It’s hard to underestimate the role your team plays in long-term restaurant success.

The food, ambiance and overall experience are of course vital, but it’s the team that makes all of that possible. Therefore, it goes without saying that the quality of the people you employ has a direct impact on your restaurant’s ability to thrive.

Unfortunately, the restaurant industry is one that has always suffered from high staff turnover and contributes to an Australian job churn rate of 15%.

So, how do you keep the staff you work so hard to recruit? You ensure their morale remains at a consistently high level.

Here’s how.

1. Ensure they’re acknowledged

We’ve all received a hearty pat on the back from a boss at some stage during our working lives.

It feels good, doesn’t it?

One of the simplest ways to improve staff morale is to regularly acknowledge their individual and team efforts. And the results don’t need to be astronomical, either; every achievement, big or small, should be praised.

Try implementing an employee of the month program and, when someone goes out of their way to improve the guest experience, make sure you shine the spotlight on them.

2. Invest in training

It takes around 8 to 26 weeks for employees to achieve full productivity. During that induction period, you probably offer on-the-job training, but what about when they’re finally settled in? Does the training stop?

The restaurant industry is forever evolving, and staff need to keep up to date with the latest health and safety, allergen and service trends. The more you invest in on-going training, the more valued they’ll feel.

3. Identify and reward longevity

A brilliant way to boost morale and ensure fewer employees leave your restaurant is to reward those who stay with you for long periods of time.

The rewards don’t have to cost a fortune – even a surprise cinema ticket and meal voucher for a long-term employee might be enough to make them feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

If you want to spend more on a reward, go for it. Remember that it’s very expensive to recruit new employees, therefore those who stick by you are a lot more cost-effective to keep happy while setting a standard for the rest of the team.

4. Don’t take yourself too seriously

Sure, you’ve won awards of which you’re proud, and your restaurant has a brilliant reputation, but that doesn’t mean the staff can’t have a bit of fun while working.

Running a restaurant is a serious business, but if you occasionally let your staff indulge in less serious stuff, it’ll demonstrate that you care about their work-life balance and happiness.

Team building exercises can work here, but just the presence of a break-out room where people can entertain themselves during breaks might be enough.

Inject a bit of humour and audience participation into team meetings, too – make sure they’re not dreaded by those in attendance.

5. Let them have a say

Your junior waitress might have a brilliant idea about how to make more effective use of the restaurant’s Twitter account. The chef might be harbouring a desire to create a more allergen-aware menu.

Unfortunately, you’ll miss out on these opportunities if you don’t let them have a say.

Employee morale will increase the more you involve them in business-critical decisions. And that doesn’t mean handing over access to the bank account or letting them make their own decisions about the rota.

Instead, regularly ask for their feedback on how elements of the business are being run. During one-to-ones, find out if they have any ideas they’d like to run by you and make it clear that all feedback will be listened to and considered.

When you implement something suggested by a member of your team, place it in the spotlight and make them employee of the month – it’ll encourage others to do the same and demonstrate that you value everyone’s input.

6. Schedule some non-work activities

When was the last time you all headed to the beach as a team? Can you remember the last staff night out?

Research suggests that your perception of happiness in the workplace increases if you laugh more. So, in addition to that break-out room and air of ‘we don’t take ourselves too seriously’, make sure you schedule regular non-work activities that take the team away from the restaurant.

Once again, although this comes at a cost, it will pale in comparison to the cost associated with regularly replacing staff due to low levels of morale.

Wrapping up

Finding the best people isn’t easy (we’ll be offering some advice along those lines in future blogs), but our tips above should help you keep the best you already have.

More importantly, it’ll enable you to build a team that helps your business grow and offer dining experiences that live long in the memories of your customers.


H&L POS – working with you to help you grow your business 

H&L POS has been delivering POS solutions with extensive back of house and staff management systems to the hospitality industry for more than 30 years. As hospitality people at heart, H&L understand the critical requirements for each food and beverage operation. We have staff in every state of Australia providing direction and advice as you grow and as technology changes.

Call us at 1800 778 340, email or fill in the form below to discuss your venue’s needs.