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How to Keep Restaurant Employees Motivated


The best way to keep restaurant employees motivated to do well at their jobs is to keep them happy. Here are five tips on the best ways to motivate, inspire and support restaurant employees.

Be Clear and Direct with Good Training

Let them know what you want them to do. People are not as complex as we sometimes make them out to be. Most of the time, restaurant staff will do exactly what is asked of them, but they need to be told clearly and concisely.

Communication is a huge asset for anybody, but especially managers. Often, managers will feel they have to explain procedures to employees repeatedly. Still, the reality is that they are saying different things to different staff, and staff are communicating partial directions to one another.

Another trap many managers fall into is never telling staff what is expected of them and expecting them to do it well anyway.

The most important step to success, both in front-of-house and kitchen, is to provide proper training time and training materials that staff can refer to when they are learning the ropes.

Training is also not a one-time event. Training should be ongoing to provide senior staff refreshers and fill in gaps for new staff. Co-learning is also an important part of staff cohesion. Plus, these can be turned into a light and fun team-building event that makes employees proud and leads into our next tip.

Give Them an Incentive

Ensuring safe conditions and good working equipment should be the bare minimum expectation for what managers ensure for staff.

The best managers and owners should look at ways that make coming to work fun for employees and where the restaurant and the food are something they take pride in as if it were their own creations.

Incentives can be titles, like “Employee of the Month” or “Star Cook.” Incentives can also be fostered through competition, where the server with the most sales gets a prize.

One great option is an achievement ladder that is open to all employees where every employee who sells twenty bottles of wine in one month gets a free dessert. Achievement-based incentives like this are great because employees are not competing for just one prize.

Create Longevity

Another important incentive program to consider is a longevity bonus. Attrition rates are, of course, extremely high within restaurants, particularly in the kitchen.

The best way to keep your customers happy is to know exactly what to expect and rely on knowing that they will get it from your restaurant every time: consistency and reliability.

The easiest way of building consistency and reliability is by retaining staff to do things in the same way continuously. When new staff is hired, they are retrained, typically by their superiors, and when the trainers are constantly changing, the information in training is always subtly changing.

And Remember to Build Them Up

Never tear down your employees. There are so many reasons why this is a no-brainer, but the biggest is just that they will find small ways (even unconsciously) of getting back at you for making them feel horrible.

People who are treated badly mistreat other people. This means staff will not be on their best behavior with customers, but they will also lose their temper and belittle one another, creating a huge chain of negativity that will spread like a sickness through your business.

Take opportunities to let your staff know when they are doing a good job. When mistakes are made, offer constructive criticism. If you are frustrated, take a break before talking to the staff member.

The incentive programs listed above are a great way to show employees they matter, but smaller options exist. Consider offering weekly staff meals, which can also be a good way of letting front-of-house staff try menu items to improve their sales techniques.

Even when finances are tight, a compliment or a positive word can go a long way.

Give Them the Right Tools To Do the Job Well

At the end of a long shift, the last thing front-of-house staff wants to do is sit around counting cash, balancing their credit slips, and trying to do the math for how much to tip support staff and the kitchen.

Provide your staff with a tool like Tiphaus to calculate tip sharing and pooling. The employee app also keeps staff happy because there is transparency in their hard-earned money. Tools such as this can be customized and provide managers with payroll information and advanced reporting.

Keeping employees motivated comes down to keeping them happy. Check out Tiphaus to find out how to give your staff the right tools to get the job done.


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