How To Save Money When You're Dealing With A High Restaurant Turnover Rate

Securing restaurant facilities takes up a huge chunk of time, money and human resources. So much so that if you are in charge of restaurant operations you’re constantly looking for a way to focus more on making sure guests have a fantastic experience and less on who’s got access to a restaurant location and its vulnerable assets. In order to achieve this in the most efficient and cost effective way, take a cue from the boy scouts: be prepared.

High Restaurant Turnover Rate.pngThe turnover rate in the hospitality segment of the economy was 72.1 percent in 2015, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Think about that. Nearly three out of four employees hired in one year will no longer be employed at the same restaurant in the next year. Acknowledging this prompts a rethinking of the common protocol for securing restaurant facilities.

Those in charge of restaurant operations are surely aware of the costs associated with a high turnover rate. Not only are there significant costs associated with continuously hiring and training new employees, but there are peripheral costs that aren’t often recognized and discussed in the popular discourse on the topic. High turnover rates directly affect the cost of keeping restaurant facilities secure. But, knowing this is not reflected in the typical process of securing a facility after an employee’s departure.

The process for ensuring security at most restaurant facilities looks like this:

  1. Employee is separated.
  2. The facility’s security is evaluated by asking the question, “What did this employee have access to?”
  3. Once the employee’s access level is known, keys are asked to be returned.
  4. Locks are changed in the event that employee does not return keys.
  5. Access codes are changed.

This process is reactive rather than proactive. Being reactive is a result of being unprepared. Being prepared for employee separation will allow restaurant ops leaders to combat the high cost of securing facilities. These high costs often lie in the result of steps three and four in the process outlined above. There are three changes that can be made should be made to prepare facilities for such situations and reduce costs. 

  1. Establishing an employee retention program can make a big impact to reduce the turnover rate before it becomes a serious strain on your budget.
  2. During the employee onboarding process, consider creating a key log that documents the keys that a new employee is issued and what those keys access. Keys can be easily documented if they can be imprinted with a tracking number. This can help ensure that when keys are returned they have not been duplicated. But, lots of people can procure engravers. What is also important to do is to use keys that don’t have key blanks used widely in the open market, also known as restricted keys. This offers a double layer of security for keyed entries. If restaurant leaders can ensure that keys have not been duplicated, locks don’t need to be changed each time an employee is separated, which will save substantial dollars each year.
  3. To fully ensure that a location’s keyed entry points have not been compromised, locks should be repinned or lock cylinders should be replaced for each employee separation event. This best practice typically comes at a premium cost, but it is absolutely worth it when you consider what could be at stake. Unfortunately, this cost is prohibitive for many smaller restaurant chains and franchise locations. The good news is that in the long run, this cost can be reduced with rekeyable locks. With these locks, restaurant management can change the locks themselves, which would make a big impact on the cost of locksmith callouts and hardware. This would also eliminate the time it takes for a technician to get to a location, thereby closing the risk window between employee separation and securing the location.

The bottom line is, employees are going to leave; about three quarters of them. What are you doing to prepare your locations for this to happen? Lock and key systems are often overlooked in the conversation on the costs of a high employee turnover rate – forgotten until a security event brings the importance of these considerations to the forefront in the form of a loss. But, that won’t happen to you, as long as you’re prepared.


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