Restaurant employees are some of the hardest employees to retain in the industry. Good help is hard to find, and employee turnover is rampant in the restaurant industry.

With restaurant employee management, happy employees are loyal employees and that’s key for employee retention.  Here are tips on how to keep restaurant employees happy:

Acknowledge Hard Work

Hearing recognition is what differentiates a good employer from a great employer. Recognition is free. Work is just work for some, but when your staff are going above and beyond, hearing recognition can mean a lot.

Let employees know when they’re doing a great job, or when clients praise their service or dishes. Especially when dealing with difficult customers, or getting out of the weeds in the kitchen.

Invest in Your Employees

Think of your employees as an investment. They’re the engine behind your business and investing in them, is ultimately investing back into your business!

Especially with back-of-house staff – they’re extremely hard to retain in the current climate of the restaurant industry. If you have a star employee, help them hone their skills!

Invest in classes that your employees can take, and help with grow with your business.

Award Longevity

Track how long an employee has been with you. Yearly employee reviews are a great way to reflect on your role as an employer. What made them stay? How can you improve as an employer?

Show your appreciation for your employees’ loyalty with a raise after ‘x’ amount of time.  It’s a win-win situation for you and your employee. After all, hiring and re-training new staff can take longer and costs more money.

Introduce Incentive Programs

Create incentive programs for pushing new dishes or recruiting new employees. Host draws for the most items sold, most upsells or have FOH and BOH departments nominate an employee of the week. These are fun ways to get employee’s involved and have a little bit of friendly competition between staff.

They’re also a great way to track an employee’s performance and drive sales!

Get to Know Your Staff

More often than not, their workplace is their home away from home!

Employees like to know that you care about them on a personal level. They’re more than just bodies that keep your restaurant operating.

Employees generally work harder for employers they like. If they’re looking for a career in the restaurant industry, you can help them on their career path or journey. Who knows – you might be looking at your future General Manager!

Support a Work Life Balance

When scheduling, avoid scheduling employees for back to back close and open shifts. Tired employees are unhappy employees and they’ll appreciate your mindfulness.

It’s also key to remember that employees have social lives outside of their job. Be flexible when you can and during the holiday seasons, firmly outline your time off rules to avoid scheduling mishaps.

Encourage Fun at Work

Keep it fun – but professional. Foster a positive work environment by introducing activities like end of shift wins, or pre-shift concerns to keep morale up and encourage open communication.

You can also set aside a designated budget for a staff meal once a month. It’ll be a great opportunity for your front-of-house and back-of-house teams to interact and partake in team building activities like two truths and a lie or telephone!

Show Appreciation

1 phrase, two words: thank you. Two simple words that can make any staff member feel appreciated. It lets employees know that as an employer, you’re aware and appreciative of their hard work!

Always remember that your workforce is made up of people first – they’re not just your employees! As an employer, always remember to check in and look for ways to be a better boss.

Introducing technology into the workplace is a great step in restaurant management. Restaurant owners are jacks of all trades, and the growth of technology in the workplace is a great way to help manage restaurant employees.

If you haven’t already, the introduction of cloud based scheduling, automated payroll software or camera time attendance are awesome tools for restaurant management!