Mark your calendar for a special holiday tomorrow – Employee Appreciation Day! This isn’t just a day of recognition designed only for Corporate America, though. It’s a day set aside to acknowledge all employees from all industries, including restaurants.
From my 7 years of experience working in Chicago-area restaurants and bars, I know it’s important for restaurant employees to understand just how important they are and feel valued in their roles. Many restaurant industry workers are on their feet all day, hustling to serve customers and overloading their brains to remember each menu recipe and each specific order. So as a restaurant owner or operator, what can you do to make each of your hard-working employees feel appreciated?
Here are four ways to provide employee recognition and support your team:
Give a shout out to an employee for their hard work
Sometimes the constant rush and competition of ringing the highest sales can take over a simple “Thank you” or “Job well done” conversation. Take the time to make a “Shout Out” board that hangs up in the back of the house where managers and other employees can give a pat on the back to their fellow co-workers. You can also make a competition out of this: whoever has the highest number of “Shout Outs” each month wins lunch or dinner on the house before or after their shift.
Treat your team
Since shifts for employees in the restaurant industry are typically 10-12 hours, your employees will appreciate your appreciation by treating them to a special snack to enjoy during their break. Who doesn’t love cupcakes, cookies, or another quick bite? You could even make the treats using your restaurant’s brand as inspiration or an inside joke among your team to give the treat an extra special touch. Leave the treats in a common area in the back of house with a note saying how your team’s hard work deserved this reward. They will be surprised by the gesture and in return thank you by using their extra energy boost to work even harder!
Give your employees a token of appreciation
For most restaurants and bars, the busy holiday season begins right before Thanksgiving and ends right after Valentine’s Day, so Employee Appreciation Day is the perfect day to give your staff a gift for making it through the rush. A simple gesture such as a gift card or even some swag branded with your restaurant’s logo would be greatly appreciated. Giving your team branded items to wear or use outside the restaurant even doubles as a token of appreciation and a marketing tool. Depending on what’s right for your business, these branded items could include t-shirts, hats, coffee tumblers, or even water bottles.
Take advantage of social media
Since most restaurants and bars are on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, use your social media platforms to post photos of your employees and post updates that shine a light on your employees both at your restaurant and in your community. Whether they are supporting a local charity or running a marathon, every employee loves to know that their employer cares about them as a person and not just a worker. Program restaurant Ellary’s Greens frequently features their employees in social media posts with a photo and some quick blurbs about who they are and why they love their jobs. You can also post photos of your employee gatherings or your team in action at the restaurant or bar to showcase your customer service. Make sure to ask your employees for permission if you want to feature them on social media, but from my experience most of them will love the extra recognition that makes them feel special and appreciated.