How to Motivate Restaurant Employees? - 10 Best Strategies

7 minute


Motivating restaurant employees might seem something really irrelevant and impossible. But it is crucial for your overall business growth. So, find out some ways to get the best out of your restaurant staff. Read on.

You really enjoy working as a restaurant owner, but do you know there’s a big one that can literally scale things up for you? Yes! That’s all the workforce you have in your restaurant. That’s something that can get you to the position of the best restaurant. But how to motivate restaurant employees? 

Having a restaurant is one of the most successful businesses for many reasons. However, what is the one thing that makes sure your customers keep coming back to your place? 

Is it food? 

Is it the price? 

Well, they are all the people who interact with your customers and offer them quality service- Your Restaurant Employees. 

The real asset of your restaurant, or any business, is the employees. Believe it or not, your restaurant performance and your customer experience all revolve around how you treat your employees. So, if your staff is happy, your customers are satisfied, and your business will boom like anything. 

Therefore, here are some terrific tips for you to help you encourage your restaurant employees. 

1. How about perks? 

Who doesn’t love to have more than just the salary? Anyone will put on a little effort every time they receive something that appreciates their performance. And so will your restaurant staff.

Why employees quit in any office? Because they do not get anything more than their income. One of the best ways to motivate your restaurant employees is to offer them perks and rewards. Just like any other corporate job, there are a few basic things that can cheer them up. 

Want some ideas

  • You can offer free food for your staff, 
  • Offer them free meals during the break. 
  • Have a friend’s and family discount for the restaurant employees. 
  • Pay them as per their convenience. It can be daily, weekly, even monthly. 
  • Go beyond and give them medical insurance, retirement plans, or any other thing for their safety. 

While you are thinking about it, just make sure that this should be done irrespective of the employee's position. Same rules, same strategies, and same perks should be there for a waiter and the restaurant manager. 

2. Offer incentives 

Here is the bitter truth, no matter how good your monthly salary is, you will always put your best in the game to earn extra. This applies to anyone, be it your restaurant team. Besides, your incentive does not always have to be an extra pay. There are several ways to offer that. You can organize a party, offer an annual trip, let them choose their shifts, and the list goes on. 

Incentives for restaurant employees can be a great way to motivate them to do their best. For that, you can set minor or even significant goals. You can offer extra pay to whoever:

  • Has full attendance
  • Provides the best customer services
  • Manages a set number of tables
  • Achieves a goal on social media

3. Free treats

Treat at your workplace? Sounds interesting. This is what every employee thinks when you offer them something they never expect. Offering free treats should be about frequent parties, get-together, or anything that gives a not-so-work feeling. In fact, this should be a part of your work ethics. 

When to give free treats? Well, this is some small celebration for any business achievement. Launching a new item in the menu? Throw a party. Make target sales? Treat your restaurant employees. In short, there are several ways to do that. So, you just need to find your corner.

4. Fixed shifts and overtime policies

It’s nice to work for a fixed time, but what to do to make your employees stay at work for long? Do you know you can be in big trouble if you refuse to pay extra for overtime? Yes, that’s true. Besides, working 40 hours a week is acceptable for your employees. But if they stay up late or work more than that, you should pay them extra.  

It’s simple; you just need to offer them more money over time. Maybe something like 1.5 times more than their regular pay. I know it’s a bit cliche, but this strategy actually works wonders. 

5. Set major and minor goals

Why should your restaurant employees be working so hard? They must know your strategies and your goals to have a direction for their improvement. This is why it is really important to discuss your objectives and aim with your entire restaurant team. 

Arrange frequent meetings and convey your goals to your team. These include both major and minor plans. Also, it wouldn’t be harmful in asking them for their opinion and perspective. Besides, it will help you improve your strategies to achieve that goal. 

Once your staff knows where they have to go, only then they would put their efforts to make ends meet. 

6. Frequent training

I know you already offer training to your staff but how about upgrading their performance regularly. They can be an expert in whatever they are doing, but learning never stops. 

Well! With these constant training things, there is a secret; it is not just for the development of the employees but for the entire organization. Your restaurant can be the best if a proper training process is followed. Here is how:

  • It’ll keep your restaurant services up-to-date.
  • Your employees will always stay productive. That too with reasonable satisfaction. 
  • The executive board would be free of constant supervision.
  • People would follow more systematic things.
  • It’ll boost up the confidence of your employees, hence, good performance from their end.

Need some ways to do this? Create a plan, assign the tasks, experiment with different methods. There is a lot to do when it comes to training your staff. Moreover, it is the best way to inform them about the latest technologies and trends. 

7. Positive working environment

Bad vibes, screaming, bleak environment, who wants to work in such an atmosphere? Nobody. We all know the importance of having a positive and motivating environment. Then why not maintain that in your restaurant?

Start a day with motivation and positive thinking. You can organize pre-shift meetings and motivate people. For encouragement, you can ask them to list three things they are grateful for each day. This small activity will indeed eliminate any negative thinking or anxiety among employees. 

What else can you do?

  • Greet each employee nicely and ask them how they and their families are doing.
  • Help them set their personal goals (not just professional).
  • Motivate them personally for achieving a task.
  • Express your gratitude to your employees for their hard work.

Working with the utmost positivity will surely make your staff work harder. However, it will genuinely keep them hiped up for longer. 

8. Organize competitions and acknowledgement

Here comes the fun part, the fun activities that you can organize in your restaurant. These frequent competitions can definitely increase your restaurant employees’ performance. 

How? Well, the best way is to create a target and challenge your staff to accomplish that in minimal time. There are a LOT of contests and competitive ideas you can think of. Just be as creative as you can be because if your work isn’t fun, it is not working. 

How about challenging them to sell most of the best-selling items? Or let them win a said number of sales. 

9. Communication is the key.

Do you think it’s still time for those quintessential corporate hierarchies? If that is the thing, you are pretty wrong. Nowadays, it is time for you to be as frank with your workers as you are with your friends and family. 

I know, having hierarchy in an organization is very important, but does it really mean a junior cannot talk directly to a senior? Not necessary. Your restaurant employees must feel the comfort of communicating with their superiors. 

But, how to maintain this comfort? You can have your breaks together, talk casually in the daily pre-shift meeting, or just encourage the ideas they put in. Want a tip? Always greet them nicely and ask them how they are doing. This is the key!!!

10. Regular Feedbacks and criticism

How many of your staff members ask for feedbacks and accept criticism? Maybe not many. But again, this is somehow in continuation of our last point about communication. When it comes to reviews and feedback, it should be equal no matter what position the worker holds. 

If some upper-level employee is sending out feedback, she first needs to coordinate with the responsibilities subordinates are following. This is the behaviour that you must encourage. Sharing criticism should not be about saying harsh things but simply telling them their mistakes. 

There should a balance between sugar-coating your words and losing your patience. Be kind, be human, and do not forget to show them ways to rectify their faults. That’s the best thing you can do for someone. Trust me!!!


Motivating your restaurant employees is not always about giving a motivational speech every morning. Motivation comes from small efforts and treating your staff as your best assets. So, follow these excellent tips because your happy employees will make your customers happy. 


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