Restaurant Employee Engagement in 2022: Statistics You Should Know
The restaurant industry has gone through a lot in the past couple of years. However, research shows that restaurant employee engagement was higher this year than it was last year.
This speaks to the resilience of this community, which matters because employee engagement is directly related to customer service. Prioritizing employee engagement is essential for restaurants that want to increase customer loyalty and provide a brilliant in-person experience.
Engaged employees engage customers
It’s no secret that employee engagement is important in the service industry. High engagement means lower turnover and a better customer experience. Front-of-house staff are face-to-face with customers for hours every day. Depending on how engaged employees are feeling, these interactions can determine whether customers become regulars or never come back again.
Fortunately, employee engagement is on the rise. Through our annual survey on restaurant employee engagement, we found that engagement among restaurant workers increased from last year. 62.5% of employees reported high engagement, and 69.3% said their engagement was up compared to the previous year. Last year, only 40.5% of restaurant workers said that they were highly engaged at work.
Businesses should do everything they can to keep engagement high, including providing better tools, communication, and recognition to their employees.
Make customer service exceptional, not the exception
Fast service, attentive staff, and atmosphere can all affect a customer’s overall experience. Exceptional customer service makes a restaurant shine. It can be the difference between a customer choosing to dine at your restaurant over another.
Like restaurant employee engagement, customer service quality has improved significantly. 65.5% of restaurant workers said the service they provided to customers was very good compared to a lower 46% last year. Employees cited prioritizing customer service and investing in tools, technology, and employee training as the main drivers for this change.
Another factor that can’t be ignored is where we are now with the pandemic. With difficulties such as staffing shortages and operational limitations, it’s easy to understand why customer service quality suffered as well. Now that the initial adjustment period has stabilized, restaurants have shifted their focus back to making customer service a priority.
Tools: quality over quantity
Tools help restaurant workers do their jobs effectively, and 85.1% say they have the tools they need to succeed. These can include software or hardware: POS systems, digital menu boards, online reservations, mobile ordering, and self-service kiosks.
Employees most commonly use four to seven tools per day (43.9%), while employees using one to three tools come in at a close second (39%).
Restaurant workers overwhelmingly feel that they have the necessary tools they need to perform their jobs well. It’s important to note that none of the data suggests that more tools are better; rather, enough of the right tools (that are effective and practical) are what make a difference in engagement for restaurant workers.
Digital communication technologies
Good workplace communication increases productivity and helps employees feel connected. Back-of-house signage, mobile app solutions, and email are a few ways companies can communicate with their employees.
The top ways companies communicate with their employees are through phone calls and verbally in person. Around half of employees (59.4%) say their employer does very well at communicating with them.
In a world where there is so much communication-related technology available, it’s surprising that restaurants still rely so heavily on phone calls and verbal communication. A study found that 70% of employees reported an improvement in workplace communication when using digital communication tools.
Incorporating more digital tools could improve restaurant employee engagement and up the percentage of those who feel like their employer communicates very well.
Future engagement and commitment
Though current restaurant employee engagement is high, 61.6% of employees said they will likely quit their jobs in the next year. However, this is not because they have low confidence that their companies will succeed. In fact, 83.1% believe that the restaurants they work for will still be around in 5 years. This points to other potential reasons that restaurant employees might not be committed to their roles.
Given this information, employers should do their best to prevent turnover. Recognition can reduce turnover by 31%. Companies should consider investing in employee engagement apps or an employee recognition platform to keep employees feeling engaged and appreciated.
These restaurant worker statistics show that restaurants are generally doing well in terms of keeping employees engaged, providing stellar customer service, and ensuring their employees have the tools they need to succeed.
However, communication methods could be modernized and turnover reduced. Incorporating digital communication tools and some kind of employee engagement platform would help make employees feel more connected and engaged.
For a more comprehensive view of restaurant worker statistics, check out our eBook, 2022 State of Deskless Work – Restaurant.