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10 Tips on How to Motivate Employees in the Restaurant Industry

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10 Tips on How to Motivate Employees in the Restaurant Industry

Subject: Staff Happy = Restaurant Success

A team of happy employees is always more productive than a sad one. An efficient, well-trained and motivated restaurant employee can take the customer service of your restaurant to a higher level. One can see the contentment, not only in their behavior but also in the efficacy and speed of work. This article delves into how you can ensure a highly efficient team by motivating them. 


Like all workplaces, the contentment of the employees shows in a restaurant, perhaps more so as the industry depends on hospitality. One miss and people will know something is amiss. So make sure that your team is happy with the way they have to work and the way things are run at the restaurant. If an employee is content, he will do his best to offer impeccable service. When a staff member is content, he will consider the restaurant’s image as his own image and will not tarnish it by any means. On the contrary, he will put in every bit of effort to improve the brand image. Compare this with a situation when your employee does not like the work culture, is sad and does not wish to continue working at your restaurant. The result will be slow customer service, poor behavior with the guests at the restaurant and an ultimate loss of face of the entire team, as well as of the restaurant. As an owner, your aim in the business should be to let the employees take care of the business like the auto pilot mode option in the flight for business. The day you can create the environment, no one can stop your business from success. Good investors always want to see the environment before they invest.


Motivate Restaurant Staff and Enhance Productivity

I have established that keeping your restaurant staff motivated is important for its productivity. Now, it is time to check out how you can achieve this in your business. Try the following tips. 

1. Train Your Restaurant Staff

Have in place a proper staff orientation and training program for every employee in your restaurant. Most restaurant mishaps occur because of poorly trained staff members. Thus, before you send out your employees to the boxing ring, make them ready to face the upcoming ordeals.  

You might think that since you have hired an experienced employee, you need not train him. Your staff should understand what result you are trying to achieve here. This approach is not 100% correct as every establishment has its own set of policies and culture. Introduce him to those so that he feels like a part of the operations and promote his confidence. Handling special devices, learning signature recipes and a particular way of doing things are all part of the training routine.

Employee training should not end at the initiation. A professional evolves with time and experience. Hence, regular training sessions also keep employees motivated by boosting their confidence and showing them the bigger picture. Sponsor them to wine events or chef skill classes if they want, since the result will come back to you. When your staff members look beyond their roles and witness the impact their work has on the restaurant’s image and goodwill, they feel significant and try to work better.


2. Give them the working conditions they deserve

While focussing on the comforts and amenities of the customers, restaurants often forget the employees. This is one of the major reasons behind the high turnover rate in the industry. The job of a restaurant employee is all about standing for long hours, which is a tedious experience, both mentally and physically. 

If you want to stop the movement of employees out from your eatery, provide them with a proper place to rest and relax between shifts. Arrange for proper ventilation of the kitchen so that the staff can cook comfortably. You can even ask them every month: what can the company do to improve its productivity?


3. How about some fun?

The proverbial all work and no play is real. Take away the relaxation time from their schedule and they will work like zombies. We have already discussed adding a place to rest between shifts. To that, you can add a television set and games to make sure that they do not feel overburdened by work. This measure helps them unwind and refocus. It is a way to tell them that you care about their well-being and happiness. Creating a small gap during the work is crucial to refuel their energy. You can even create fitness activities for your staff. Example: Pay half of their gym membership fees.

Have you thought about team-building exercises? You can arrange for team outs multiple times a year so that employees have some fun playing bowling, paintball or rock climbing. Such group activities outside the workplace assist in creating bonds and better teamwork.


4. Create fixed shifts and a proper overtime policy

Pushing your employees to the limit can be hazardous as overworked employees are too tired and exhausted to give their best. Create fixed shifts for your employees and let them rest between two consecutive shifts.

If you are making your employees work overtime, compensate them generously. Each hour spent at your business leads to the direct business of the restaurant. So, make sure that they too get a share of your profits and do not become dissatisfied by your ignorance of their plight.


6. Let them have a say

Do you involve your long-time employees and managers when making a decision that affects them? For instance, you can give them the option to choose their availability. Begin using employee scheduling software rather than paper and pen or even Excel sheets to facilitate your employees engagement in the procedure and thus promote transparency. If they can trade shifts and coordinate working hours among themselves, nothing can be better than that. They will understand that you trust them and will deliver their best performance. Besides, it lifts the headache off you by converting the whole scheduling procedure into a cooperative one. 


7. Boost morale with incentive programs

Keep your employees happy and productive with a motivating incentive program. Recognition and incentives encourage your staff to perform well in the workplace. Awarding employees with titles like  “Star Server” and “Employee of the Month,” and monetary rewards, increases their morale, which results in better performance. 


8. Exhibit a crystal clear hierarchy

Like all other industries, the restaurant industry has a hierarchy. Maintain a clear hierarchy so that your staff can understand what their next designation would be. Low-level jobs are often not motivating. But, if you let your employees know that better performance can promote them to a senior level, you will be on the gaining end.


9. Proffer a longevity bonus

The turnover  rate in the restaurant is quite high when compared to other industries. To nip the issue in the bud, you can start a longevity bonus in which an employee will get a monetary reward or a raise after he stays for a particular time-span. A bonus or a one-time reward may sound like a lot of money, but you will end up saving a lot more. 

Keep in mind, hiring new employees, training them and getting them accustomed to your restaurant costs a lot. Hence, the less money and time you have to invest in replacing departing employees, the better.


10. Set goals clearly 

Tell your employees what you want from them. You should not expect them to do much unless you clarify the business’ objectives. This helps them to stay focussed and work towards achieving those objectives. 


Bonus Points:

* Communicate with the staff

Communication is the biggest key in this game. Since most mid-level and small-level restaurants hire on word-of-mouth and referrals, it is imperative that the employees are known to each other and come from the same location, community or even the same family. Under such circumstances, a slight feeling of dissatisfaction can easily cascade to the other employees. Therefore, keep track of everything that goes on by communicating with each employee. Conduct meetings regularly and take updates from the team leaders or managers. On citing an issue, instead of shrugging your responsibilities or glaring at the employees, try to solve it.


* Compliment and criticize when necessary

Give feedback in a proper way without insulting your employees. Have control over your patience and give regular feedback so that your words do not come as a surprise to the employees. When an employee commits an error, point it out, But at the same time, do not forget to identify the solution and show the way to correct it. While constructive criticism is important, appreciating good work is also a key factor in encouraging employees.

At the end of the day, your restaurant staff handles the customers. Any type of discontentment among the employees will manifest in their service quality. Hence, keeping your employees happy and driven is essential to the success of your business. Utilize these tips and let us know your experience.


* Give good food

Restaurant employees serve guests tasty and delicious meals. Ironically, their own meals at the restaurant might be inedible. You may not offer the same grade of food to the employees as you offer to the guests, But, you can at least try to give them wholesome and healthy food. 

A well-fed employee will not resort to theft or pilferage from the inventory. Additionally, no one can work properly on an empty stomach and soon your unfed employees will lose interest in their work. 


Employees motivation

Author: (Abhi Chauhan - The Restaurant Academy Professor. If Staff is)
Date: 11/08/2021

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