Hungry for Job Satisfaction? Reward Your Employees


There’s a whole menu of reasons to develop an employee rewards program. By empowering, recognizing and rewarding employees, your restaurant can increase job satisfaction. Happier front-of-house and kitchen staff serve up better experiences to every table. And your establishment reduces costly employee turnover.

cafe staff

Job satisfaction is an issue for the restaurant industry, as shown in a number of studies. About half of restaurant employees describe their job satisfaction as ‘low.’[1]

Rewards can do what cash compensation can’t. Many human resources experts believe that non-cash rewards have a greater impact than plain dollars and cents. That belief is based on data; scientists who have studied motivation and behavior say that you need to praise the actions you want to encourage. Praise costs nothing. An extra dollop of reward delivered with praise does even more for positive feelings. When you tailor rewards to your employees’ lifestyle, you get 8 to 14 times the perceived value versus what you actually paid, according to compensation experts.[2]

What behaviors contribute to a more successful restaurant? Let’s look at the activities you want to encourage.

server laughing

Reward Communication

Help your customers let you know when an employee is doing a great job. Offer comment cards with the check or at the host stand, and monitor your online reviews. When an employee gets a good review in any source, reward them. Got a lot of positive feedback? Enter each individual review into a monthly raffle with assorted prizes. [3]

Encourage your employees to communicate with you, too. Simple online employee surveys can help you identify on-the-job concerns and issues. Enter the survey responses into a drawing for a prize, and you’ll get a broader range of responses.


Reward New Skills

Restaurant employees express more job satisfaction when they feel empowered in their roles. Besides helping employees advance in your organization, skills development makes your day-to-day service better. [4]

Give rewards when employees acquire new skills. For example, could could schedule staff training with your liquor, wine and beer salespeople, and do in-depth tastings when you introduce new menu items. Then coordinate contests around the training, based on product knowledge test scores or sales of the featured items. [5]

Reward Attendance

Staff needs to show up and be ready for service, plain and simple. So reward attendance. Perfect attendance for a specified period of time earns an entry into a raffle for merchandise or gift cards.[6]

As always, we’re here to help you spice up your business. A balanced diet of employee rewards helps you build a stronger, more successful operation.


[1] Restaurant workers express low levels of job satisfaction, survey shows

[2] Four ways to reward and motivate employees

[3] Creative ways to reward restaurant staff

[4] Restaurant workers express low levels of job satisfaction, survey shows

[5]  How to improve employee performance in bars

[6] Creative ways to reward restaurant staff