Resonance and Retention: 3 Things QSR Leaders Need to Start Doing Today


Restaurants across the nation are combating what some operators say is the worst labor shortage to date, with QSRs (Quick Service Restaurant) battling it out to hire and retain hourly workers. At the same time, fast food sales increased 3.9% overall in 2020 according to the Delaget 2020 QSR Operational Index report, despite the pandemic, and the trend looks to be continuing into 2021 making a recipe for overtime overages, impacts on the speed of service, and exhausted staff.

So, what do we do? We control the controllable, putting added focus, and dare we say, love, into what’s most important, your people. This can be done in a variety of ways including coaching, identifying efficiency opportunities, feedback, delegating responsibilities, and more!

We’ve outlined the top three things we know can help stabilize and motivate your team of go-getters. These tips will help you build a stellar culture that will keep your employees engaged and fulfilled with their day-to-day work, and strengthen our team relationships during these unprecedented times, and moving forward into the new normal.

3 Resonant Cultures Do These 3 Things – and They Don’t Cost a Thing!

1. Express Gratitude for Your Employees – Genuinely and Often!

While it might seem like a no-brainer, taking time to express your gratitude towards your team is a must and an absolute game-changer for those who have been in the weeds lately. Now is the perfect time to pull up and bring it for your team! Every time a leader does this, it speaks to the culture that they are building – one that’s built on trust, connection, and integrity. And one that, even when times are tough, the focus never shifts from the team.

Activity: Schedule time each week and/or share in-the-moment feedback on what’s going well and the impact. This can be done via authentic compliments, positive attitudes, being solutions-focused, and checking on how things are going outside of work. Positivity, feedback, and gratitude are habits that are easily adopted when modeled by a manager or leader and set the tone for a positive experience while at work.

Pro tip: Buy a dollar-store whiteboard and write a daily motivation or a positive message on the board each day to inspire and get the good vibes flowing throughout your work spaces!


2. Create an Employee Loyalty Program

Go one step further than expressing gratitude and reward your employees for high-performance by implementing as employee loyalty program! Rewarding your employees who go above and beyond will inspire your staff to constantly improve, and help eager and engaged employees to feel recognized resulting in higher retention and team comradery.

Resource: An employee loyalty program is a powerful way to encourage team members to aim higher, while building trust and loyalty and reducing turnover. This is also a great place to highlight and integrate your promotion process to show team members the opportunities and career paths open to them in the restaurant industry.


3. Professional Development: Challenge and Coach to Success!

You are working with generations that thrive off the feedback and are hungry (pun intended) to be challenged and coached. They crave that empowerment and autonomy. This is the key to curating a successful culture that resonant and forward-thinking. After all, your people are your most precious asset. Especially in a time when labor is so scarce.

Activity: Consider asking your employees about their long-term goals – they will love it! It will get them thinking big. Do they want to become a manager or a keyholder? Would they like to pursue a degree or a new career path later down the line? Take a deep dive into your metrics and coach your employees in areas they can improve in and relate your feedback back to some of their long-term goals. Supporting their aspirations and helping them develop while they’re working in your restaurant is crucial to fostering a good managerial relationship – and it will help you meet your key performance metrics as well.


Building an exceptionally good company culture is no easy feat, and it takes time. It is also trickier with today’s labor market, covid, and increasing sales and drive-thru usage. If you are interested in learning more about building and retaining restaurant staff with proven techniques, check out our eBook, How to Build and Retain Restaurant Staff. The eBook is free and outlines core competencies such as hiring, retaining, managing employee theft, firing employees, tracking productivity, and scheduling best practices.

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