Restaurant turnover rates on the rise, again

Restaurant turnover rates are on the move upward after teasing the industry with plateauing numbers this summer, stoking operators’ concerns over finding talented staff, according to researcher TDn2K.

In June and July, turnover rates for restaurants began to level off, according to the research firm’s most recent Restaurant Industry Snapshot. That turned out to be only a short respite for operators, who saw those rates climb the following month.

In August, limited-service brands reported a 146.2% hourly turnover rate and 49.7% turnover rate for managers, according to TDn2K’s Q3 People Report Workforce Index. For full-service brands, turnover clocked in at 102.8% for hourly staff and 38.5% for management. These stats are painting a gloomy picture for operators, who expect continued recruiting difficulties ahead, according to the research firm.

Still, the turnover rate is not the only metric that could cause hiring managers to break a sweat. September's national unemployment rate of 4.2% marks a 17-year low. Although the correlation between unemployment and restaurant turnover is well documented by TDn2K’s People Report, it’s not a hard rule, according to Victor Fernandez, executive director of insights and knowledge for TDn2K, who noted in the firm's most recent Workforce Index report that regional factors play a role as well. “For example, Kentucky and Mississippi, which are among the states with the highest restaurant hourly turnover rates in the country, both have unemployment rates around 5.3%, well above the national number.”

TDn2K's Restaurant Industry Snapshot uses weekly sales data from 30,000 restaurants and more than 155 brands.

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