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How to Motivate Restaurant Employees to Increase Revenue

By Abu Hena Mostofa Kamal Last Updated -- Wednesday, 2023-07-12

Knowing how to motivate restaurant employees to increase revenue is a must-have knowledge for a restaurant owner or manager! You know how significant it is to have engaged staff to make your restaurant successful. Motivated restaurant employees provide exceptional service and contribute significantly to revenue growth. They also deliver memorable dining experiences. This blog will explore various ways to motivate your restaurant employees so that you become able to create a positive work environment that encourages growth, productivity, and higher revenue. So, let's discover the secrets to unleashing the full potential of your restaurant staff!

Why Should You Motivate Restaurant Employees?

Motivating restaurant employees yields numerous benefits. It is vital for creating a positive work environment. It brings several advantages to the table, along with boosting revenue. Motivated restaurant staff can enhance the customer experience and improve productivity. Motivation is needed to retain talented staff and foster employee engagement. It can promote a positive work culture and ultimately drive revenue and profitability. By investing in restaurant employee motivation, restaurant owners and managers can create a thriving business that stands out in a competitive industry. So, if you are starting a restaurant business, you should know how to motivate restaurant employees.


The top reasons to motivate restaurant employees are given below.

1. Enhanced Customer Experience: Motivated employees tend to provide exceptional customer service. When your restaurant staff feel valued and motivated, they go above and beyond to ensure customer satisfaction. It creates a positive impression on customers. Their positive attitude and willingness to meet customer needs create a memorable dining experience. It helps to create customer loyalty, get positive reviews, and increase ROI.

2. Improved Productivity: In every business, motivated staff tend to be more productive and efficient. The restaurant business is not an exception. If you can motivate your staff, they will take pride in their work and strive to achieve goals. Motivated staffs are proactive in finding solutions. They are less likely to engage in time-wasting activities or lack commitment. These result in improved operational efficiency and higher productivity levels.

For example, when a restaurant server feels appreciated and motivated, they go the extra mile to ensure a pleasant dining experience, resulting in higher tips and positive reviews.

3. Improved Staff Retention: Motivation plays an important role in employee retention. Based on Teamsgate's research, Motivated employees have an 87% lower chance of resigning. You can motivate your restaurant employees to create a positive work environment. They stay with the restaurant for the long term when they feel appreciated and supported. It reduces turnover rates and the associated costs of recruiting and training new staff. 

For instance, recognising and rewarding outstanding performance can make employees feel valued and less likely to seek employment elsewhere. Your experienced employees will create a more knowledgeable and cohesive team. It will ultimately benefit the restaurant's performance.

4. Higher Employee Engagement: It is proved that motivated employees are actively engaged in their work. They take ownership of their responsibilities, demonstrate initiative, and contribute to the restaurant's overall success.

Engaged employees offer innovative ideas, suggest process improvements, and take on additional responsibilities. It results in continuous growth and development for both the employees and the restaurant business.

5. Positive Work Culture: Motivation fosters a positive work culture, encouraging teamwork and collaboration among restaurant employees. It helps to create an efficient work culture. When employees feel motivated, supported, and recognised for their efforts, it fosters a sense of belonging, teamwork, and camaraderie.

A positive work culture promotes collaboration, effective communication, and mutual respect among employees. It leads to a harmonious and productive work environment. Motivated staffs support and help each other. It leads to smoother operations and a better overall dining experience.

For example, organising team-building activities or creating an incentive program that encourages collective achievements can promote collaboration among staff.

6. Positive reputation and brand image: You can create a positive brand image and reputation for the restaurant by motivating your employees. When staff are enthusiastic, engaged, and passionate about their work, it reflects in their interactions with customers and the restaurant's overall ambience.

Positive word-of-mouth and online reviews from satisfied customers can attract new diners and enhance the restaurant's reputation.

7. Increased creativity and innovation: If you motivate your restaurant employees, they can contribute fresh ideas and suggestions to improve restaurant operations. By fostering a motivating environment, restaurant owners can inspire creativity and innovation among their employees.

For instance, holding regular brainstorming sessions or implementing suggestion boxes can encourage staff to share their insights and propose improvements.

8. Increased Revenue and Profitability: Ultimately, motivated employees contribute to increased revenue and profitability for the restaurant. They attract more customers through their exceptional customer service, increased productivity, and commitment to achieving goals. It drives repeat business and generates positive word-of-mouth referrals. And this leads to higher revenue and improved financial performance for the restaurant.

Best Ways To Motivate Restaurant Employees

There are many ways to motivate restaurant staff. Not all of them are appropriate for all cultures and situations. You have to understand what you will do at which level. Not all good strategies are good for every type of restaurant. But here, we will discuss the practical and proven ways to motivate restaurant employees.


Let's see the best ways to motivate restaurant employees that work every time.


Everybody wants flexibility because we all have complexity in our daily life. A Harvard Business Review report reveals that in a survey of over 1,500 U.S. workers, 96% expressed their need for flexibility. One can not give their hundred per cent if their mind is disturbed. Friends and family issue also arises many times in our life. We can cope with many problems in no time, and many of the issues take time. So, we have to balance work and life.

If your restaurant employees have mental breakdowns during work, approve their early leave. If any staff need leave or short leave during office period for self-improvement class or family party, allow them to attend. Offer flexible schedules to your restaurant staff. You can also let them set their own schedule.

This type of flexibility and autonomy creates a positive atmosphere in the workplace. Thus make your restaurant an efficient service area.

Day Off

A business where an employee gets extra benefits like a day off is considered to have a good working culture. People love to join this type of working place. They work enthusiastically to increase the revenue of the business.

Surprise day off can be a cost-effective way to motivate your restaurant staff. You can choose the option once a month for a restaurant employee. You will get better performance from each one. You can offer this leave day only to the best employee of the month.

Work-Life Balance

For a restaurant business, changing shifts is a hassle for staff. Because there are many times we may have emergency tasks outside of the restaurant or the physical condition is not OK to do a job there. In that period, if the staff has to wait an unknown period to get permission to leave or shift change, that is really sad for them and inefficient for your restaurant business.

If you establish a smooth shift-changing system, staff will feel relief. You can also close your restaurant or announce vacation for major employee life events. The work-life balance will help your restaurant staff inspire to work with better efficiency, which ultimately helps to generate more revenue. According to a ZIPPIA report, 57% of surveyed employees say that an unsatisfactory work-life balance is a significant concern when considering a job.

Do you have a shift swap policy? If not, let's make one. Your employees will get the benefits they want and feel motivated to work for you.


Creating healthy competition can motivate your restaurant employees. Create a daily, weekly or monthly competition for your restaurant staff. Arrange special prizes for the winners. This can be a game changer to increase efficiency in your restaurant.

You can motivate your restaurant employee at a small cost by using this "competition" technique. You can use many types of competition in your restaurant, like - who can serve more, clean more, design the best food combo offer, cook in a specific period and make the best artistic food presentation.

Making your customer satisfied is the main goal of a restaurant. So, ensure the prizes are given away properly, and the competition does not negatively impact the restaurant business.


Giveaways are an exciting idea to make your employees motivated. As part of your employee motivation program, offer various giveaways to show your appreciation.

You can offer lottery tickets, shopping gift cards, tickets to films, art shows, clubs, concerts and many other things. It provides opportunities for your restaurant employees to enjoy entertainment and cultural experiences outside of work.

These giveaways not only serve as incentives but also create a sense of anticipation among your employees. By offering such rewards, you can build a motivated workforce that feels valued and rewarded for their hard work and dedication. Surely these motivated employees help to boost your restaurant sales.

Celebration and Recognition

Everybody loves a celebration! And celebration helps to create joy in the mind, and thus, people feel motivated. So, apply the same rule in your restaurant business. Celebrate working anniversaries, monthly goal achievement and every other opportunity to celebrate with your team.

Give a bonus or raise to your employees on their working anniversary and celebrate with a big cake. Promote their individual achievement on the restaurant’s social media profile. Thus they will feel recognised and motivated. It will help you to keep the staff in your restaurant for a long time. Customers notice when they see the same staff for a long time, they build faith that the restaurant's working environment is good enough to keep their staff for a long period. This also helps to make repeat customers and increase your profitability.


It is crucial to establish effective feedback mechanisms to maintain a motivated workforce. In a study conducted by ZIPPIA, it was found that 65% of employees express a desire for more feedback. You can use comment cards for your restaurant customers to share their experiences and suggestions. It demonstrates to your employees that their efforts are acknowledged and taken seriously.

It is equally important to seek feedback from your staff actively. Create a culture that encourages employee input. By regularly soliciting their input through surveys, meetings, or suggestion boxes, you empower your employees and make them feel valued.

Acts upon their feedback promotes continuous improvement and innovation within your restaurant. It shows that you trust your staff and are open to incorporating new ideas. You can empower your employees and make them feel valued by regularly soliciting their input through surveys, meetings, or suggestion boxes.

Working Requirement 

Restaurant employees work best in their work with their preferred tools and equipment. Using tools the restaurant staff wants to use can greatly enhance their motivation and efficiency. So, ask them what they need and find the most effective and comfortable equipment for them.

Different employees are motivated by different factors. So, make it a priority to learn what motivates each staff member. Engage in open and honest conversations, whether it's recognition for their hard work, opportunities for professional growth, or a supportive work-life balance. You should understand and address their unique motivations. Then create an environment where employees feel appreciated and motivated to perform at their best. These all lead to a profitable restaurant business.

Mindful Work Environment

Having a clean and healthy workplace is very important to motivate restaurant employees. The study published in Frontiers in Psychology found that 73% of the impact of mindfulness on engagement was direct. Create a mindful work environment in your restaurant that fosters positivity. Also, prioritise workplace health by maintaining cleanliness standards and providing necessary resources for hygiene and sanitation. Create an open communication environment so employees can freely express their ideas, concerns, and suggestions.

Try to make your restaurant an enjoyable place to be. Organise team-building activities, celebrate achievements, and create a positive atmosphere encouraging collaboration.

To ensure your employees are well-nourished and energised, you can offer complimentary snacks throughout the day and provide free meals for those working during their shifts.

It would be best to have a dedicated employee break area for relaxation and recharge. By creating a mindful work environment that promotes health, openness, fun, and well-being, your restaurant staff will feel happy and motivated, enhancing productivity and customer satisfaction. And your revenue will skyrocket too.

Growth and Development Opportunities

Providing growth opportunities is key to motivating your restaurant employees. A company should provide its employees with opportunities to develop their skills and help in advancing their careers. You can increase their motivation and build loyalty and long-term commitment by offering growth opportunities.

One way to provide growth opportunities is through training and development programs. Invest in workshops, seminars, and certifications that enhance their knowledge and expertise. Train your restaurant staff to keep pace with new technology, such as a restaurant management system.

Encourage employees to take on new responsibilities and provide them with mentorship and guidance to help them succeed. You can also create a clear career path within your restaurant. Offer promotions based on merit and performance. Provide regular performance evaluations and constructive feedback to help employees track their progress. 

When employees get growth opportunities, they understand your commitment to their personal and professional development. This satisfies your staff, resulting in a stronger and more dedicated workforce which helps to grow your restaurant business.

Top Motivational Quotes for Restaurant Employees

If you strive to succeed in the restaurant business and want to motivate your employees towards your goal, you should listen to what other successful people say. Here are some motivational quotes that will help motivate any restaurant businessman. 

"The business of feeding people is the most amazing business in the world." -  José Andrés, Chef and Founder of World Central Kitchen.

"I've only had two rules. Do all you can and do it the best you can. It's the only way you ever get that feeling of accomplishing something." - Colonel Sanders, Founder of KFC.

"My most visible accomplishment in life has been the building of Domino's Pizza from a single store into the world's largest pizza delivery company." - Tom Monaghan, Co-Founder of Domino's Pizza.

"When you're surrounded by people who share a passionate commitment around a common purpose, anything is possible." - Howard Schultz, Starbucks executive chairman and former CEO 

"It all comes back to the basics. Serve customers the best-tasting food at a good value in a clean, comfortable restaurant, and they'll keep coming back." – Dave Thomas, Founder of Wendy's.

"Although the skills aren't hard to learn, finding the happiness and finding the satisfaction and finding fulfilment in continuously serving somebody else something good to eat, is what makes a really good restaurant." - Mario Batali, an American chef, writer, and former restaurateur.

"We are here to learn, to make a difference and to have fun." W. Edwards Deming, an American professor and author.

"If anything is good for pounding humility into you permanently, it's the restaurant business." - Anthony Bourdain, an American celebrity chef, author, and travel documentarian.

"Although a great restaurant experience must include great food, a bad restaurant experience can be achieved through bad service alone. Ideally, service is invisible. You notice it only when something goes wrong." – Dana Spiotta, an American author.

"Our restaurant is more than just a business; it's a passion project. Let's pour our hearts and souls into every dish we serve and every guest we welcome." - Ryan Turner, Restaurant Owner

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Motivating restaurant employees is a crucial factor in driving revenue growth. It ensures the ultimate success of the restaurant business. By fostering a positive work environment, providing recognition and rewards, offering opportunities for growth and development, and implementing effective communication strategies, restaurant owners and mana gers can inspire their teams to go above and beyond. Employees who feel valued and empowered become more engaged, passionate, and motivated to deliver exceptional service. This heightened motivation increases productivity and enhances the overall dining experience, ultimately attracting more customers and boosting revenue.

After reading this article thoroughly, now you know why you should and how to motivate your restaurant employees to increase revenue. Always remember, a motivated team is the main ingredient in the recipe for success in the restaurant industry.

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