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These states are great for servers, but how about employers?

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A recent study revealed which states provide the best and worst livelihoods for restaurant servers. A separate piece of research computes the states where restaurants are faring the best and worst in guest traffic. Yet another lists the biggest winners and losers in front-of-house staff turnover. If those three rankings are combined into one, do the heavens and hells of employers align with those of employees?

Sort of, human resources researcher TDn2K found in mashing up the data for Restaurant Business. It used the findings of three research concerns: Its own People Report, which collects detailed stats on restaurant human resources; Black Box Intelligence, a sister division that tracks restaurant traffic and sales; and TSheets, a holding of the QuickBooks accounting group.

The top three states for server compensation—Connecticut, Maine and Vermont—scored correspondingly high on the inverse ranking of states by employee turnover (third, seventh and fifth, respectively), though not perfectly so, TDn2K found in its analysis.

The correlation to traffic was not as strong. The three best places for servers to work finished 25th, fourth and 11th on Black Box’s ranking of the states with the most positive changes in guest traffic.

Bad pay and discouraging traffic trends seemed to have a stronger connection. The three worst states for servers—Tennessee, Wisconsin and Nebraska—were all among the 15 worst in traffic trends (42nd, 48th and 35th, respectively).

“Is it worth it to be one of those top-paying markets?” asks Victor Fernandez, VP of insights and knowledge for TDn2K.  “If you pay more, does that mean you have an effect on people?

“A lot of the top five have lower turnover rate,” Fernandez continues.  A number of factors figure into those rates, but “maybe there is enough of a connection to say, yes, if you’re paid more, you’re likely to stay longer.”

Best states for serversFOH TurnoverRankTraffic chng.Rank
Connecticut77.8%3(1.5%)25
Maine82.371.34
Vermont78.75(0.5)11
Florida98.721(1.2)20
Minnesota97.119(2.4)39
Worst states for serversFOH TurnoverRankTraffic chng.Rank
Tennessee128.1%44(2.8%)42
Wisconsin111.333(6.2)48
Nebraska91.814(1.9)35
North Carolina123.341(1.9)32
Wyoming135.345(1.6)27

Sources: TSheets, People Report, Black Box Intelligence

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