Take the time to get to know your employees.
What’s the best way to attract and retain top talent in the restaurant industry?
That’s easy: show your employees respect. If you respect your employees and take steps to demonstrate your trust and appreciation, you’re way ahead of the game.
When employees feel respected and appreciated, it can improve the overall quality of your restaurant. Happy employees are more effective workers, have less turnover, and can help keep your restaurant running efficiently. Over time, this can have a powerful impact on your bottom line. Ready to create a positive culture in your workplace? Start with these pro tips:
Train Your Employees
One of the best ways to ensure that employees won’t jump ship? Take the time to properly train them.
A lot of restaurant owners and managers breeze past training, instead opting to throw new employees in the fire and let them learn the ropes as they go. Big mistake.
This approach starts employees out on the wrong foot. It makes them feel expendable and unimportant, and it doesn’t make a good first impression of your management style.
A proper training period not only helps empower employees on a personal level, but it equips them with the tools they need to be better workers and salespeople. It also shows them that you value them enough to spend the time to educate them, which can lead to better employee retention.
Get to Know Your Employees
Take the time to get to know your employees. Sure, you probably asked them a thing or two during their job interview. But if you really want to create a positive work culture, it’s important to take a continued interest in who your employees are and what makes them tick.
Taking the time to ask how school is going, how they’ll spend their day off, or asking how their kids are can help foster a more nurturing and caring work culture. These small shows of appreciation can have a big effect on the overall mood of your workplace.
Listen to Your Employees
Your employees are the eyes and the ears of your restaurant, and they can provide valuable insights that can improve your business.
For instance, if an employee notices that several customers have complained about your to-go containers, it could inspire you to find a new vendor and improve your takeaway business. Or if a server notices that a lot of people are requesting their burgers with avocado, it might prompt you to offer that modification on your menu as an upsell that can improve profits.
But you won’t benefit from your employees’ ideas and insights if you don’t give them the opportunity to share them.
Be sure to make yourself open to feedback. One way to encourage feedback without pressure? Create comment cards for employee feedback. Comment cards are perhaps best-known for soliciting feedback from customers, but they can also give employees the chance to weigh in.
Have a Time-Off Request System in Place
There are certain things that you’ll always have to contend with when you have employees, both in and out of the restaurant industry—namely, requests for time off.
If you’re just reacting to every request as it comes along, you’re doing yourself a great disservice. Plus, that approach increases the likelihood of your restaurant being understaffed, which can make your employees feel stressed and unappreciated.
Establishing a protocol for how employees request time off can save both you and your employees a lot of time and a lot of headaches.
Sure, you’ll always have to deal with a few last-minute requests. But having an established system for requesting time off can help you reduce quite a bit of the stress associated with scheduling.
Check In With Your Employees
Regular check-ins with employees can keep your restaurant running smoothly.
Employee check-ins are commonplace in office jobs. It’s not as common in the restaurant industry, but it should be.
Even if it’s very brief, checking in with employees can give you a unique perspective on how your restaurant’s doing and where you could stand to improve. Don’t just check in with managers—check in with everyone, from the dishwashers to the hosts and bartenders. Not only will you learn a lot, but it’s a great way to demonstrate your appreciation and respect to everyone who works for you.
Give Employees Bonuses
Everyone likes to be acknowledged for their hard work. While you can’t go wrong with a cash bonus, there are plenty of other ways to reward your employees for a job well done.
For instance, you could pay for an employee night out, or give a hard-working employee a paid night off of work.
Bonuses create plenty of goodwill, but they do more than that. When employees feel “seen,” they’re a lot more motivated to continue doing good work. This can help increase employee loyalty and retention.
Feed Your Employees
Nobody does their best work when they’re hangry.
A little food can go a long way when it comes to boosting employee morale and showing your staff that you care.
For instance, many top restaurants offer a family-style staff meal before or after the dinner shift. Not only does this promote a sense of community, but it can also educate employees on your offerings, especially if you test out specials on them.
Even if you can’t offer a staff meal, do offer employees a free meal at the end of their shift.
It may seem like a small gesture, but it can have a big impact on making your employees feel valued and cared for.
Great employees are crucial to any restaurant’s success. They’re the beating heart of your business—they’re the ones who greet customers, sell your products, and keep things running on a day-to-day basis.
If you want to create a positive work culture that attracts the best talent, you’ve got to treat your staff with respect and show your appreciation on a regular basis. By following the tips in this post, you’re well on your way to attracting and retaining the best employees possible. Get started today.
Mark Plumlee is the Content Officer for MustHaveMenus. He enjoys writing about trends in restaurant marketing and design