There are a few key elements any QSR professional should consider when dealing with high turnover – a common occurrence that affects even the best, most successful brands. From personal experiences and discussions with Henny Penny customers, I've found that simplicity is a common theme in combating this systemic problem. To build a loyal and consistent team, whether in the restaurant or in the office, simplifying and streamlining tasks and processes is key. Making things as easy as possible, without sacrificing quality or customer-focus, is a key ingredient in creating a positive work environment, which in turn feeds positively into employee retention. I'll focus on a few below.
Operations should be simple to learn, especially if high turnover is an inevitable challenge, and employees are frequently being trained. POS systems, open fryers and combi ovens should be intuitive and easy to understand. This ensures that simple to learn operations are in place, which helps to increase employee longevity and, better yet, reduces time and money spent on orientations. If an objective look at the equipment and processes in place reveals unnecessary complexity, an immediate and long-term approach should and could be enlisted to remove it. This could mean enlisting employees' opinions and suggestions while beginning an effort now to articulate the company's needs for new equipment when the current pieces you use need replacing in the near future. Emphasizing the need for ease of use and operational simplicity in future bids or RFPs will only help you gain the equipment most compatible with your long-range goals.
There is also the element of usability – slightly different from being simple to learn – which addresses day-to-day management once training is mastered. Steps for processes must be clear, concise and accessible at all times for employees to be successful. For example, it's not reasonable to ask your team to follow 32 complicated steps and expect perfect French fries without fail. Operators may just make the wrong call or skip a step entirely. Ensuring that simple, easy to accomplish operations are in place decreases the likelihood of wasted product and, more importantly, allows employees to feel a greater sense of confidence in completing daily tasks.
Finally, one of the qualities of a valuable employee is his or her ability to problem-solve without management help. When an issue arises, intuitive pieces of kitchen equipment will provide the operator with error information, steps for internal access and clear direction for immediate correction. Manufacturers like Henny Penny also have a network of worldwide service people available for support, so that when an agent is called, their time spent on-site is quick and provides minimal interruptions.
Ensuring that easy to service operations, such as technology and equipment, are in place encourages employees to use think-on-your-feet action – allowing for improved efficiency and decreased interruptions. Additionally, Henny Penny has found that actively encouraging a culture of innovation and "everyone counts" has made a tremendous difference in both product quality and the day-to-day working environment in our offices and manufacturing facilities. I can't recommend enough taking a top-down approach to communicating and actively supporting employee initiative and leadership.
Although the QSR industry is often up and down, that doesn't mean your staff has to be, too. Running an efficient QSR with employees who can quickly recover from operational missteps is crucial, because ultimately, every lost minute equals lost dollars. To minimize turnover and maximize efficiency, make simplicity in learning, usability and maintenance an employee priority.
Rob Connelly is the President for Henny Penny, the leader in high quality foodservice equipment designed for easier operation, greater flexibility and lower operating costs. For more information on the company, visit www.HennyPenny.com