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Respect: The solution to QSR employee turnovers?

Next to food, labor is the biggest cost for any QSR franchise restaurant. There is much written about the high costs of turnover and how restaurants cannot keep good employees.

From the operations and accounting end, it’s no secret that turnover in a franchise restaurant causes significant work and cost. We deal with some of these issues every day. From paperwork for hiring and termination, updating the payroll systems, training a new employee on procedures- that is all a big investment. Whether they are teenagers or parents or retirees, why can’t store managers keep good employees?

I have a unique perspective, in that my 16 year old daughter has worked for a few major brands for almost a year now. Recently, she took a job with a local restaurant as well, and she shared her perspective with me about why good employees leave.

Unfortunately, it’s not groundbreaking. It’s the same concept as with any job you take at any level. She said to me that the one location she worked at where people stayed was where the manager treated everyone with respect. Is that rocket science? Granted, this is from the perspective of a four days shy of seventeen year old, but the message is the same. When I asked her for specific reasons, here is what she shared about what makes a good manager.

1. Managers can’t be your friends – It is ok to be friendly, but you have to be a leader. Making friends with store level employees often leads to the appearance of picking favorites, even if that is not their intention. Playing favorites leads to many other issues.

2. Be consistent – No shift, or day is ever the same. The Store Manager needs to lead the day with consistent communication to the team, and consistent expectations for each employee given their shift and assigned task.

3. Don’t be spiteful – This one took me by surprise. She has worked at three separate locations, two brands, and said that at each location the managers would exhibit behaviors that were categorized as “spiteful”. For instance, if you as the employee did something that the manager did not like (even if it was just requesting an extra day off) the manager would take it out on the employee in terms of scheduling, task placement, or just bad attitude.

4. Recognizing the differences in employees – This one requires some explanation. The team is made up of high-school and college students, single parents, retirees, and some in between. At any location, some employees are just looking for spending money, while some are using the position to support themselves or a family. The manager must understand the motivation for the job, and treat the employees accordingly in terms of scheduling, task placement, training, advancement, and expectations.

When hiring your next store manager, the business side is important- they have to understand the operations, the accounting and have many other skills to be a successful QSR Store Manager. But at the end of the day, a business is successful because of its team. If your manager cannot lead and build the team and treat them with respect, your store will ultimately suffer from increased labor cost due to turnover.