Staff Incentives Could Better Your Business!

There is no doubt that finding the best staff for your restaurant is hard. Not only would you like them to share the same values of customer service as you do, but you would like to have people on your team that are passionate, hard working, and knowledgeable.

It’s important to keep in mind that not everyone wants to work in the restaurant biz for the long haul, and many use a restaurant job as a stepping stone to another position in hospitality, or a ‘filler job’ between careers. Whether you’re staffing for lifetime employees or seasonal workers, there are ways that you can maintain a happy crew, while at the same time, making more money for your business!

A reward can go a long way!

Creating healthy competition among staff is always fun, and a great perk here, is that the rewards given don’t have to cost you much. Offering up a prize such as a free meal, or even a night off from silverware duty can be a great motivator for your staff to work slightly harder on any given day.

Ask them to promote a certain food special, and the “winning” server (who sells the most) will enjoy that special at the end of their shift; or encourage the staff to sell the promoted cocktail or wine of the week, and see how far that motivation will take them as they battle to earn a promised bottle of wine after work that evening!

By doing this, the staff naturally becomes more passionate about what items they are selling — simply by having to now learn more about them. Once they are given the knowledge to succeed, it’s inevitable more will be sold — therefore making the business more money, keeping your staff engaged, and having some fun in the process!


Educating your staff should be a priority. In fact, it’s proven that customers will return to a business or spend more money at one, if they find their experience with the staff was pleasurable and memorable — so what better way to arm your staff with the gift to succeed, than to properly train and educate them. They will feel confident about having the answers when asked, and have more to talk about with the guests at your restaurant.

Not only does education set them up to succeed and feel good about their jobs, but it makes their day-to-day less mundane and more exciting; and this works in your favor in two ways:  First, members of your staff will feel like a more valuable part of the team. A staff that feels valued will be naturally happier and will stay with you longer. Second, you feel less stressed. Knowing that you have a staff that is fully equipped and ready for any situation, and doesn’t have to run to you with every question, is an appreciated addition to your restaurant’s dynamic.

Give them more responsibility

A great way to help motivate and facilitate growth in your staff, is to give them more responsibility when it’s earned and they can be trusted.

Get to know your staff, and you will find that they may have more to offer than what they were originally hired for. Yes, some employees will come to work, do what’s needed of them, and then leave – but perhaps they aren’t challenged enough, or maybe they don’t know another opportunity is available to help them grow, so they become complacent and simply go through the motions with little exceeded effort.

Many small business owners have a tough time ‘letting go’ of certain responsibilities and feel better about having control over everything. Because of this however, something usually suffers as a result. Think about what you can delegate out to a deserving and responsible employee to push them to their fullest potential and alleviate your already full workload.

Many restaurant owners find that asking someone in-house to handle social media marketing is a great way to involve deserving staff members. Social media can be intimidating at times if the platforms are unknown, or the technology evolves faster than you are ready to learn it (or you’re just busy with the countless other things that need to get done) – but it’s crucial to have your business present online in multiple places, AND keep actively engaging with it.

Show them the money!

There is something to be said about transparency, but when it comes to running your business, you can determine how much or how little you would like to share with your team when it comes to how the business is doing overall. It might be helpful however, for the staff to know the big picture. It’s important to know what they are working so hard for, and how their hard work pays off. Enlighten them to the importance of food costs, and waste. Let them know why adhering to the pour of wine or the ounces in the cocktails really matter. Once they see the larger picture, they will understand the importance of each working piece, and how their role and the efforts they make while at work can have a tremendous impact overall.

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