5 Ways to Motivate Temporary Restaurant Staff

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Whether it’s a huge fan convention, holiday season or the Master’s golf tournament in Augusta, certain events require restaurants to bring on more staff than usual. When employees know they’re temporary, though, their lack of motivation might make them as productive as the restaurant furnishings. Of course, this defeats the purpose of hiring extra help entirely. Fortunately, there are a few great ways to motivate temporary restaurant staff.

1. Pair Temporary Staff with Current Employees
One of the best ways to motivate someone is to make them feel accepted. Unfortunately, this might be difficult when a temporary worker knows they’ll only be in this restaurant booth atmosphere for a short time. To combat this, assign a current employee to train and mentor each temporary restaurant worker. This time together will likely create at least a small bond that fosters a welcoming atmosphere.

2. Offer Rewards and Incentives
Another great way to motivate even the most temporary employees is by incentivizing exemplary work. In these cases, though, cleaning the restaurant furnishings in their section or the grill they worked on isn’t enough. It’s important to show appreciation for this, but rewards and incentives should be reserved for the highest-performing employees. Reward those who go above and beyond, and others will strive for the same.

3. Provide Permanent Opportunities
Whether someone is working the hostess stand or in the back with commercial restaurant equipment, letting them know that there’s a possibility for a permanent job can be a great motivator. This shouldn’t be offered, though, with no intention of actually hiring a new employee. If someone proves to be a temporary asset, there’s little doubt that they’d do the same on a permanent basis.

4. Plan Employee Events
In the spirit of getting everyone close and making temporary employees feel welcome, restaurateurs should also take the initiative to hold fun employee events. Whether this is an end-of-the-season party or a weekly gathering with free food and drinks for everyone, every employee will appreciate the effort.

Of course, some of the newer faces may be hesitant to come to a gathering where they don’t know anyone well, so it never hurts to let them bring a guest. Having contests, games and other exciting activities can go a long way in keeping everyone happy and increasing comradery among all of the workers.

5. Let Them Know Relationships Are Being Built
Most temporary employees will remain temporary employees, but that doesn’t mean the business relationship must end. When seated in the café chairs interviewing applicants for the first time, restaurateurs should let the person know that they’d be more than happy to write a recommendation for another position being sought.

Additionally, even if no permanent jobs will be immediately available, applicants should be told that, if they do great, they may end up getting a call when a permanent position opens. For many individuals, this is just the motivation they need to rise above the rest.

When temporary employees come in, they often understand the restaurant furnishings, coworkers and entrees surrounding them daily aren’t permanent. This doesn’t mean, though, that they can’t be properly motivated. With the aforementioned tips, restaurateurs can inspire their staff regardless of how long they’ll be around.