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4 Reasons Restaurants Need Mentorship Programs

Whether you’re talking to a seasoned bartender or an executive chef, restaurant industry veterans seem to have one thing in common: at some point in their career, someone was willing to take them under their wing, show them the ropes and help them master the skills you can only learn from real experience on the job.

While this isn’t the only way to move up in your career, having a good mentor in the industry is a great way to be successful. So why don’t more restaurants implement mentorship programs? Mentorship programs give both, the mentor and the mentee, opportunities for growth, and the business as a whole benefits when its staff is involved in ongoing education. Need more convincing? Here are 4 reasons restaurants need mentorship programs.

1. Improve retention rates

According to the National Restaurant Association, turnover rates in the restaurant industry averaged 72.1% in 2020. Although there are various reasons you’re losing staff, two of the primary reasons include poor communication and lack of acknowledgment. A mentorship program gives both parties the space for open communication and ongoing recognition. A productive mentor relationship will make both individuals feel more connected to the business and they will be less likely to quickly move on to the next job.

2. Provide opportunities for ongoing education.

This might be the number one reason restaurants should implement mentorship programs. Entry level employees often come into a restaurant hungry for work and ready to improve. With a mentor, junior level employees are given the opportunity to learn on the job and expand their skillset. This can be done through trainings, advanced certifications, conferences, and more. With more opportunities to grow, employees may also be less likely to leave.

3. Create a supportive company culture.

Mentor relationships offer the individual support that most restaurants, especially large ones, usually can’t provide on their own. The industry is extremely fast paced and giving individual attention to each employee can be near impossible on most days. In a mentorship program, both mentor and mentee can benefit from supporting each other.

4. Mentors develop leadership skills.

Mentorship programs are not just beneficial for the mentees. We know, restaurant life is demanding and adding teaching to the mix requires even more energy. However, teaching can be extremely gratifying. Not only does it increase job satisfaction but it helps to develop leadership skills – which is particularly beneficial if that veteran employee wants to reach a managerial position.


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