Keeping the Caterer Satisfied - How Happy Staff Benefit the Business

by Alistair Coats

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Caterers are told all the time about the importance of keeping the customer satisfied, but in an industry with an estimated annualized employee turnover rate of 73.8%, maybe we should be focusing on employees a bit more.

You read that right - nearly three quarters of hospitality staff leave their job within a year. The average turnover across all industries is 17.8%, so what’s going wrong here, and what are the implications?

To some extent a high turnover is expected in hospitality, where many people are working while studying or looking for extra work on top of other employment. But the impact of regularly losing staff is huge in a customer-facing industry.

The Cost of Losing Staff

A CAP study found that the cost of replacing an employee who earns $30,000 or less is 16% of their annual salary. The statistics suggest that, once the cost of finding, interviewing, hiring and training the new recruit are factored in, there may only be a period of a few months of productivity from an employee before they leave the company.

On top of this, a high staff turnover can create a negative working environment for staff, and inevitably harm customer service, which makes the workload for the remaining employees more stressful to handle.

Why Hospitality Has a High Turnover

A recent report into Britain’s hospitality sector found that the top three reasons for leaving a job in the industry were unsociable working hours (69%), low pay and benefits (63%) and lack of career prospects (35%).

The same report found that 40% of hospitality workers are in the job because it was the only one available at the time. Only 3% said they took the job because of the career prospects it offered. Given that the career is so passively chosen, it’s crucial in hospitality to make roles clear from day one and to prevent the work from being too stressful.

If You Can’t Stand the Heat, I’ll Turn Down the Temperature...

Contrary to the old adage about those who can’t stand the heat getting out of the kitchen, it seems obvious that an employer’s role is not to tell staff to leave, but to improve working conditions as much as possible. Given the cost of re-hiring, this makes good business sense.

At Spoonfed we’ve always believed that software can make massive improvements to working conditions. With a system to make hospitality orders simple to manage, avoiding errors and taking the stress out of day-to-day operations, we made huge improvements to our own catering business before taking the software to market.

The efficiencies that come with software like Spoonfed put caterers in the strongest possible position. As minimum wage rises threaten tight profits, automation through technology is a great way to reduce waste and improve service, giving businesses the ability to grow sales while deploying staff more efficiently.

A catering business that runs on software has the added benefit of being quick to learn. The costs of a high staff turnover and getting an employee to full productivity are drastically cut by the implementation of a simple system that makes sense and comes with instructions rather than piecemeal tips from the outgoing member of staff.

If you’d like to speak to us about how Spoonfed could work for your business, book a demo

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