Having summer on it’s way is a great reason to feel good and celebrate. People are coming out of winter hibernation to go on vacation, hit the beach and dine out at their favorite restaurant. Happy customers should be met by a restaurant staff that is in equally good spirits. But if your restaurant servers are stressed out and don’t feel appreciated, they won’t enjoy their summer, and neither will your customers. Restaurant employee incentives are essential to keeping your staff happy, engaged and motivated. As a result, you are likely to see happier customers, more profits and more harmony among your staff. Here are some tips on how to motivate your restaurant employees:
1) Know what they want
You cannot begin rewarding your restaurant employees if you don’t know what kind of incentives matter to them. Some ideas for common restaurant employee incentives are cash bonuses, time off, free meals, staff outings, and flexible scheduling. Communicate with your staff to find out what would mean the most to them. Decide for every individual what the best reward will be when you determine they deserve one.
2) Reward attendance and accuracy
Many restaurant managers make the mistake of only rewarding the servers with the highest sales. This can be a huge mistake because you can’t control how much customers are going to order, and this factor often ends up being luck of the draw. Instead, focus restaurant employee incentives on who has the best attendance, who makes the least mistakes on the job and who upsells the most specials.
3) Make their job easier with updated equipment and tools
It’s likely that there is better software and equipment out there to make your staff’s job easier. In turn, your customers will be more satisfied as well. This can apply to scheduling software, POS systems, tablets for servers, etc. When you show that you are willing to make their jobs easier, your staff is likely to be more motivated.
4) Put the focus on the positive as well as the negative
While you need to inform your staff of areas they need to improve on, make sure you are balancing it out by recognizing what areas they have already improved on. At staff meetings, recognize employees for meeting their goals and tell them what their next goal will be. Examples of these goals can be making less mistakes, turning tables faster or arriving to work on time. Offer restaurant employee incentives such as monetary rewards or a more flexible schedule to help motivate them to reach their next goal. Once they see their efforts will be noticed and rewarded, they will feel more encouraged.
5) Ask for your employees’ opinions
Ask your restaurant staff (servers, hostesses, chefs, food runners, bussers, etc.) what their opinions are on improvements that could be made to the restaurant. You can take surveys or hold staff meetings to accomplish this. If their ideas are realistic, put them into action. This will make your employees feel a part of the bigger picture and show them that their opinions matter to you.
6) Recognize the days they need to celebrate
Show that you appreciate your staff with restaurant employee incentives by giving them certain holidays off or days for personal events (such as having family in town, a wedding or the anniversary of the loss of a loved one). Work life balance is key if you want your staff to stick around for the long haul.
Author: Jessica Cody
Jessica Cody, a native of Fairfield County, Connecticut, has a background in online marketing and public relations. Currently, she works at VHMNetwork LLC in the role of Marketing Analyst. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, where she studied Journalism and Political Science. She is also an avid runner with a passion for the outdoors.