Is your restaurant in a hot spot beach location, or busy ski mountain resort area and most of your business happens during those peak months? Then your restaurant is most likely only open on a seasonal basis as financially it doesn’t warrant you being open all year long. However, we all know good staff is hard to come by, and you can often loose staff to more permanent positions when you close your business down at the end of a season. These seasonal employees get you through the busiest times, and often since they are temporary they can lack motivation.
So how can you help encourage your seasonal employees to work hard? We’ve put together some handy tips that will make sure they are motivated and keep coming back season after season.
1. Be the leader you were made to be
Lets start with the basics, you’re either a business owner, or you’ve been hired to be in charge. So take charge and step up as leader of the pack. Nine out of 10 problems in an organization start at the top—in this scenario, that’s you.
One of the most common reasons for business failure is a lack of leadership, so don’t let that be you. (And not having a restaurant point-of-sale system to manage inventory and sales reports). Restaurant owners and managers get frustrated, and complaining along with their staff instead of solving problems and showing their team what to do isn’t the way to handle it. So get some help and make sure your restaurant has the systems in place to help it succeed.
Staff will replicate managers, so if you work hard, they work hard. Be dedicated, communicate, and be stern. Watching you put in the time and energy is going to motivate your team to perform better.
2. Staff meals
More often then not restaurant businesses don’t provide there employees with a meal. If your working an 8 hr shift in a place of work that specializes in food then you should be offering your staff some food. This helps your staff power through there shift with a feeling that they are being cared for. If you don’t want to offer each staff member their choice in food, set up a family style meal. You can organize this before or after shifts depending on the shifts.
Another benefit to feeding your team is that they can get to know the menu and give real thoughtful recommendations to your customers. They can also act as your trial for new dishes and give you constructive feedback.
Once fed and full, your team is going to be happier and more motivated to work hard for you.
I’ve worked for places that don’t feed you and let me tell you offering a discount isn’t enough-save that for when they aren’t working. When they are scheduled to work the least you can do is feed them.
3. Be the employer of choice
Creating and managing a positive work culture and environment is your job as the business owner/manager. Remembering that unhappy employees can effect your bottom line. Make sure that you know what is happening with your staff at all times. If two waiters are gossiping about a cook , put a stop to it instantly. If one of your line managers is treating there staff unfairly, nip it in the butt. Again lead by example-keep the negativity out of your business.
Getting to know your staff is a great way to keep the morales high. Celebrate birthdays, engagements, graduations. You are with these employees everyday for several months at a time, the environment should be family like. You want your staff to want to come to work.
4. Offer incentives
There are many, many ways that you can incentivize employees to perform well. Contests, for example, are a great way to motivate employees whether the goal is to have the best customer service record or highest sales.
Try announcing a contest at the beginning of the day and at day’s end, award the winner (and do it publicly). The more fun you have with it the better!
5. Long-term potential
Some of the employees you hire seasonally could be major assets in the future. Take the time to discuss future opportunities for the people you hire this season – trust me they want grow, it’s human nature.
Make it clear that you consider hiring people that exemplify the values of the organization and show potential in their work. Remember to emphasize your vision, mission, and core values from the beginning.
6. Longterm bonuses
Turnover is high in the restaurant industry, so reward staff that sticks with you. At the end of every season they come back give a small Thank You bonus, and a larger bonus at the beginning of the next one . The bonus is a meaningful token of appreciation, one that helps you decrease turnover rate and build loyalty.
7. Stay connected
The truth is that not every staff member will be back the next season. Sometimes you have students working between terms, or kids that stay with there families during the season. Even though people will have to leave, keep in contact with them so you can recruit them for next year. If you bring in people who already know your processes and products, they will reach full productivity much faster next year.
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See you next week!
Your devoted hostess,