employment 27 times shorter than the average tenure in other industries (4.2 years). Unfortunately, every time a restaurant has to replace a general manager, it costs the business $14,000 in training and hiring expenses.

The pandemic has complicated things even further, by making it dangerous to work in a customer-facing role. According to the Washington Post, the hospitality industry has been one of the most affected by the Great Resignation. Restaurant employees are quitting in droves. 

Why Do Restaurant Managers Quit?

Now you know just how dire turnover is in the restaurant industry. But why does restaurant management quit? When you know the answer to this question, you can make changes that will make managers want to stay.

Poor Work-Life Balance

Restaurant managers spend a lot of time working and don’t have the opportunity to maintain work-life balance. In fact, 89% of managers say their role doesn’t give them enough time to spend with family and friends.

Low Pay

Low pay is another reason for restaurant employees quitting. A report found that the base salary for general managers, adjusted for inflation, is lower now than it was a decade ago. At full-service restaurants, managers earn 11% less today than they did in 2008. At limited-service concepts, managers earn 6% less today.

Lack of Opportunities

Data shows that less than two in five restaurants offer employees professional development opportunities. With few chances for growth, it’s no wonder that 65% of general managers are “actively disengaged” at work and prone to quitting. 

How to Retain Restaurant Employees: 9 Ways To Keep Restaurant Managers From Leaving

Retaining managers is critical to a restaurant’s longevity. Here are sevennine strategies for keeping managers from leaving.

1. Set Managers Up for Success with Training

Create a formalized manager training program to set newcomers up for success. Even if you’ve hired experienced managers, it’s important to run them through an intensive training program to level the playing field and ensure they have the skill set necessary to do a good job. 

2. Increase Compensation

With managers citing low wages as one of the main reasons for quitting, the obvious remedy is to raise wages. If this just isn’t an option for your restaurant, consider other creative ways to offer other compensation. For example, you could offer commuter benefits, more paid time off, or profit sharing.

3. Offer Greater Flexibility

Restaurant workers face challenging hours and inflexible schedules. Help managers maintain a work-life balance by giving them flexibility when they’re doing back-office work, such as financial planning or scheduling.

If possible, let managers work remotely when they’re doing these kinds of tasks. Cloud-based technology, like a guest experience platform or point-of-sale (POS) system, can help because it allows managers to access data from anywhere and see what’s happening at the business at all times.

4. Create Opportunities for Professional Development

If managers feel like they can’t move up at your restaurant, they won’t stay. Create opportunities for professional growth. Invest in training programs for employees to gain new skills. Create new positions with more responsibilities. Opportunities like these should help managers see a future at your restaurant.

5. Recognize Achievements

Lack of recognition contributes to turnover. Retain restaurant managers by making them feel appreciated.

Start by tracking their achievements. Data can help. Monitor POS system reports to see if revenue has increased since your manager was hired or implemented a new initiative. Keep an eye on your customer relationship management (CRM) system to see how guest sentiment has changed since your manager joined the team.

Then, give managers credit. If a bonus is off the table, reward managers with “employee of the month” recognition, an extra day off, or a gift card.

6. Give Managers Multiple Ways to Collect Guest Feedback

Managers will want to stay if they feel successful. Implementing customer feedback is one of the best ways to improve a business. However, asking guests their opinion during service can only take you so far because some guests may be afraid to say what they really think.

Equip managers with other ways to understand guest sentiment. For example, they could send guests post-meal feedback surveys or monitor reviews on third-party review sites though a review aggregator. These tools can send managers daily digest emails with feedback highlights so they can easily keep tabs on what guests think and address customer complaints.

7. Empower Managers to Anticipate Customers’ Needs

In the past, maitre d’s used to know everything about regulars. Today, that knowledge can be shared among managers and employees with the help of technology.

Empower managers to anticipate guests’ needs by equipping them with a CRM that creates guest profiles, saves transaction history, and automatically tags profiles with relevant information. Managers can use this information to help servers anticipate guests’ needs and keep them coming back for more.

8. Help Managers Generate More Revenue for the Restaurant

Managers will want to stay if they feel like they’re making a difference in the business. Give them tools that help them generate more revenue.

AI-powered seating software, for example, checks thousands of combinations each minute to assign parties to the table that will lead to the most revenue. It optimizes your floor plan so you can maximize sales.

9. Turn Managers into Marketing Experts

Another way for managers to make an impact and want to stay is to let them expand their job with marketing duties. Fortunately, they won’t need a marketing degree to make a difference.

With marketing automation software, managers can use preset marketing campaigns to increase lifetime customer value. For example, they can send a “we miss you” email to customers who haven’t visited you in a few months, or offer guests a free dessert on their birthday to entice them to celebrate the special occasion with you.

How to Retain Restaurant Employees & Keep Managers Engaged

Keep restaurant managers engaged by equipping them with the right tools and training, offering greater work-life balance, increasing compensation, and helping them engage with guests in meaningful ways.

SevenRooms offers a range of guest engagement solutions that will help your restaurant managers succeed. Book a demo today.

FAQs on How to Keep Restaurant Managers 

1. Why Do Restaurant Managers Quit?

Low pay and a lack of opportunities for advancement are the top reasons why restaurant managers quit their jobs.

2. Is Being a Restaurant Manager Worth It?

Being a restaurant manager comes with a lot of hard work and sometimes long hours. Once you get into the groove of things, it can be a rewarding career.

Subscribe for more restaurant + hospitality resources