Firstly, it’s worth exploring what the current pool looks like. If you subtract managers, owners, and operators, most restaurant employees fall between the ages of 16–25. The average age of total restaurant workers is about 29, but guest-facing employees tend to be younger. As do the people prepping food and keeping the kitchen operational.
7shifts’ study data broke down as:
- 51 percent are servers/bartenders
- 22 percent are cooks
- 8 percent are hosts/hostesses
- 13 percent are other (cashier, barback, busser, etc.)
Let’s look at the employee wage stats.
- 44 percent of restaurant employees report making between $11–$15 per hour
- 33 percent make between $6–$10 per hour
- Only 16 percent of restaurant employees make a base of under $5 per hour, and 94 percent of these are servers or bartenders who make up the rest of their income through tips.
7shifts used the oft-cited Herzberg’s theory of motivation to start this discussion about workplace satisfaction.
This is explained in two ways: One, hygiene factors, defined as essential for motivation but not leading to long-term satisfaction. They prevent dissatisfaction yet do not lead to direct satisfaction in themselves. Things like pay, tips/bonuses/company policies.
The second are motivational factors, which are achieved in addition to hygiene factors and result in long-term satisfaction. Notes such as recognition, achievement, growth, responsibility, and the meaningfulness of work.
Using the two factors as a guidelines, 7shifts tackled the state of restaurant employee happiness. What it found: Despite high turnover rates, most employees reported being very happy at work across the board—an eight out of 10 on the overall happiness scale. More than 30 percent of restaurant employees reported a nine or 10.
Across all job types, engagement factors were essential. Training, workplace technology, communication, management, and coworkers ranked as the most impactful culprits for satisfaction.
An anonymous respondent said, “I believe that if the managers put as much time as they do in the workplace, engaging with their employees, the restaurant would be so much better and would receive more customers.”