Preventing restaurant staff turnover is a time-consuming and costly process. That’s why it’s so important to hire employees that are a good fit for your business and put measures in place to ensure they want to stick around for the long haul. 

How to Calculate The Restaurant Turnover Rate

In 2018, the National Restaurant Association calculated the restaurant turnover rate to be 74.9% annually, compared to 48.9% in the private sector. A report from CNBC puts the turnover rate at 130-150% for fast-casual restaurants.

The restaurant turnover rate is the frequency at which employees leave a job within a certain time period. You can calculate your restaurant’s rate using the restaurant turnover formula below.


number of employees who left / number of total positions X 100 

= turnover rate %


If you want to calculate your restaurant turnover rate for a six-month period and during that six months 5 of your 10 employees left and needed to be replaced, your calculation would be:


5 / 10 = 0.5
0.5 x 100 = 50%


Knowing your restaurant’s turnover rate is just the first part of the process. The next step is to determine why your staff is leaving and what you can do to prevent turnover.

Read more about why turnover is so high, what it costs, and how to fix it in our Staff Management Guide

The Cost of Restaurant  Turnover and Why Employees Leave

Staff turnover is a major headache for restaurant owners, but there are also real costs that come along with it.

  • Time and money: Every time an employee needs to be replaced, you are spending time on recruiting, interviewing, and onboarding new employees, plus the money spent to post and advertise a job listing.
  • Training: Each time a new employee needs to be trained, you are taking time away from yourself and/or your managers, and the guest experience suffers as well.
  • Reputation: Servers can make or break your business, and a new-hire won’t provide the same level of service or have the same expertise as a seasoned pro.

Download our Staff Management Guide for more info on the cost of staff turnover.

Restaurant Staff Retention Tips

Restaurant turnover will always be an issue, but there are ways to lower your turnover rates and the costs that come along with it.

  • Show your staff that you appreciate them through appropriate pay raises, outings, acknowledgments, and more.
  • Identify stressors in the workplace and work to eliminate them. 
  • Measure tenure and provide a path for growth within the company.
  • Conduct exit and stay interviews to keep your finger on the pulse of staff satisfaction.
  • Create a hiring method that aligns with your personal values and hire your staff based off of those key personality traits.

Get more staff retention tips from the pros, including Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer, in our Staff Management ebook.

Why is turnover is so high, what is the actual cost, and how do you fix it? Find the answers in our Staff Management ebook.

Download The Guide
Written by   |  
Stephanie is a Providence, RI native and eight-year food industry veteran. As Upserve's Content Marketing Coordinator she creates materials that help restaurateurs, managers, and service professionals succeed. When she's not writing, Stephanie is most likely traveling, cooking, or trying new restaurants.
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