According to a recent Gallup poll, about 71% of all employees in America are unenthusiastic about their work. They don't volunteer their time, they aren't satisfied with their work culture, and they don't put much effort in. You can break this down even further by saying that roughly 50% are bored and putting in the minimum amount of effort, while there is a significant minority that is actively trying to get fired. This poor attitude can cost your restaurant in a number of ways.
Disengaged Employees Are More Likely To Quit
High employee turnover is a major drain on any restaurant because of how much time and resources have to go into training a new person and the fact that the newbie is less productive than someone who is experienced. This turnover costs $1800 per hourly employee and far more for managers, as the National Restaurant News reports. As Southern New Hampshire University points out, disengaged employees are very likely to leave at the first opportunity. Why should they stick around through hard times when they aren't happy even in the good times.
Disengaged Employees Are Less Productive
A Gallup poll found that poor engagement costs U.S companies between $450 and $550 billion dollars every year. Why? Because disengaged employees do either the bare minimum that keeps them employed or actively do less than required. They don't participate in meetings, they don't care about improving how they perform, and they generally just can't wait until they get off their shift and go home. They sap productivity.
Disengaged Employees Provide Poor Customer Service
A red flag that an employee isn't interested in their work is that customers complain about their lackluster performance. Yes, there are some customers that are hard to please, but most are fair. What's more, many customers don't complain when they get cruddy service. They just don't return. Your disengaged employee doesn't care about that, and will continue to avoid helping customers whenever possible.
A big chunk of increasing employee engagement is in training. For instance, NRN highlighted a company called Pal's Sudden Service who had a turnover rate that is less than a third of the national average for restaurants and attributed the low turnover to their rigorous hiring and training practices. There is a strong correlation between a company training their employees to exacting standards and how invested the employee feels in the work. After all, the training means that employees are being acknowledged for doing a good job regularly, and they don't feel like they are being set up to fail. Probably the biggest part of that engagement comes from management acting like the tasks you do on the job are important enough to merit thorough training, which encourages employees to feel the same way.
Another big part of how employees feel about their work is how often they are truly acknowledged at work. People want to feel like their contributions matter and that management wants to help them get better. Your best employees actively want to hear how they are doing and how they can improve. Restaurants that both train well and give a lot of feedback improve their bottom line.