Building In Benefits For Restaurant Employees To Flip High Turnover Rates and Retain Good People

Updated: Jun 24

By Andrew Parr

As a restaurant owner, you get into hospitality to create a sense of belonging for yourself, your team, and your community. We speak daily with restaurant employees across the country who are crying out for benefits as a top priority in order to succeed in their careers and live their best lives. They struggle to pay their bills and to access basic physical and mental health care. They feel like they are just “bodies” or “hands” getting fed into the gristmill, not the true restaurant professionals they actually are.

We know it seems impossible to invest in your people through benefits because you are held hostage by an arcane system of “restaurant industry standards.” These standards only work for those that prey upon restaurant operators, leaving you with, at best, an 8% bottom line. There is a way. You can think and act differently. You can be the leader your team and the restaurant industry desperately needs. Take charge of your life and your business; don’t become just another statistic of failure like restaurants with the industry average 73% turnover rate, or worse, the 60% of restaurants that close within their first 12 months. You don’t have to be just another high turnover, low profit restaurant doomed to close its doors. Instead, become a model for an equitable, profitable, sustainable business with boundless employee engagement and loyalty.

There is a path forward in which we can map to 75% employee retention and satisfaction. A path to 19% net profit. This road map, the Paragon Pillars, is long, yet achievable. And it begins with deciding for your unique business how to invest in four restaurant employee pillars. The elements are Wages, Benefits, Culture, and Education. Today we focus on Benefits. There are four buckets to understand and in which to invest (time and/or money): Physical Health, Mental Health, Time Off, and Creative Amenities.

We have compiled links to research and resources for you to dig into. Or you can contact us, and we will walk you through it all, breaking the numbers down for you into bite size pieces. Sign Up here to answer “6 Questions To Unlock Your Concept” as well as receive free content, and opportunities for more info, insights, and inspiration. Physical Health:

Mental Health:

Time Off (PTO & Sick Leave):

  • Colorado Sick Leave

  • 2021 - Businesses with 16 or more employees

  • 2022 - All businesses

  • Requires employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees, accrued at one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 48 hours per year.

  • Colorado Paid Family Leave

  • The measure requires workers and employers to pay into an insurance pool run by the Colorado Department of Labor.

  • Beginning in 2023, workers and employers start paying the “payroll tax” to fund this.

  • Beginning in 2024, workers could apply to the fund to receive pay during time off from work, up to $1,100 per week.

  • Workers are eligible after they’ve earned $2,500 at their job.

  • Businesses with fewer than 10 employees can choose not to participate and companies that already offer comparable paid time off for new babies or illnesses are exempt.

  • PTO (Paid Time Off)

Creative Amenities / Non-Traditional Benefits:

Andrew Parr, Angry Olive Consulting's Founder and Best Served Creative’s CHO, is a restaurant and hospitality industry leader with over 25 years of experience including consulting, project management, restaurant operations and talent acquisition. His education includes a BA in Psychology and History from the University of Wisconsin along with a JD from Hamline University School of Law.

Andrew was born and raised in Milwaukee, WI, and currently resides in Denver with his wife Jody and their dog Cooper. Andrew is a Past President of the Board of Directors for the Scleroderma Foundation – Rocky Mountain Chapter.

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