I came across some statistics lately about the dining industry that I believe explain some about the problems of my RetCom’s (retirement community) dining problems of not being able to build a reliable waitstaff. There were many of them in my source but for this post I will concentrate on just three. If you want to see the whole article click HERE.
- 95% of restaurant owners say using technology improves the overall efficiency of their eateries.
- The average tenure of waitstaff is 1 month and 26 days.
- The average cost of replacing a restaurant employee is $5,864.
My RetCom has yet to provide anything beyond minimal technology in serving their residents. Of course, that includes the dining room. Most restaurants are now using technology in their dining rooms that significantly saves time. One example is technology that saves many unnecessary steps back and forth to the kitchen to deliver the paper ticket to the cook staff and then coming back multiple times to see if the order is ready. Automating that task allows each waiter to handle more tables. In a typical sit down restaurant the average number of tables handled at the same time is 4 – 6 tables.
It surprised me that tenure of wait staff is about 2 months, and then they move on to other opportunities. It seems that trying to build a loyal crew who stick around is a thing of the past. Like most businesses, loyalty is just not there anymore. Since this is true, I would guess that the secret to maintaining a full force waitstaff is in building up the base from which to refill constant vacancies.
The third thing is the cost of replacing an employee is almost $6k. That number surprises me! I won’t even speculate on what that cost entails.
Now on to my RetCom. I suspect this also applies to many others.
In doing an unofficial count recently, it seems that each waiter at my RetCom handles about 4 tables at a time compared to 5 and sometimes 6 in full-service restaurants. But, the wait staff here only delivers the food and seldom clears plates and such until several minutes after the dining party leaves, so it seems that they should be at least able to handle six tables at a time?
With the constant turnover in my RetCom dining room, I suspect that we have a tenure of two months or less. The problem seems to be that the pool of replacements basically doesn’t exist. The number of tables open for any meal varies drastically from one day to the next.
When I suggested that maybe my RetCom needs to contract with a temp agency to supply the pool of waiters needed, I was told that doing that would not make them feel like part of the RetCom “family”. It seems obvious, at least to me, that they don’t feel part of the family anyway.
It saddens me that the administration doesn’t seem to be putting the needs of their residents first. I know that food is but one cost center in maintaining a retirement community, but according to statistics, dining services is the second most important reason for picking which RetCom future residents will join.