Motivating Staff in the Restaurant Industry

When it comes to motivating and keeping staff happy in the restaurant industry, there is one thing that is a must; throw the advice of the motivational gurus out the window.

That’s right, while much of the advice offered by motivational speakers and advisors is great when it is applied to the workforce in, say, a corporate or business setting, the restaurant industry is a whole different world.

While the dynamics between management and staff is similar to what you find anywhere else, and while there is plenty of interaction between staff members themselves, the primary focus when it comes to motivating and keeping staff happy in the restaurant industry is in making them feel as if they have a vested interest in “their” restaurant’s continued success and reputation. Easy enough to say, you may think, but how do you put that into practice?

Motivating your staff is a fairly straightforward matter; it depends entirely on giving them something to be proud of. Emphasizing the quality of your customer service and bragging up your staff to your clients will give the staff something to live up to, and will instill a sense of loyalty and pride. This can be done in a dozen different ways. A handful are listed below which may help you get started in the right direction.

But before you can even begin to reward or motivate your staff, you need to “understand your target market”.

Many of your employees are considerably younger than you are and their idea of The Future or A Reward may differ greatly from yours. To you the future is next year or next decade or maybe the end of your lease. To the young people who work for you, the future is tomorrow, Saturday night or just maybe next summer. Reward? Well nothing satisfies like instant gratification. Carry a few prepaid cell phone vouchers or maybe even lotto tickets and reward your staff on the spot. And if they win? Well hopefully they will buy you out and YOU can stop worrying about the future.

1) Employee of the Month/Quarter/Year:

Having an employee of the month/quarter/year program is a great way to show your staff AND your customers just what a great staff you have. Fair warning, however, words are not enough. Put their picture on the wall with a short bio that explains why they were chosen, but to double the impact, make it worth the employee’s time. Perhaps a cash gift or a gift card can help with motivation.

2) Have an “Employees in the News” wall:

Every community has its share of events; things like sports competitions, high school and college graduations and other events that make it into the newspaper. Display your employee’s achievements outside of work in a prominent place; let it be known that you care about their life outside of work and want them to do well.

3) Reward for Work Well Done:

It seems as if every industry focuses on the negative, taking away tips or bonuses for poor quality work, or docking hours for mistakes. This, however, tends to rebound negatively in the end, so why not start off on the right foot and reward for work well done? If one of the wait staff agrees to come in on their day off, match their tips for the day as a gesture of good will, or hold a contest for bus boys for the most tables cleared each day.

4) Work Sponsored Events:

There is nothing like camaraderie to instill a sense of loyalty in one’s staff, which is why it is always a good idea to get involved in community events. Put together a softball team, or a bowling team made up of staff members and then use their activities as a focal point for getting the rest of the staff together regularly (the focus being on fun, not work!). You’ll be surprised at how quickly they become motivated.

5) Walk the Talk:

If you want to be an inspiration to your staff you must walk the talk. Be an example of what you want from others. Don’t blow your top if you have a bad day. If things go wrong, deal with it calmly; and always be energetic even if you don’t feel like it. Consistency is key.


In conclusion, you won’t have to limit yourself to just those motivational suggestions listed above, let your imagination soar, and see just how quickly your staff changes their tune and becomes truly interested in ensuring “their” restaurant does well!

Ian Said, is an entrepreneur and founder of Ideal Software, a software development company specializing in Stock Control and Point of Sale reporting solutions. E-Mail: and follow Ian's tweets: @costofsale

Views: 1263

Tags: Africa, Control, IdealStockControl, Inventory, Motivation, Profitability, Restaurant, South, Staff, Stock


You need to be a member of FohBoh to add comments!

Join FohBoh




Social Wine Club for Craft Wineries


Eateries turn to rationing as lime prices soar

Unrest caused by Mexico's drug cartels, along with floods in Mexico and a drought in California, are taking a toll on this ye -More

25% Usage Reduction, Guaranteed!
Reduce waste and cut cost. Impress your customers and express your brand. Every single Tork Xpressnap napkin dispenser performs double-duty for your business. Find out more about our 25% usage reduction guarantee or get a free trial.

Burger King to upgrade wireless with Whopper Wi-Fi

Burger King has teamed with AT&T to replace existing in-store wireless Internet with an upgraded system dubbed Whopper Wi-Fi  -More

Late-night indulgence pays off for Jack in the Box

Jack in the Box saw its profits rise sharply in the first quarter, a few months after introducing its $6 Munchie Meal menu of -More


Posting a job or finding a job starts here at FohBoh. Call us about special $25 posting packages to syndicate across all major jobs boards.

National News

Wahlburgers Announces Expansion Plans Including Franchise Agreement in Philadelphia

Wahlburgers has signed a franchise agreement with Hingham Associates, LLC that will bring five Wahlburgers to the metropolitan Philadelphia area over the next several years. The franchise group is actively looking at sites and is targeting a late 2014-early 2015 opening for its first restaurant.

Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. First Quarter 2014 Revenue Up 24.4%

Comparable restaurant sales increased 13.4% - Restaurant level operating margin was 25.9%, a decrease of 40 basis points

Jamba Juice Announces Grand Opening of New St. Louis, MO Location

Jamba Juice Company announced the brand’s continued expansion in the St. Louis market with the opening of a Jamba Juice® store at 11477 Olive Blvd. on April 16, 2014.

Expert in Real Estate Analytics Joins Luna Grill

Luna Grill, the San Diego-based Mediterranean restaurant chain, is welcoming retail real estate industry veteran Greg Thorburn to its leadership team. Thorburn has been brought on board to fill the newly created position of Vice-President of Real Estate.

Rita's Italian Ice Awards Area Development Agreement for Kansas

Rita's Italian Ice has awarded franchise and area development agreements for Kansas and the Kansas City area, which extends to the Missouri side of the city, to franchisees and local residents Jay Miller, Jeff Miller and Pat Reilly.


If you are looking for capital to start or grow your restaurant, create the next 501c3, develop and launch the next app for the restaurant industry,or want to help your peers in some meaningful way, we want to know about it.


TED: Jeremy Kasdin: The flower-shaped starshade that might help us detect Earth-like planets - Jeremy Kasdin (2014)

Astronomers believe that every star in the galaxy has a planet, one fifth of which might harbor life. Only we haven't seen any of them -- yet. Jeremy Kasdin and his team are looking to change that with the design and engineering of an extraordinary piece of equipment: a flower petal-shaped "starshade" that allows a telescope to photograph planets from 50,000 kilometers away. It is, he says, the "coolest possible science."

TED: Norman Spack: How I help transgender teens become who they want to be - Norman Spack (2013)

Puberty is an awkward time for just about everybody, but for transgender teens it can be a nightmare, as they grow overnight into bodies they aren't comfortable with. In a heartfelt talk, endocrinologist Norman Spack tells a personal story of how he became one of the few doctors in the US to treat minors with hormone replacement therapy. By staving off the effects of puberty, Spack gives trans teens the time they need. (Filmed at TEDxBeaconStreet.)

TED: Jennifer Senior: For parents, happiness is a very high bar - Jennifer Senior (2014)

The parenting section of the bookstore is overwhelming—it's "a giant, candy-colored monument to our collective panic," as writer Jennifer Senior puts it. Why is parenthood filled with so much anxiety? Because the goal of modern, middle-class parents—to raise happy children—is so elusive. In this honest talk, she offers some kinder and more achievable aims.

TED: David Brooks: Should you live for your résumé ... or your eulogy? - David Brooks (2014)

Within each of us are two selves, suggests David Brooks in this meditative short talk: the self who craves success, who builds a résumé, and the self who seeks connection, community, love -- the values that make for a great eulogy. (Joseph Soloveitchik has called these selves "Adam I" and "Adam II.") Brooks asks: Can we balance these two selves?

© 2014   Created by FohBoh.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service