How can F&B outlets attract new hires & retain existing staff?

sabrina k

sabrina k

COVID-19 Safe Management restrictions have eased with countries adopting a COVID-endemic policy stance. Food establishments have fully opened up as a result. Many countries have also begun accepting travellers and the flight prices have increased considerably as the demand for flight tickets continually increases. Adding on to the holiday seasons that families were unable to travel these past few years, “revenge travel” has been taking place in the recent months. Families are now planning their year-end travel and it is essential for businesses, the F&B establishments, retail outlets, hotels and resorts etc., to prepare themselves for the visitors coming for vacation. 

In Malaysia alone, thousands of food establishments exist. In malls, hotels, wherever you go, there is always an extensive ray of food, drinks and desserts you can choose from. Besides the well-loved eating haunts in Penang, Malacca, Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur, there are also famous food chain establishments you may have heard of in Malaysia, including Secret Recipe, Pelita Nasi Kandar, PappaRich, Old Town White Coffee, Sushi King, Manhattan Fish Market and many more!

Many establishments have difficulty finding & maintaining hires

With these establishments running, job opportunities open, but why is it that many of these places have a hard time attracting new hires or retaining their existing staff? This is a common problem faced by countries around the world and unfortunately, restaurants are known to have a high turnover rate.

How can you fix this problem and work towards attracting new hires as well as retaining the existing ones in your F&B outlets? 

What are the reasons for people leaving the F&B industry?

Some of the reasons for the high turnover includes:

1. Hires appear to be short-term staff made up of students

Jobs in food establishments are one form of job that never runs out. There is always a need for staff waiting at tables, managing the cashier, chefs, washers, cleaners and so on. Even for outlets that do not have dine-in options, they still require food packers to help pack the food that has been ordered.

These jobs are typically jobs that do not require prior experience nor higher education to be qualified. Hence, many students go to food establishments to earn extra income during their holidays. These students come with the intention of having short term work and thus, contributes to the high turnover.

2. Possible mistreatment of workers

Mistreatment of staff is another factor to consider. Many establishments condone the behaviour of managers who speak harshly towards their staff or treat them with little respect when in fact, every worker deserves to be treated as an equal. In some cases, workers are not given the break they deserve or are spoken down to. 

This is a problem that can easily get out of hand when customers see it before their very eyes or hear of it through social media. Businesses should rectify these issues if they exist to avoid the situation where one rotten apple spoils the barrel. 

Professional work ethic courses should be reintroduced to employees at least once every 3-4 months to ensure that every staff member is aware and reminded of the proper behaviour they should put on at work. 

Some might disagree but customers who treat staff with no respect should also be dealt with accordingly. Gone are the days where customers are kings. We now work and walk towards treating everyone with the respect that they deserve as humans.

3. Improper management

Image is a crucial aspect to maintain when it comes to restaurants, cafes and any establishments out there as people are continuously forming new perceptions of what they see by seconds. 

As a customer or staff, improper management can cause people to avoid coming to such places. A messy and unmanaged establishment causes unrest and people will start forming negative associations with the business. 

In order to maintain and build positive imagery in customers and staff, businesses have to ensure company policies, SOPs and the systems of their F&B outlets, are properly delivered and understood by existing staff and new hires. That way, instructions to follow are clear and staff can carry their duties out competently, leading to happy customers. A place with good management will eventually lead to higher reviews.

4. Unprepared for task

Feelings of unpreparedness do not only exist in potential hires but also in existing staff. Research on Malaysians showed that many feel that businesses and organisations are not providing proper or enough training prior to the commencement of jobs. 

As a result, potential hires are hesitant to apply when they feel unqualified for the job they are about to take on. Sometimes, these hires are also taken aback as they are not prepared beforehand to face difficult customers, handle peak periods and all the challenging scenarios they may encounter when carrying out their job.

The workload of F&B workers is more than what meets the eye and hires are not aware of the actual load that they will be carrying. By conducting training beforehand, teaching on basic things such as the right body language to have when dealing with customers, getting out and manoeuvring around the difficult scenarios they may find themselves in, are simple things that could change the rate at which your staff is leaving. Here is an example of how you can deliver training for handling difficult customers.

What can you do to attract new hires and retain the existing ones?

  1. Provide training, learning & development and upskilling opportunities. A job is much more appealing to potential hires when there are skills and certifications they can pick up whilst working with the business. For existing hires, upskilling opportunities are attractive as they can grow and upgrade themselves while still on the job.

    Upskilling is also very important for the older workers
    who work in the F&B industry as they can learn to keep up with new systems, digital trends and operate new machinery without being overruled by the new generation and losing their jobs. Not to forget mentioning, it is much easier and time saving for businesses to upskill their existing workers rather than spending lots of time searching for new ones.

  2. Onboarding and training has to keep up with the trend as well. The new generation prefers if training is made accessible through online means and much better if accessible through mobile phones. ArcLab’s solution of delivering training modules through SMS and links is a great way to integrate online training which appeals to younger hires while making it easy for the older generation to navigate and access training content.


  3. Go for micro-learning instead of traditional training. Micro learning or in other words, Nano learning, packages training content into small, bite-sized materials, making it easier for people to go through and retain the information learnt. In ArcLab’s modules, we help businesses move their physical training content to small, bite-sized content to the ArcLab platform and transform old boring training to fun and engaging sessions through the use of quizzes, open-ended questions and word unscramble functions.


    Businesses in Malaysia can now attract new hires and retain existing employees easily with ArcLab just like 4Fingers, Ahh-Yum by Kampong Kravers & more. ArcLab solution is a cost and time saving solution allowing fellow businesses to deliver training easily without needing plenty of resources. By saving on training, you can now afford to offer higher wages, making it more appealing to work with your business. 

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Photo by Jeremy Tan, Jay Wennington & Ravin Rau on Unsplash

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