Employees work to make money, but they will go the extra mile for praise and rewards. Making your team feel valued and appreciated is a vital part in running a successful restaurant. People want to feel seen and recognized, especially when they are putting in the hard work. Offering praise and incentives will not only increase productivity, but can also help with employee retention. Don’t worry, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to do this. There are many genuine, fun ways to give praise that will not break the bank.
- Highlight Staff Member on Social Media
Most people love a little bit of spotlight attention, especially when it is for a great reason! Post a picture of your employee of the week or month stating why they are such an awesome employee, followed by a few fun facts about them. This is great for customer engagement as well. You can ask for your followers to show that employee some love and see the comments roll in! Such a great way to get everyone involved in spreading kindness and encouragement.
- Let Them Choose Shift Time or Section
Employees love this one. Everyone has a favorite section to work or there is usually a specific shift time that seems to be coveted by many. As long as it works for your restaurant, there is no harm in occasionally allowing an employee to choose a schedule time or work section. You can choose the day and then allow them to choose their specifications for that day.
- Give Them a Swag Bag
Don’t get crazy with this and don’t overthink it! People will appreciate that you took the time to put this bag together and saw fit that they received it. Your swag bag can be filled with merchandise with your restaurant’s logo or other extra gifts you might have lying around. If y’all have extra t-shirts, pens, notepads, stress balls, koozies, etc., just throw a few of them in a bag with a hand written note expressing your gratitude. That note will more than likely mean the most of all the goodies. If you have a little bit of money to spend and want to throw in a $5 gift card to their favorite coffee or ice cream shop, that is an easy way to add another personal touch.
- Allow Them to Create Signature Menu Item
Employees tend to have fun with this one. Choose a hardworking employee or make it a friendly co-worker competition and the winner gets to create a signature dish for the week or month. This can be posted on a board near the entrance of your restaurant for customers to see which can also be a great promotional bonus. Of course you can lay down certain rules and guidelines, but this is a fun way for the employee to be creative and get involved in an area that they don’t normally get a say in!
So as you can see, there are many great ways to reward your employees without going broke! As your restaurant grows, you might find you have the money to spend on bigger gifts, which is great. They will be thrilled! Don’t wait until then to start dishing out the rewards. Start now and see how this can positively affect the work environment and get your employees excited about getting their job done well!