Why restaurant GMs are more disengaged than ever - and how to change it

by Nicky Budd-Thanos, on May 21, 2019

A favorite and reliable resource around the Crew office has always been TDn2K, a website dedicated to giving insight and research around what’s happening in the restaurant industry. Recently, they shared a new white paper on The Increasingly Disengaged State of Restaurant General Managers and What You Can Do About It.

We downloaded and read the white paper so that we could share the most relevant stats and takeaways with you, but if you’re interested to read the whole thing, you can also download here.

1. Turnover rates are on the rise - especially in management

It probably comes as no surprise that turnover for frontline employees in the restaurant industry are extremely high - sometimes topping out at 120%. However, you might be surprised to learn that turnover rates for those in management roles are also on the rise. According to TDn2K’s research, turnover rates in management are at 40% - a full 10% increase since 2012.

With that increase in turnover comes the high price of finding a replacement and training the new GM; while costs to replace a frontline employee hover around $6k, it can cost upwards of $14k to re-staff a GM role.

If you aren’t already thinking about ways to prevent turnover and keep the employees you need, start here with how to build out a plan.

2. 65% of GMs reported feeling “actively disengaged”

This statistic on its own was overwhelming to think about but if you consider another stat that TDn2K uncovered - that 52% of chain restaurants report that they are “constantly understaffed for management positions under the GM”, it adds a new dimension. At any given time, more than half of the brands in the QSR industry has one or more GMs handling their day-to-day without a good support system.

Taxing GMs with roles and responsibilities outside of the scope of their work is going to lead to burnout and inevitably, turnover. Building a team that scales and that can properly support each other is critical - and there’s a lot to gain from actively engaging your team. Creating a team that works together with the same purpose is easier than it may seem - get five tips on how to build a goals-oriented team from a Pizza Hut franchise owner.

3. The top concerns of GMs are being overlooked - with detrimental results

In the words of Crew customer, Primary Aim (a top Wendy’s franchisee), “the only path to customer satisfaction is through employee satisfaction.” Overlooking the needs of your employees means that your employees are unable to properly service the needs of your customers.

According to TDn2K, some of the top concerns from GMs are big ones: compensation for GMs has not stayed current with inflation and other industries. In a time where unemployment is at an all-time low of 3.8%, you can’t afford (no pun intended) to not pay your team competitively.

Another sore spot for GMs? Work-life balance. Only 11% of survey respondents said that their jobs allow them to spend enough quality time with family and friends. In a job that already includes work on nights/weekends, it’s important to recognize the need to decompress and recharge - make sure your GMs are getting the time away that they need to come back refreshed and ready to lead the team.

4. Implementing effective tech is the key to team engagement

Introducing new technology to a team can be stressful - will everyone know how to use it? How long will it take to get up and running? But as TDn2K put it, “implementing technology that helps employees be more engaged will in turn, make the job of the GM easier.”

Using an app like Crew that doesn’t require personal contact information but rather just the ownership of a smartphone makes it easy for everyone to stay on the same page - whether that’s about schedules/shift coverage, new training procedures or even just a coworker’s birthday.

“A GM’s job will never be easy, but there are many ways you can help them achieve more. Reducing the administrative burden, leveraging technology to simplify and improve reporting and analytics and taking the guesswork out of scheduling is a start.”

5. Your GMs are heroes - give them what they need!

The ability of your GMs to function and run a team effectively every day has enormous implications for your bottom line. As TDn2K’s research demonstrates, there is a growing gap between top-performing restaurants and those who are struggling to get a handle on retention and team engagement. In fact, brands who are outperforming had same-store sales growth 4.4% higher than the rest over a 2-year period.

What are you doing to make your GMs more productive and successful? Let us know on Twitter! And if you want to learn more about how Crew equips GMs with superpowers, contact us now.

Topics:Employee EngagementInternal Communications