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How Toppers Franchisees Improved Their Stores’ Hiring Process and Decreased Turnover
For Jon P. and Jon S. Crowe, reducing their stores' turnover rates started with hiring all-star Team Members.

A couple of months ago, Jon P. Crowe, was analyzing turnover rates. As the co-owner of three Toppers Pizza locations in Omaha, Nebraska alongside his father, Jon S., he had noticed that if annualized, the monthly turnover rates they were seeing would be hovering around 120 percent. The restaurant industry average is around 72 percent.

“For each new Team Member we hire to the Toppers Team, it costs an average of $2,500 between recruiting, interviewing, buying new uniforms, training, paying the trainer and more. When you consider that staggering cost, and the higher-than-normal turnover rate between our three stores, we knew it was time to make a change,” Jon P. said. “One of the biggest challenges any restaurant faces is the constant high turnover of staff. But it doesn’t have to be that way—we had to improve our hiring and decrease spending on turnover.”

According to Jon P., this starts with finding better ways to target and recruit all-star Team Members. When Managers hire people who are simply “good enough,” the quality of life and training of a Team suffers. For Jon P., this meant always aiming high and thinking how a person will fit in with the restaurant culture as a whole. To make this happen, he asked existing Team Members to identify what they care about in fellow Employees. What they came up with was a list of characteristics to measure against during interviews. This includes reliability, punctuality, positive attitude, strong work ethic, self-motivation, care for other Team Members, fit with culture of existing Teams, solution-oriented and open to coaching others.

“If you’re going to spend eight hours a day in the same space as other Team Members, you want them to be with people who they can get along with and share a great work ethic with,” Jon P. said. “The best Employees are those who fully embrace and embody the Toppers culture and are more than willing to meet—and then exceed—your expectations.”

Once the Crowes identified a list of characteristics, they decided to also change the interview process. In an ideal scenario, they would move on from having just one or two interviews before making a hiring decision, to setting up a series of four interviews. The new process now includes a pre-screening phone interview, a one-on-one interview with a hiring Manager, a group interview with the existing Team Members and then a final interview with another Manager.

As the Crowes continue implementing the new hiring process, Jon P., hopes to get their turnover rate down to the industry average of 72 percent, which, he says, would save their three restaurants between $72,000 to $73,000 this year alone.

“Our ultimate goal is to have these changes not only improve operations and cost effectiveness, but to have them make our locations better restaurants to work at,” Jon P. said. “We want our Teams to feel excited about walking into our restaurants every day. We want them to feel proud about being a part of the Toppers Team and to look at us as an employer that they can learn and grow with. We believe these changes will put us on that path.”