I am not lost…

April 1, 2016

Tales from the Café: High Turnover Rate

Time: Thursday, 3:49 pm

“Yesterday was Meghan’s last day,” Autumn said, leaning back against the counters in front of our coffee pots. It’s the height of the lull between lunch and dinner, and we’re each waiting on something before we can move on to our next task.

“Yeah, I know.” I sighed. “And I guess James from back of house is gone now too. Wondered why I hadn’t seen him lately.”

“Well, and you heard about Maia too, right?” My expression must have said it all, because she continued. “She put in her two weeks the other day.”

“Are you serious?” My eyes widened. “Jeez, everyone’s leaving.”

It’s not uncommon for there to be a high turnover rate in employees for food service, but I guess I’d never really seen it all that much before now. Between the constantly changing staff and the inevitable adjustment period when a new staff member comes, the crew (myself included) seemed to be dragging a little bit more than usual. (This had not escaped the managers’ eyes, as I’d been notified recently. I’d tasked myself to step up my game.)

But I had to admit, it was hard to push yourself when it seemed like every time you turned around, someone was jumping ship. I could see the “we’re hiring!” sign in the doorway, and I’d seen a slow trickle of interviews come in, matched by the occasional “do you have an application?” question from a customer. Alternately, with the old guard staff fading into the distance, it was all the most important to step up and make sure that the customers didn’t see the edges weakening, and if nothing else, I was committed to making sure the customers had a good time of it here.

“I know, right?” Autumn and Maia were friends, so I wasn’t surprised that she’d be the one to tell me. “There’s like no one left.”

“More hours for us, I guess?”My lips twitched up in a desperate attempt to make light of the situation. “I hope we can find some more servers soon, though.”

“I think I heard James and Zöe talking about a new hire the other day,” Autumn added, looking out the door toward the cleared-out parking lot. “Don’t know anything else though.”

“We’ll keep our hopes up, I guess.” I’d been flipping through my internal Rolodex of contacts for weeks now, trying to think of anyone I knew who was looking for a job. I’d come up empty each time. Served me right for being such an introvert; my social circle outside of work was tiny. “But hey, Becky and Andrew came back, yeah? Not everyone leaves forever.”

Autumn laughed. “Sure, that’s true. Not everyone leaves forever.” The brewer clicked off, and Autumn straightened up to move the teas she’d been brewing for iced tea off to the counter.

I walked over to the door, peering outside at the sky, trying to get a feel for the weather. Looks like it might rain. I should go make sure the patio’s ready for that.

…Not everyone leaves forever. Here’s hoping that’s true, but let’s hope for some new faces as well.

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