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Top 5 Ways to Show Restaurant Employees Appreciation

By January 21, 2023 No Comments

Top 5 Ways to Show Restaurant Employees Appreciation


By David Scott Peters


It’s getting harder and harder to find and keep good restaurant team members. Showing your employees that they are appreciated has become the number one priority for restaurant owners who want to have a full staff. To help you stop the revolving door of employees, I’m going to share with you my top five ways to show restaurant employees appreciation.


On a weekly basis in my group coaching calls, I hear how hard it is to find anyone to work. People are leaving the restaurant and hospitality industry because they are tired of the BS from working in the weeds, shift after shift, to rude customers. So, what is a restaurant owner to do? The short answer is what you’re doing right now: learning ways to attract, hire and keep the right people.


For fun, let’s go backwards.


No. 5: When your team members come in each day for every shift, go out of your way to say hello and call them by their first name. All too often, employees walk in, and managers have horse blinders on, focused on something other than employees. They don’t even look up; they just keep doing what they do. This makes employees feel unappreciated, like they’re just a number. I’m also going to tell you that studies show there’s one word that light people up. What they want to hear the most is their name. When you got out of your way to say, “Hey, good morning, how are you, David, I’m really glad to have you here today,” you are truly starting the day off right.


No. 4: Find someone doing something right and call them out for it. It’s so easy to find someone doing something wrong. Like wrong, wrong, change, change. But when you go out of your way to search for people doing something right, and then in front of customers or other employees, call them out for it, and tell them what a great job they did and why this customer has one of the best servers you have, or why everybody on the team should emulate this person, you’re showing them how much you appreciate them.


No. 3: Invest in your employee’s development. This is important. Spend time to make sure they learn to do a better job. Training is key to good employees. Training is key to people knowing what their job is, how to do it, how well it should be done, and more importantly, by when. Training is the key to consistent management and supervision. By investing in development of your employees, you’re going to ensure they want to stay with you.


No. 2: Have lunch or dinner with a team member to simply get to know them. This is something I employed in my past company and it helped me connect with my employees and understand their needs. I’ve got many members doing this now where you eat every day. So, any day that you’re in the restaurant, and this goes for your managers, pull one of your people once a week to have lunch with you. Don’t talk necessarily about the business unless they want to bring it up. The goal is to get to know them so they feel you care about them, that you’re going to learn their kids’ names or their dog, that their parent is ill, there is something going on in their lives, learn about their goals – even if it’s that they want to become a real estate agent. This tears down walls of you being the big bad owner, the big bad manager, and you’re going to see they’ll start to want to align with you because you took the time to learn something about them.


No. 1: This is my favorite. At the end of each shift, if that employee did a good job, go out of your way to shake their hand ,and say, thank you. One of the greatest restaurant owners I ever worked for would do this, and I cannot tell you how thrilled I was. Did I get a handshake every day? And a good job? No. I got a thank you, maybe, but a great job and a thank you every single day? Only on the days I did that. They meant something to me. I wanted to make him happy. I wanted to please him because he took an interest in me and noticed what I was doing.


Implementing these five ways to show your employees that you appreciate them will have a dramatic effect on your ability to find, hire and keep good team members.


David Scott Peters is an author, restaurant coach and speaker who coaches restaurant operators how to stop being prisoners of their businesses and to finally financial freedom. His first book, Restaurant Prosperity Formula: What Successful Restaurateurs Do, teaches the systems and traits restaurant owners must develop to run a profitable restaurant. Thousands of restaurants have worked with Peters to transform their businesses. Get his three principles to restaurant success at

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