If anything, the holidays are a great excuse for you as a restaurant owner to set aside some time to thank your employees. While there are a number of ways to show your gratitude, many employers use the season as a reason to throw their own holiday party.
After all, you’re in the business of offering guests a great time with delicious food, so why not offer that same kind of fun experience for your restaurant staff? Plus, many restaurant workers aren’t used to the experience of work parties like office workers are. This can be something extra special for them, as well as boost overall morale and help your staff members get to know each other outside their shifts.
If throwing a party for your restaurant staff sounds like a great idea, here are some things to keep in mind:
Even if your restaurant is used to catering, remember that this party is for your restaurant staff. Having them cook for their own catered party might make the event less special. You could set it up as a potluck, so every restaurant staff member brings something small. But if you have a small enough staff (and you think you can manage it), consider having you and your senior team (your managers and head chef) cook for the rest of your staff! That could be a fun way to share your own love of food — and also give your employees a chance to be waited on.
Here’s something to keep in mind: you don’t have to serve alcohol at your party, especially if you worry things will get out of hand (or if you have a staff of largely underage employees).
Besides the general concern of staff members overdoing it, alcohol can get expensive the more people you plan to host at the event. If you are worried about the cost of ordering extra alcohol for your party, why not put those funds into great food, door prizes, or even hiring a band instead! You can still do a fun non-alcoholic punch or warm holiday mocktail.
However, if you do decide to order beer, wine, and spirits, consider having a cab company on standby or provide free Ubers or Lyfts. Your employees will definitely appreciate the thought.
Make it fun
Don’t be afraid to go outside the box when it comes to making the party fun for your staff. Depending on what your overall team personality is like and how they interact, you can incorporate fun party games, rent a photo booth, or offer a prize raffle (with the proceeds going to a charity your staff chooses ahead of time). Just make sure that any games or activities are work appropriate and not a safety hazard — for example, maybe keep the Twister mat at home.
When you’re in the restaurant industry, it can be hard to find a day that everyone on your staff is off work simultaneously. That being said, do your very best to schedule the party on a day that the restaurant would already be closed. After all, you wouldn’t want to tell your restaurant staff you’re rewarding them with a party only to let some staff members know they’ll be deprived of a shift’s pay (and tips) because of it.
It’s also a good idea to try picking a day earlier in December if possible. Not only will your business be busy as it gets closer to the end of the month, but there’s more of a chance that your staff taking time off won’t be in town and could miss it.
Stay within your budget
While planning menus and picking out raffle prizes can be exciting, it’s easy to get carried away and overspend. Remember, if you’re offering end-of-year bonuses to your employees or plan to donate to charitable organizations, then you’ll need to balance your budget to include all the extra costs for the holidays (including the party). Sit down, calculate what you need for the party, and stick to that number to ensure you’ll have a happy new year as well as happy holidays.
Worried about making ends meet as the year wraps up? Download our free eBook “What’s Eating at Your Cash Flow?” to get some ideas on how to make it through the tough months ahead.