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  • I am not sure how your restaraunt does their dish room.  But, my restaraunt has played the "lemon game."  It worked because the servers pulled the dishes from the dish room to put on the line.  If a team member came in from the dining room without plates or something in hand they would be given the lemon.  They would watch and try and catch someone else like that.  Also, if someone dropped dishes but did not bring dishes to the line they would get the lemon.  Whoever was caught with the lemon would have to do extra sidework or extra silverware.  It was good for accountablity and they also had fun with it.

  • How about assigning each staff member a certain dish or drink to push, and the person that convinces the customers to buy the highest number of their assigned item wins a day off or a VISA gift card?

    OR.... See how many pictures they can get the customers to take with them. The person with the most pictures at the end of the shift wins ______________!
    • In California, be careful with programs like this. Although most people aren't aware, it is actually illegal to pay a person a percentage or commission on the sale of alcoholic beverages for procuring or encouraging the purchase or sale of alcoholic beverages. (Sec. 25657a Business & Professions Code). This can result in liquor license sanctions by the ABC.

      • Thanks for this valuable info that most people overlook.
  • Please check out the Ribbon Gift Certificates which you can keep to give to employees. I have been a great advocate for these certificates. They start at $30 and go upwards. They let the receiver choose their gift. Please check it out at my website For bulk orders of $300 or more, feel free to call me. My contact info is on my website. I have a lot of restaurant owners using these very successfully. You can use these for shifts and/or employee of the month. Currently there is a special deal on the variety pack 5 Gift Cards of $30 each for $120.
  • Hi Kris, see below! We posted this question on our Facebook page and received these responses!

    From Mark Mucci: First one to do their job fully and to the best of their ability get's paid for it! lol j.k. ;D

    From Ray Cornett: For wait staff contests have contests to see whose upselling results in the most sales of a specific upsell item.

    From Amanda Brandon: We used to get $20 for whomever sold the most desserts over the phone when we were testing a new item. Free dinner is also good.

    My favorite was to get cut first and no sidework. My least favorite was the dice of death - if you were late you had to roll dice to get your chore for the evening. Usually involved scraping BBQ sauce off chairs.

    From Wyck Wyre: Have a recipe contest (food or drinks) with your staff. The winning recipe gets to be the featured item for an evening and they receive x amount for each one sold

    From Keith Bernhardt: How about a scavenger hunt for items for a recipe ?

    From Domonic Patrick: See what server can get the most names and birthdays or anniversaries of cust.
  • Hi from Sybil!
    I love your enthusiasm for promoting teamwork and boosting morale in your restaurant!
    I am a waitress and I created the Be Kind To Food Servers Month. To elevate the status of waiters
    and waitresses and to establish a positive relationship between food servers and the dining public.
    I am campaigning to get the Be Kind To Food Servers Month nationally recognized through Congress.
    I am asking businesses,groups and individuals to send me an email with their comments of support
    for the Be Kind To Food Servers Month. Send comments to
    I also created the Be Kind To Food Servers Social Network and Support Group. I am on Facebook.
    I am going to share your wonderful"games/contests for waitstaff " with my members and include
    this idea for projects and events to celebrate the Be Kind To Food Servers Month which is in January.
    I wanted to add you to be my friend on FohBoh,but pop up said my limit was reached.
    It is people like you that inspires me to reach my goal of having the Be Kind To Food Servers Month
    nationally recognized through Congress. Please pass this along to your waitstaff. Thank you!
  • A restaurant I used to work for played Bingo during a shift. Not only did he use appetizers, entrees, drink specials, etc... for the squares but he also had square for "receive guest complement" or "greeted a fellow servers table" or "took/delivered a teammates drinks". Helps boost sales and also promotes teamwork. And its fun!
    • Receiving a guest complement! I like that part of the bingo equation. And served other staffs drinks.
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