The real cost of neglecting restaurant health and performance.

Restaurants are managing a massive retention problem right now. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone in the industry since the average tenure of a restaurant employee in the industry is 4.5 years.

Many restaurant owners look at scheduling, pay, upward movement, and better training as a way to boost retention rates in their businesses. And these are all excellent ways to improve the retention rates. But there is one factor that is left out when we look at retention in restaurants.


Managing the health/performance of your team

Working in food service is physically demanding of the body. Over time, surviving an 8-12 hour shift that leaves you feeling exhausted by the end is going to take its toll. Repetitive strain injuries, chronic fatigue, and burnout are going to start to build up from this onslaught of physical exhaustion. Since these conditions don’t happen over night, they go unreported until they hit a tipping point. Over time, your star employees can’t function or maintain their performance due to the physical demands placed on their body.

According to Worksafe BC, 19.11% of all injuries that result in time loss are caused by fatigue or exhaustion in employees over the age of 25. That’s a pretty shocking statistic. What is even more interesting is that the top source of injuries is related to the working surface and the bodily motions that the worker performs. The cost to insurance premiums for an employer can be astronomical and taking the time to manage these preventable problems is going to reduce costs for the business.


According to Worksafe BC, 19.11% of all injuries that result in time loss are caused by fatigue or exhaustion in employees over the age of 25.

The costs go even deeper though. A study found that fatigued employees cost a business up to $405 per employee per year. How many times have you seen an employee work a closing shift and then open the next day? Yes, that employee is a rock star for helping the team out but is their performance going to match an employee with a little bit more rest?

These costs can be related directly to the health and performance of your team members. The largest cost is the compounding effects of losing a skilled team member and the time it takes to get a new person up to par. It was seen that the costs to lose and employee and recruit a new one is $5,864 per employee


This number was calculated by the Center for Hospitality Research by Cornell University. Fortunately they broke down all the costs for this number:

  • Three percent Pre-departure: $176

  • 20 Percent Recruiting: $1,173

  • 11 Percent Selection: $645

  • 14 Percent Orientation & Training: $821

  • 52 Percent Productivity Loss: $3,049

It is estimated that the average restaurant establishment will spend $146,600 annually on employee turnover!

What can we do to support our employees?

I am starting to wonder how many employees left the industry due to fatigue and exhaustion. I wonder how many times we have heard an employee say “I just can’t do this anymore” because they were so exhausted from their job.

Restaurants don’t function without their employees. Looking at the industry and not seeing the connection between the bottom line and employee exhaustion is going to continue to create costs for your business. Don’t neglect the human side of your teams because they are what creates the value for your restaurant.

That being said, I think we are ready to make a change. It can be difficult to find out what solutions could work for you because employees wellness programs are often focused on general health solutions. A specific industry like a restaurants is going to need something more specialized to see a return for their business.

Don’t worry I have you covered. Balanced Life is all about improving restaurant business performance via employee health solutions. I thought the best way to do that is through education and resources for your team members. The Restaurant Portal is the platform just for this.

The Restaurant Portal:

A one stop shop with resources and articles all around feeling and performing better in a restaurant. It updates with 5 new resources each month. We focus on real performance factors in restaurants to reduce pain and fatigue, keeping your employees performing better. Supported employees stay with their employers longer and have a lower chance of injury and burnout.

I thought I would give you a taste of what is available. Check out a few of the resources on the platform:

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See something you like? Fill out this form and I will send them all to you.

Retention may be a growing concern in restaurants. But I know in an adaptive and creative industry we are going to find ways to make this problem a thing of the past!