Best Practices to Maintain Restaurant Culture and Retain Employees

From boosting employee morale to limiting turnover, a strong culture can save your restaurant tens of thousands of dollars each year. Here are a few tips that will put you well on your way toward establishing a culture that attracts – and keeps – top talent in your restaurant.

Build a career path

Show employees what they need to do to climb the career ladder at your restaurant. Whether it’s attending a training session or working overtime on occasion, being open and honest about what it takes to move into upper management will help ensure every employee has an equal chance at success.

Say thank you

Recognize employees for their contributions by offering more flexible scheduling or bonuses to the top front- and back-of-house staff member each quarter. Also as a sign of your appreciation, offer employees meal perks. This might include discounted meals during employee lunch breaks or the option to have up to four guests dine at your restaurant for free once or twice a year.

You might also want to consider creating team-based rewards that encourage staff members to collaborate with one another on a regular basis. For example, you can dish out a cash bonus to each employee for earning a perfect score on your restaurant’s next health inspection. Since the entire restaurant is examined, each employee plays an important part in order to come away with the bonus. By working together to achieve a specific goal, staff members will have the opportunity to develop a rapport that may help things run more smoothly during a busy dinner service.

Welcome feedback

While you may have a good grasp of what each position in your restaurant entails, it’s difficult to identify small problems unless you’re right there working next to your staff. Set up an email address or host a quarterly meeting where employees can suggest changes that will make their jobs easier. It can be especially helpful to sit down with new employees to discuss what worked well at their previous jobs. Incorporating changes that staff members have asked for time and again will show that you’re serious about catering to the needs of employees.

Offer a benefits package

Full-time employees have come to expect more than just a paycheck. From health insurance to retirement savings, a competitive benefits package can go a long way toward keeping employees happy. Small perks, such as flexible hours, can also play a part in raising employee morale. If you’re not sure what to include in a benefits package, meet with a few employees to talk about which perks they consider most beneficial.

Host team-building activities

Inviting your restaurant’s front- and back-of-house staff to a happy hour or volunteer opportunity is a great way to facilitate bonding and reduce stress. While it may be difficult to pinpoint a specific time when all of your employees are available, hosting a wide range of events throughout the year will ensure each staff member has an opportunity to join in on the fun. You might also want to consider closing your restaurant a few hours early so that everyone can get together. This extra step will make it clear that you value employee happiness, even if it means a few hours of downtime every once in awhile.

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