How to Motivate Restaurant Employees without Money

How to Motivate Restaurant Employees without Money

There are many small restaurants scattered across the U.S. struggling to compete with big name restaurant franchises and corporations. While their pockets aren't deeper, these small businesses have something those franchise restaurants may have lost during their growth and expansions, a personal touch ...and who is in charge of providing that personal touch? Your employees, of course!

Motivated Employees Needed for Small Business Success

Your employees play a vital role in your small business and their actions can lead to quick success or failure. In fact, many customers say they will frequent a restaurant for the service provided as much as for the food served. When employees don't report for work wearing a smile and feeling motivated, your small biz can suffer and customer service fall short of what is considered acceptable.

If you asked other small business owners for advice, they might tell you to consider wage increases. However, with the overhead and food costs associated with running a restaurant, employee raises may not be the right option for your business. You may find it necessary to look for new ways to motivate your employees by thinking outside the box instead of reaching into your pockets.

How to Keep Restaurant Employees Motivated

You should award pay increases within your small business when employees are providing excellent service and you are seeing the results of those efforts. To motivate employees, look for other methods, incentives, competitions and benefits. Here are some of the more popular ways to motivate employees in small biz restaurants today.

Benefits and Recognition

You can easily offer benefits and special recognition to employees when they are providing exceptional service to your customers. Showing your appreciation and approval will also motivate them to smile more and provide better service. If your employees are deserving, reward them with short term benefits such as a special parking space, an extra break, or a pass to wear blue jeans once a week.

Special Status

Choosing an employee of the month is an age old practice which also works, and requires nothing more than the purchase of a plaque to hang on the wall. You can also give small biz restaurant employees special pins to wear as a reward, giving them special status with customers as well as co-workers.

Complimentary Meals

Hungry employees are grumpy employees. Rewarding employees with complimentary meals can also motivate and inspire a better work effort. You may choose one of two options, by either purchasing the meal out of pocket for your employee or giving out special tokens which can be redeemed on or off duty for a free meal or a specific amount such as $2 off of a meal. There are several small biz benefits to this method. Off duty employees will often bring their families to dine in while redeeming the token, bringing you additional sales rather than costing you money.

These are just a few of the many ways that modern small business restaurants are using to motivate employees without pay increases. While pay increases are a necessary part of running a successful business, raises should be used to reward longevity and everyday work ethic.