How To Improve Your Hospitality Staff Retention

Hospitality Staff Retention KSB Recruitment

Hospitality staff retention in the sector is low at 70% compared to the UK average of 85%. Common problems reported include a lack of control over shift patterns, low pay and benefits and a lack of guaranteed hours.

With zero-hours contracts on the rise, it is not surprising that so many in hospitality positions feel insecure in their jobs. Brexit fears and a broader shift in the entire culture of work are also at play.

Hospitality managers are facing harsher conditions than ever. Every restaurant, hotel and bar wants to be sure that the staff they have taken on and trained are not going to jump ship after just a few weeks.

In this article, we will discuss the main problem areas we, as hospitality recruiters know, are affecting hospitality staff retention rates in the sector.


A Better Offer

Due to the current skills-short market, there are far more job opportunities than there are staff waiting to fill them. The hospitality sector is driven by a younger workforce, with 33% of employees under the age of 25, compared to the national average of 12%.

In contrast, just ten years ago we were emerging from the recession; young people felt lucky to have any job at all, whereas this new generation of hospitality workers have many roles to choose from.

To keep hospitality staff retention rates in your establishment as high as possible, you should be aware of your competitors and what they might be offering staff that you aren’t.

Have you lost staff to a rival restaurant and can’t understand why? It might be that they are offering better pay, more flexible hours or a better bonus package. Do your research and find out what is common among your competitors. If you can match what they are offering, it will be in your best interests. The key to a successful business is getting the best staff you can, and you can’t achieve this if they are being offered something better elsewhere.

Understanding The Employee Experience

Have you heard of the employee experience? Are you talking about it in your hotel or restaurant? Many managers fall into the trap of believing that employee engagement systems only apply to larger businesses. However, even if your establishment is a 5-man team in a small family-run café, understanding how your staff feel when they come to work is crucial to ensuring they are happy in their roles and not looking for something better.

It was once considered that employees don’t leave bad jobs; they leave bad managers, but this is not necessarily true anymore. Employees now more than ever are choosing to work for places where they feel their values are aligned.

These days, you won’t find meat-eaters working in a vegan restaurant, just like you won’t find a vegan working in a steakhouse. What kind of employees do you have in your establishment? Ensuring you have a team who share a set of values about which they are passionate is key to a happier and therefore more productive workplace.



KSB Recruitment Hospitality Staff RetentionOne of the biggest misconceptions about hospitality staff is that they are not looking to progress. As hospitality roles are often seen as launch-pads to something bigger and better, a big mistake many hospitality organisations often fall into is not training staff in a progressive way. (LINK here to ‘hospitality staff induction plan’ article)

For example, a university student taking on a bar job for the summer is less likely to be given as much scope for growth than a commis chef in a new restaurant. However, consider how much the student will learn in a few months if they are absorbed into a comprehensive training programme which aims for growth. This candidate is much more likely to stay in the job for longer, coming back year on year and growing with the business as well as within themselves.


Hire The Right Employees

Hospitality Staff RetentionThis is probably the area where many hospitality establishments fall down. The hiring managers are all too aware that we are in a skills-short market, and they need to fill positions, fast.

It can be easy to fall into the trap of hiring the first person that comes along when you have been looking for staff for a while. Turning down an applicant who can start on the spot might be tempting when you’re a man down in your restaurant, but in the long run, this will be counterproductive.

Take as much time as you need to hire the right staff. If you need to look for an extra few weeks to find the best candidate, this is preferential to hiring the wrong staff three times over.

Hiring the right hospitality staff is positive for everyone involved, even if it takes a little longer.  You won’t have to advertise the position repeatedly, your current team will not have the constant stream of new starters that can cause upheaval, and dedicated training and development can be invested in the employee, which in turn will make them more likely to stay and develop with your establishment.



At KSB Recruitment, we are specialists in hospitality recruitment and are in constant contact with both clients and candidates from great hospitality establishments in Birmingham, Staffordshire, West Midlands, Warwickshire, Oxfordshire, Worcestershire and Northamptonshire.

Do you have positions that need filling? We have the right contacts for you. Get in touch today and find out how we can help grow your business with the right staff for your establishment.



Dawn Turbitt.

Who is Dawn Bannister

Dawn has over 30 years recruitment experience recruiting for the likes of Sainsbury’s plc, Holiday Inn, Barclaycard, ISS, Royal Mail, West Midlands Police and the NEC – to name a few. She also oversaw the company’s Investors in People accreditation in 1999 – (and held ever since) and has recently been selected to attend the prestigious programme run by Aston University’s Business Growth Programme.