3 Ways to Improve Morale in Restaurant Employees

Published By: Leon Tuberman  -  Monday, March 27, 2017

As culinary entrepreneurs speak with patrons occupying their restaurant dining sets, they can sometimes become disconnected with what their employees are going through. Back of the house (BOH) workers see constant stress as steady orders come in, and front of the house (FOH) staff has to deal with upset customers typically on a daily basis. This can be a huge killer to morale. Fortunately, there are a few things restaurant managers can do to nip this in the bud.

Treat Everyone the Same
There's no doubt that every restaurant owner has their favorite employees. Fortunately, this doesn't become an issue unless the manager actually allows it to. Unfortunately, far too many actually do. If there's a rule about not sitting at the bar tables to roll silverware, it's not okay to overlook the rule for some and not for others.

When servers, cooks and other employees see people receiving special treatment, their immediate and appropriate response is to become disheartened, upset and even angry. This can kill motivation, and if everyone from the BOH to the FOH isn't properly motivated to do their jobs, it's the entire restaurant that will suffer.

Host Employee Gatherings
Working in a restaurant is unlike being employed anywhere else. Whereas accountants can go to work, steer clear of colleagues and just go home, restaurant staff is in constant contact with each other. This builds friendships, but all too often they're left with going out at night when they have work the next day as their only entertainment option.

Restaurateurs can help in this area by hosting occasional gatherings. Whether it's closing down the eatery early for a special party or holding a company picnic far away from any restaurant dining set, these little outings give employees something to look forward to.

Work With Employees on Scheduling
Since most aren't salaried, it may seem as if restaurant employees would prefer being at work so they can make money. It should never be forgotten, though, that they're human like everyone else. Make sure each employee has at least two days off, and go easy on scheduling the double shifts. If a worker requests a day off in advance, restaurant owners should strive to accommodate them.

Host Competitions During Slow Days
While cooks, dishwashers and other BOH employees may revel in slower days, this isn't true for the waitstaff. Most servers make the majority of their money through tips, and if they're just standing around looking at empty restaurant dining sets all day, they're not earning money.

One obvious way around this is to schedule fewer servers and allow some people to head out early if they want. For those who remain, though, it doesn't hurt to hold little competitions to keep them motivated. The contest could focus on who sells the most appetizers, and the reward could be a free gift certificate, a meal on the house or even a selected day off.

In addition to providing a little fun competition for the waitstaff, the restaurant itself could see improved sales even when restaurant booths go unoccupied.

It's impossible to keep employees happy all of the time, but that doesn't mean that restaurateurs shouldn't try. By thinking about their employees more than they're worried about restaurant dining sets and effective marketing, it's possible to keep a consistently positive atmosphere at work.

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