6 Ways to Reward Your Hardworking Restaurant Staff *

Reward your staff to improve employee morale.

Did you know the benefits of team building are far reaching?

When you have a restaurant with high employee morale, that trickles down to your customers. That in turn creates loyal customers and improved profits. (tweet this)

The benefits to you and your restaurant start with great employee benefits. Working day to day in the restaurant business is tough work both physically and emotionally.

By rewarding your staff, you build a strong business that continues to grow on the strength of your team.

Everyone appreciates a good thumbs up. Here are six ways to reward your hardworking restaurant staff.

#1: Celebrate Birthdays

You can do this on the person’s actual birthday, or you can have a birthday month celebration for all the birthdays in one month.

Either make them a cake or buy a cake and put it in your break room. Let everyone know it’s the person’s birthday and their special day.

You can also throw in a small gift as another token of your appreciation.

This is a great team building exercise and provides something for your staff to look forward to on an ongoing basis.

#2: Provide Concert Tickets

Combine this incredible employee benefit with goal setting.

One idea would be to base the free concert tickets on the best employee attendance.

For example, you would offer the tickets to the employee who showed up on time and ready to work the most times in one month.

Restaurant employees are notorious for being late and calling in sick. Reward your team members’ loyalty with free concert tickets.

You’ll find this leaves your restaurant in great shape with staffing as well. Do just make sure it’s a concert they want to see.

#3: Offer Matching Tips

This is definitely an intense way to reward your hardworking restaurant staff.

Because it’s costly, you don’t want to do this all the time. Once per month is a good option.

So, on this one day, offer to reward your restaurant staff by matching one team member’s tips for the day.

This is a great way to not only build your team and employee morale, but it’s a friendly competition for your staff. It encourages them to offer the highest quality of service in order to get the highest number of tips.

#4: Give Them Swag Bags

This is a great idea when you’re onboarding new team members. Give them a basket/bag filled with branded items such as T-shirts, hats, fleece jackets, masks, and aprons.

Not only does this make them feel welcomed, it’s also great marketing.

Occasionally, throughout the year and at the holidays, you can provide smaller swag bags for your team members.

For example, if several members of your staff had to deal with a particularly difficult customer, or if there were several really busy shifts in a row, hand out swag bags.

This might be a small bag with some candy, movie gift certificate, or small gift card.

Consider this expense part of your marketing budget. Remember that happy staff equals happy customers. A restaurant with high employee morale is one that provides great customer service.

Great customer service starts with happy team members.

#5: Have Team Parties

Everyone likes free food. Several times throughout the year, schedule time for a party with your team.

This can be challenging for a restaurant, but your customers are sure to understand if you give them enough notice.

For example, you might close early on a weekday night when you aren’t as busy. Bring in dinner for your team from another local restaurant or caterer so they aren’t working on their special day.

Treat them as well as you would your customers. This gives them a place to get to know one another outside the work environment. They can relax and connect with one another which is a great way to solidify your team.

You can have these team parties anytime, but don’t forget to throw them a few holiday parties as well. Even though giving up time during December isn’t a great idea for your restaurant, consider having your holiday party in January when things really slow down.

The goal is to get creative and make time for your team members. Celebrate their hard work and let them know how much you appreciate them.

#6: Name a Menu Item After Team Members

Finally, our last way to reward hardworking restaurant staff is to name a menu item after them.

Now, this might be a permanent drink or food item on your menu. Or it might be a monthly or weekly special that you name after a team member.

You can also get super creative with your employee named specials. Simply challenge your chefs, waitstaff, or bartenders to come up with their own twist on one of your menu items.

Then, create a competition around these dishes and either let your employees or your customers choose.

This instantly makes them feel proud to be mentioned on your menu. What’s more, they are sure to head to their own social media platforms to highlight your dish.

So, this is a win-win for both of you.

Final Thoughts

It’s imperative you notice when employees are doing something right or going above and beyond in the workplace.

Now that you have six ways to reward your hardworking staff, it’s time to put your plan in place.

Show your appreciation through team building activities and positive reinforcement. You’ll find this instantly improves your employee retention. It ultimately encourages your team to provide excellent customer service as well. (tweet this)

Positive reinforcement not only increases productivity, but it also enhances morale. Team building activities reward your entire staff for a job well done. These activities also encourage teamwork and camaraderie.

Since employee turnover is high in the restaurant industry and can cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars each year, you can see how rewarding your team can also help you save money.

To conclude, don’t underestimate the power of the thank you. While this is a relatively small gesture, it’s easy to do, and it lets your employees know that you noticed.

You can send your thank you through text message, email, a handwritten note, a sign on your team bulletin board, or even just in passing.

Bottom line, reward your hardworking restaurant staff, and you’ll have better employee retention and better customer service.


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