7 Ideas to Boost Employee Morale in Restaurants 2024

Although every restaurant is different, our general advice can help boost restaurant employee morale and satisfaction anywhere in the industry. Learn how and why to boost employee morale in restaurants with these 7 ideas.

Happy to share your best tips? Discuss them with our expert team, trained to advise restaurants on making the best decisions today.

What Boosts Restaurant Employee Morale?

Morale refers to a team’s level of satisfaction and confidence in their work. High morale improves teamwork and good organisation. In sum, boosting morale

Encourages staff discipline and committal to delegated tasks

Promotes productivity, increasing overall team efficiency 

Inspires better customer relations when it comes to processing guests and cover allocation

When supportive management is available and managerial personnel treat teams excellently, a boost in restaurant employee morale may follow. Here are some supportive frameworks restaurants can use right now to boost and keep team morale high.

learn how Carbonara App helps with boosting restaurant staff morale
“Man and Woman HandShake” by Jack Sem via Flickr and semtrio (Creative Commons 2.0)

1. Acquire the Best Manager

Training a good restaurant manager should be a restaurant owner’s primary responsibility role . 

Managers are the engines of the hospitality trade. Their responsibilities are vital, ensuring restaurant staff know what work needs to be done. Their duties include:

  • Coordinating employee activities. This means both front- and back-of-house restaurant duties, from negotiating staff rotas and training to taking reservations and greeting customers cordially. Managers are leaders in best practices.
  • Leading customer services. Central to the indoor guest experience, managers help to ensure customer relations run smoothly. They maintain high standards on food and beverages, respond to customer queries, and advise customers on what to do in the event of a complaint.
  • Processing administrative tasks. Recruitment, financial reporting, and health-and-safety compliance all come under a manager’s hat. They oversee tasks to ensure optimal workflow and productivity, proactively supervising staff on all the nitty-gritty daily operations of a restaurant.

So, where does restaurant employee morale come in? Overall, restaurant managers are the heart and soul of employee engagement. It is up to them to provide regular support and guidance for staff when necessary. Like ship captains, they are the masters that guide teams. 

With this in mind, restaurant owners need to choose their managers carefully. A National Bureau of Economic Research paper reveals that personalities and individual qualities themselves make good management. Analysts call this human capital — that is, the qualities and merits of a person, their attributes including skills and individual capacity. 

So ensure managers show the correct criteria. In regard to leadership, for example, look out for key qualities such as professionalism and motivational ability — not forgetting affability and good manners.

2. Go For Goals

Well-run restaurants regularly set targets. Goals can establish a positive psychology among team members, especially when eventually met.

The simplest advice is most likely the best: Restaurants should set goals one step at a time. Be transparent about key performance metrics. Communicate your restaurant’s profit margins to your team. Establish both short- and long-term thinking. This could promote collaborative thinking, getting staff involved to divulge in data on an equal plain. Since everyone feels they have something to contribute, this promotes confident teamwork. 

For more advice on establishing goals to boost employee morale in restaurants this year and next, read more in our article titled “Best Restaurant New Year Goals” to further boost restaurant staff motivation and goal-making habits.

3. Focus on What You Can Control

Menu engineering, for instance, allows restaurants to evaluate the most popular and most profitable menu items customers buy regularly. This is a data-driven process that gives restaurants an edge on pricing their best-selling items. Selecting a good design with “starred” menu items — i.e., the best sellers — evenly placed and visible can help push customers to pick the most profitable items. 

Importantly, menu-engineering to increase restaurant sales is something that restaurant teams can control. The hospitality industry has confronted so many challenges in recent years. It makes sense to concentrate on one thing, a reachable, doable goal to boost restaurant staff morale.

boosting staff morale in restaurants
“Trophies” by Brad K. via Flickr (Creative Commons 2.0)

4. Don’t Forget to Celebrate!

Goals can be tricky sometimes, but when you complete them it’s time to applaud your team’s efforts. This is good behaviour that teams can engage in to reflect on what went well, and of course, have fun. 

Such occasions help restaurants create a rewards system to accomplish more goals. Crafting positive habits for further goal achievement means that restaurant employees can look forward to the eventual pay off for putting in all the hard effort.

5. Enact an Employee Appreciation Day

To foster a healthy restaurant culture and further boost employee morale in restaurants, owners can enact an official stance on appreciating their workforce. The easiest way to do so is to bring in an employee appreciation day.

Hospitality Action, a charity, has listed the benefits in showing your appreciation toward staff. “Feeling appreciated helps increase morale,” they have said. “Research in the US also found a strong correlation between employee engagement and guest satisfaction. So, what’s not to like?”

Of course, appreciation doesn’t stop there. Regularly expressing your trust and faith in employees with a dash of enthusiasm can go a long way in keeping restaurant staff morale high. Therefore, ongoing conversations further build up a sense of meaning and purpose in employee work.

6. Identify Problems With Workflow

Various reservation-based restaurants have found that using a pen-and-paper schedule to process covers is insufficient. Limitations include

  • Not being able to access the reservation guest list because another staff member is using it
  • Struggling to process guest details due to handwriting errors, such as indecipherability
  • Restricted movement in the restaurant because a guest ledger is immobile and kept in one place at one time.

We recently interviewed a top restaurant in north Italy, discovering how they decided to deal with the problem. Read more.

Problematic processes can have a detrimental effect on restaurant staff motivation. Understanding that staff are struggling with a restaurant process is not enough. Identify the problem, recognise the unnecessary challenges it presents, and work towards removing it altogether.

7. Employ Restaurant Technology 

Restaurant technology is all about working with and enhancing the restaurant employee experience. The tools it offers are beneficial and often revenue-enhancing, an evidence-based claim, especially when the current options available tend to be cost free

The root of a restaurant’s success is based in their team. The more staff can focus on the processes that matter (interacting with customers, delivering on timely seating), the better they’ll perform. 

Improving workflow with a restaurant app is vital to boosting staff morale in today’s economy. Its many features — from online reservations to QR code queue management — are specially designed to save staff time. Read more about these features in better detail. Lifting the weight from staff shoulders has never been easier.