Food Service Employee Incentives
By Susie Ross Founder, Waiter Training | August 03, 2010
In trainings across the country, the resounding theme among long-term servers is quality benefits and bonuses. Bonuses are usually tied to sales and productivity, which translates to higher check averages.
These days, without fringe benefits like health care and 401ks, employers have to get creative with ways to keep staff interested and motivated. At the same time, they have to keep their own bottom line a priority for survival!
This dilemma can become an opportunity for you, the employer, to motivate your staff in new and creative ways. Think about the things that really excite them. Maybe feeling like they own a part of the company is one way to make your staff get motivated and really sell. Stock options are offered at some restaurants to attract and keep quality staff. Maybe you have a younger staff and some freedom of scheduling would be a nice way to boost morale.
Whatever the goal, contests between your servers create healthy, competitive spirits. Keep your contests short and the goals attainable. Thirty days is the maximum time frame in which to keep a contest; they'll lose interest after that. You can always start fresh after the 30-day period is over. Rotate contests and bring the popular ones back when you feel boredom is setting in.
Most restaurant owners and managers agree that contests that last one to two weeks are the most effective. Thirty days is good for big goals; keep the smaller ones to a shorter time frame. If you want to use long term goals, the prizes might be in the form of bonuses.
Whether you use contests or bonuses, both involve sales, of course. The most popular sales contest is "highest check average" in a span of one or two weeks. Great contest - at first. You'll soon find that the same one or two people are winning that one! So you're compelled to hold another contest that rewards the "highest check average increase" to those servers who are really trying. It takes some people longer than others to figure out how they can be effective sales people.