The best restaurants to work for offer a variety of unique benefits, and approach their employees with both integrity and caring. Keeping employees happy is as simple as providing employment that is fulfilling and meaningful, and paying a wage that is reasonable for the amount of work required.
Statistical analysis of restaurant success consistently demonstrates that, if employees are not happy, customer satisfaction will decline and a business’s bottom line will suffer. Keeping employee morale high is the best way to ensure that customers are happy and planning to come again. Follow these simple tips to become one of the best restaurants to work for. They each demand a shift in focus, and an understanding of employee needs.
Training and Development
The best restaurants not only offer work, but also offer education. Employees tend to perform their job with more efficiency if their skill set is expanding. They also become better prepared to serve the restaurant in a variety of roles. Generally, investing in employees makes them more likely to feel indebted to the company and interested in serving to the best of their ability.
Training courses that can be offered include: food safety, management courses, culinary skills training, recordkeeping, and more. These courses should, ideally, not only improve an employee’s on-the-job performance, but also increase their employability should they decide to leave the restaurant.
Employees need to believe that there is a place for them in the company as they increase their skill set. One of the best ways to keep employees happy is to consistently promote management staff from within the company.
The best food chains promote at least 50% of their employees up through the ranks. This benefits workplace morale twofold. First and foremost, management knows how to perform tasks at every level of the business. They can step away from managerial duties and work in the kitchen or as a member of the wait staff in an emergency, can guide struggling team members by demonstrating key skills, and can more quickly identify problem areas because they intimately know how the business is supposed to operate on a day-to-day level.
Those who promote from within also receive more respect from employees. They have a sense of camaraderie with those working below them because they were once peers with those they now manage. They do not need to take time to build a working rapport with employees because they already have one, and no employee can doubt that the manager is capable of doing their job, because the manager has already performed it.
Finally, promoting those within the business to higher level positions gives employees hope, and something to strive for. Those who believe they are in a dead-end job will act like it. They are going nowhere, and do not have to worry about making a good impression, or improving their skill set. Instead of this, ambition keeps them motivated to move forward.
Wages and Starting Pay Scale
The starting pay scale is too often minimum wage for those in the foodservice industry. Employers offer wait staff and cooks minimum wage, claiming that they will make up the difference between what they are being paid, and what they are worth, in tips.
The problem with this theory is that the income from tips is not steady, and employees need to be able to pay the bills with or without tip income. Restaurants that pay more than $9 per hour, with the addition of tips, typically have employees who are significantly more satisfied on the job than those that pay less per hour.
Tips are also important. The atmosphere in a restaurant sets the stage for good tipping. If there is an expectation for servers to be taken care of, then chances are most customers will be appropriately generous. Set a standard for servers to receive a fair tip for their efforts.
According to a report by CNN, servers should receive no less than 10% for poor service, 15% for average service, and 20% for excellent service. These rates are based on a mid-grade chain restaurant setting, and can adjust between 10% and 20% depending on personal finances and quality of service.
Benefits and Special Exceptions
Restaurant employees are happier if they receive benefits. Benefits include paid vacation and sick leave, health insurance, bonuses, and other specialized forms of payment or recognition. These additional options will go a long way to keeping employees happy.
As simple as it seems, offer a special parking place, a printed achievement flyer, or a small gift card to employees regularly. Simply acknowledging a job well done in employees will do a lot to move relations in the right direction.
Every tip on this list boils down to simply this: be conscious of the relationship that employees have with the business. If the employee has a good relationship with the employer and is emotionally connected to the business’s success, they will be more likely to stay onboard, and work hard for years to come.