restaurant employee benefits
by Laura-Andreea Voicu

Jobs in the service industry, particularly in restaurants and other eateries, can often be thankless roles. Low salaries, long hours, and high-stress levels can often contribute to high staff turnover rates.

According to a study by 7shifts, turnover rates can range from 41% to 62%, depending on the position. If you run any sort of restaurant business, that can mean extra costs when it comes to hiring and training new staff.

So, how can you combat those high levels of staff turnover?

With many staff seeing their roles as either part-time or casual, there will always be higher turnover rates than in other industries, but you still want to improve your retention rates. Knowing the different restaurant employee benefits you can provide can help you achieve that.

Why Do You Need to Offer Restaurant Employee Benefits?

Entry-level salaries are not always the best, so you need to consider that fact, as well as the general turnover rates in the industry as a whole.

By including an attractive range of restaurant employee benefits in your employment contracts, you can demonstrate that you value your workforce and care about them on every level, from their health to their career progression.

When you offer a good package of benefits, you can help boost staff’s morale levels (and maintain those levels), which means your staff will be happier and more productive.

While, of course, you have to keep one eye on your bottom line and profit margins, you should also focus on the potential costs involved in constantly hiring new staff.

Offering good benefits can be part of your overall plan to ensure that your restaurant meets its goals and achieves success. Happy staff should always be an integral part of that plan.

10 Restaurant Employee Benefits That Keep Service Staff Happy

Providing comprehensive restaurant employee benefits can not only help you improve your staff retention rate. It may also help ensure that your staff is happy working for you, something that can translate to good customer service and happy customers (though you need to also provide good food!).

1. Health insurance

With entry-level positions averaging $29,233 per year, healthcare costs could be devastating for some of your employees.

While there is no legal obligation to provide such insurance if you employ less than 50 full-time employees, this can still be a huge benefit to include if you do so voluntarily. Having that “cushion” can be a very attractive benefit to all your staff.

It can also protect you in the case of any unfortunate workplace injuries. Staff with appropriate healthcare provisions may be less likely to take a case against your workplace. Rather than running to find personal injury case management software, they can simply go to their doctor.

2. Promote mental health

Restaurant work can be very stressful; long hours, extremely busy shifts, and other factors quickly add up. Invest in your staff by investing in their mental health and wellness so that the chances of them burning out are reduced. Some of the things you could do include:

  • Arrange discounts with local gyms, yoga lessons, or other wellness therapies.
  • Direct them to dedicated organizations such as Restaurant After Hours.
  • Hold regular peer support sessions with relevant topics.
  • Be sympathetic if staff need time off due to stress-related conditions.

3. Career development

Let’s be honest here; Bob really doesn’t want to be a dishwasher all his life. Why incur costs in recruiting and training when you can promote from within?

Hold one-on-one meetings with your staff and ask what their aspirations are. You can then look at training and learning opportunities (both online and in real life) to see if you can develop their careers while retaining their services.

4. Team building

The restaurant industry relies on good teamwork and communication. While your business may be a busy one (and thus, your employees are busy too), consider holding informal social events—or even a weekend away.

This will foster and nurture that feeling of being part of a team. By doing so, you can improve workplace communication and productivity as well as motivate your team.

5. Listen to feedback

While not strictly a restaurant employee benefit per se, ensuring there are open avenues of communication for staff to give feedback to management can make your employees feel more valued.

This can also highlight any issues that you may be unaware of. Although this can be difficult for larger businesses or chains, you could consider implementing enterprise HR that can help with payroll but can also aid with inclusiveness across your workforce.

6. Offer a work-life balance

There is no agreement on gender balance in the restaurant industry, but a lot of the lower and mid-level roles are filled by women.

However, whatever gender your workers are, there is a need for some semblance of work-life balance, especially when you consider the unsociable hours the industry works.

Look at ways you can help your staff to achieve that balance and consider factors such as PTO (paid time off) so that they can spend quality time with their family.

7. Offer incentives

Restaurant work can involve long hours with low remuneration, so offering extra incentives can be an attractive benefit. These can range from rewarding low levels of absenteeism to productivity bonuses, especially at peak holiday times.

Consider using apps and solutions like Monday integrations to evaluate your staff on an ongoing basis. This can also help you identify skills gaps and other areas where extra training may be needed.

8. Incremental salary increases

Overall, the food and beverage sector was hit hard by the pandemic. Many businesses in the industry are still in recovery mode as a result, and starting salaries may not be the most attractive.

However, offering incremental wage boosts can attract workers and be tied to business performance or loyalty. You could consider some sort of salary increase for every six months the person stays with you.

9. Free food and discounts

If you are working in a food-based business, you will expect some level of meal provision. Ensuring your staff have access to free meals while working can not only keep them happy, but it can also help them become experts on your menu.

That way, they can recommend dishes to your customers. You should also consider offering some level of discount when they dine with you during their time off.

You can even create personalized discount coupon codes for every staff member containing their name so you can easily keep track of the discounts and when they’re used.

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Check out the video below to learn how easy it is to create discount coupon codes with GloriaFood:

10. Transport subsidies

Given the long and unsociable hours many staff in the restaurant industry work, commuting can be problematic and expensive. You could include a sliding scale of subsidies (higher rates late at night, for example) to take some of the financial pressure off.

You should also think about the safety of your female workers and could negotiate special rates with a local taxi firm to ensure that those employees get home safely late at night.

Employee Benefits: Key to Staff Retention

At the end of the day, you want to build a strong culture within your restaurant that encourages productivity and helps improve your staff retention rates.

That culture has to include some of the restaurant employee benefits listed above. They can keep your staff content in their roles as well as ensure that they know they are valued.

Of course, many businesses are operating on tight margins and may still be recovering from enforced periods of closure. But when you consider the costs of implementing any benefits, you should also consider the costs of staff turnover.

While there may be a certain inevitability in some staff leaving, being caught in a constant cycle of hiring and training could be financially damaging in the long term.

This article is a guest post.

photo of GloriaFood blog writer Laura-Andreea Voicu
Laura-Andreea Voicu

Laura-Andreea Voicu is an experienced content writer with a knack for marketing and SEO. She creates guides and resources designed to help restaurants grow their presence online and boost sales.

She has been featured on the Oracle Food and Beverage Blog and wrote for Search Engine Journal, Clutch, Sender, Venngage, Quickbooks, and many more.

Find me on LinkedIn.