Show Your Restaurant Employees Appreciation
Your restaurant staff is the face of the business, the go-between for your brand and customers, and an integral part of operations. It’s important for your employees to have the tools they need to succeed at their posts and, hopefully, stick around for the long term.
The industry is habitually plagued by high employee turnover, which can be somewhat offset by making sure your staff is happy, feels safe and respected in the workplace, and understands just how much you appreciate all their hard work. We’ve already written about generating internal employee motivation, but what’s the best way to show your employees how much their bosses have noticed and appreciate their continued effort?
Throw a Party
Though the winter holidays are behind us now, special events are a great way to get your employees together in their free time. Celebrate a milestone, holiday, birthday or any other good excuse for an old-fashioned party. It’s especially nice for staff members who may not live near or otherwise be able to see their loved ones; instead they can spend it with their restaurant family, tightening the bond between employees which spurs them on to greater productivity.
Find safe, fun activities to bond over and games to play that help the team get to know each other on a more personal level—have a good time doing it.
Make a Special Meal
Providing a full, delicious dinner shows that you spent time and effort to give them a nice evening and another chance to bond. If you host dinner at the restaurant and have your chefs pitch in to cook up something special, employees can simultaneously forge a deeper respect for the cuisines they serve guests and even make better recommendations on the job now that they’ve had a chance to taste-test the menu.
If there are food allergies or other dietary restrictions then make personalized dishes to accommodate that and demonstrate recognition of and care for their individual needs. If you cook off the menu to cater to personal favorites, you’ll even potentially find new dishes to add to the menu that could become the next best-seller. Group dinner is also a great chance to clear out some unused inventory before it goes to waste.
Gifts Speak Louder
Holidays are the perfect chance to show your appreciation directly through appropriately-themed presents, gift cards or cold hard cash. In the winter, for example, Secret Snowmans and white elephant exchanges are often huge hits, or choose something simple like a gift card and bottle of wine for everyone. It also never hurts to stick with an old fashioned end-of-year bonus.
Some restaurants allow their employees to eat free on their breaks which is not only a nice gesture and a perk that could sway them from another job, but also helps keep their spirits and energy up during a long shift, especially when it’s packed for the holidays.
Not everyone will be enthused to work over important holidays when they expect to spend time with family. If you can’t afford a fancy party, New Year bonuses or better base wages, then create a schedule that best accommodates the greatest possible amount of staff. A lot of restaurants hire seasonal workers so their year-round roster can have a much-needed break.
Consider closing on the actual holiday or at least the night of, but if you need the business, then at least give advanced restaurant scheduling software a try to help give as many employees as possible some days off to see their loved ones. Ask for time-off requests a month or two in advance so you have room to shuffle everyone around and hire temporary workers if need be.
In the meantime, show flexibility and understanding for those working during important days of the year and provide a support network by encouraging deeper interpersonal relationships amongst coworkers. A great staff can lean on each other on the service floor and behind the scenes. The more at-ease and confident they feel at work, the higher their spirits and the more ready they’ll be to greet the day.
Of course, nothing beats providing stellar compensation that your competition can’t beat. If you’re looking for alternatives though, once-in-a-while acts of kindness are a good place to start.
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