The foundation for any great business is its people. In the restaurant industry, especially, this is even more important. Attracting great people and keeping them happy and engaged is a challenge for our industry.

Labor costs are rising steadily, so being able to retain your team members is more important than ever. But how exactly can you do that? The truth is, there are many ways to answer this question. There’s not just one easy answer that is true across the board – unfortunately.

We asked this question to the members of our private Facebook group, “Restaurant Owners Startup and Growth,” and there was a very healthy discussion and great tips and ideas shared.

Here are a few:

Always Be Learning

Bernie, the owner of Craft Urban, had this to say, “Great question! There is no magic pill, general manager, consultant or system that will do this for you. This question is directed at you the leader. Culture is a reflection of your belief system and will take time to foster an environment which is inspirational for your employees. Look at these 3 good books as your starting off point: “Gung Ho” by Ken Blanchard, “Dare to Lead” by Brene Brown, and “Extreme Ownership” by Jacko Willink. You have to as the leader be in the mindset of ‘Always Learning.'”

Treat Them Well

Another member of the group, David Foster of Foster and Associates, believes that treating your employees well and giving them a voice is the key to employee loyalty.

He had this to say, “During my time as the Operations Director of four high volume restaurants, we sponsored men’s, women’s and Coed softball teams composed almost exclusively of our own employees. We also had a bowling league – not just a team, but an entire league. When our employees played together as well as worked together, that “family” bond was strengthened. Our turnover rate dropped and employee satisfaction skyrocketed. We also provided health insurance for our full-time employees. This helped curb turnover as well. We also had an employee comment box and held interactive employee meetings. The key is to give your team members a voice in your business. Treat your employees fairly and with respect and they will be loyal.”

Team Huddles

Ariana Rodriguez, who is a team manager at The Slice Factory, thinks that gathering the team before each shift is very valuable. Here is what her thoughts are on her own words, “Team huddles before every shift! I used to love having this with my manager and team. I really felt like it connected us and got us ready to work together.”

Leading by Example

A member of the group, Vivian Writer, put in her two cents. She says, “Never ask your team to do anything you wouldn’t do. Pitch in when needed. Do not allow the mentality of ‘that’s not my job.’ Stand up for your team. Cut out office bullying immediately when it happens. Organize a team building night. Celebrate the little things along with the big moments. Smile.”

Good Compensation

Kiley Delgado, owner of a bar in Portland, OR, believes that it really comes down to how team members are compensated. She says, “Most of it comes down to compensation. You can be the most empathetic, relatable boss in the world but if you don’t back up that sentiment with the tangible reward it’s empty. Provide benefits, give pay raises, dole out bonuses, give Christmas gifts, remember their birthdays…”

In closing…

Keeping your team culture healthy and engaged is important, no doubt. Finding the right solution for your business and your team is what’s important. Ask your employees what’s important to them, and find out how you can create a game plan to build a culture that you want.

For more ideas, insights, and inspiration join our private Facebook group. We’d love to have you – Click here!