How To Incentivize Your Employees To Provide Better Service

"Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients."

Richard Branson - founder of The Virgin Group

When you think of incentivization programs, you think about the ones for your customers. You know, the ones with points or dollar returns? Well you’re not wrong. But, there’s another incentivization strategy hospitality business owners can leverage — one for your employees. 

These types of programs can be invaluable when encouraging your employees to provide better service. After all, when your servers (or really, any employees) are incentivized, they’re motivated. And when they’re motivated, they do a better job and are happier in their work. That, in turn, means your customers benefit from the better service, which can have a massive positive impact on your bottom line. 

The good news is that you don’t have to throw oodles of cash at employees to incentivize them. Instead, there are several easy and cost-effective motivation tactics that you can use.

Intrinsic and extrinsic incentivization

By definition, an incentive is something that motivates a person to do something. There are two main types of incentives to consider when looking to institute a motivational program at your business: intrinsic and extrinsic.

An intrinsic incentive:

These are motivating factors that come from inside of a person, driving them to complete a task without any additional rewards or pressure. This includes things such as taking pride in the work, and bringing joy to their customers.

An extrinsic incentive:

These are motivating factors that come from outside of a person, usually in the form of pressure, punishment, or reward to complete a task. In terms of the hospitality industry, we can see extrinsic employee motivators as economic rewards like extra pay or bonuses. 

Intrinsic motivation is often overlooked in business, and particularly in a restaurant setting. However, research has shown that combining intrinsic and extrinsic incentivization is the most effective way to keep employees engaged, satisfied, and motivated over the long term in the workplace.

With that being said, here are some fun ways to incentivize employees:

1. Run friendly competitions — Creating a fun atmosphere of competition between individuals or teams can work wonders for motivation, so why not run games that reward the best performing team or employee? After all, the competition and desire to win for the team are intrinsically motivated. And by adding monetary rewards, you can strengthen your employee’s drive to succeed, thus adding an extrinsic layer too. 

Such games can be based on any variety of things that occur at your place of business: 

  • The amount of customers who purchased three-course meals
  • Add-on drinks or appetizers
  • Upselling your most popular items
  • Best reviews
  • Handling unhappy customers in the best way possible

Of course, the critical benefit here is that you can change the focus depending on the outcome you’re looking for. Want to increase sales? Make it about upselling customer into buying a desert of the week. Want to increase customer service? Make it about customer feedback, or who told the best joke to a guest. 

2. Involve employees in your marketing campaigns — Another way that you can help motivate your employees and reap the rewards for your business is to get them involved in the front lines of marketing. 

Your cafe and restaurant servers are in an ideal position to encourage customers to provide their preferred contact information, sign up for exclusive benefits, and like your social media pages. Just be sure to offer those extrinsic rewards such as points for their team or additional pay. Additionally, be sure to set a timeline, as this will always help to focus and encourage performance. 

3. Recognize their achievements — Finally, when it comes to making motivation fun, remember to recognize and reward employees for their achievements.

For example, you can create an employee of the month program. Ask employees to nominate their fellow colleagues. By adding this peer-to-peer element, you further motivate your team and help build trust and strength. You can even paste your winners across your social media platforms to boost personal pride in their work, but don’t forget to add in some extra pay or a gift card too. 

4. Contribute to the community — Another smart way of incentivizing your employees and making sure they have a positive attitude to your business and work is to offer charity donations. Especially if you allow your employees to choose the charity themselves, it can allow them to do good and work for a cause larger than themselves. 

In summary: Motivation goes a long way.

We can’t expect our team to just do a good job because we pay them. It would be nice, but it is just not the world we live in. We are all human, we all lose focus and we all have lives outside of work. Building a workplace that motivates and engages your team not only will help your bottom line but will just make work more enjoyable. 

Lean into motivating your team. By doing so, you can forge a stronger team, improve your work culture, and ultimately make sure your customers have the best experience possible — meaning they’ll come back to you time and time again. 

If you’re struggling to come up with ideas, let us know! We can help think up new ways your business can build a culture that motivates your team.  And if you’re looking for a quick fix, check out the franki app. By providing user-generated video content, your servers’ outstanding service (and your business) will be more often observed and recognized. This helps ensure your staff stays motivated to do their very best. 

Start a more effective  incentivization process with franki today!

We also know 2020 was a tough year, and 2021 is off to a slow start. But your restaurant can thrive even amidst the COVID-19 crisis. We hope these tips and tricks can help. If you have any questions at all, ideas, or just want to brainstorm, myself and our franki team live for this — please reach out to anyone on the franki team via our website, or me directly at [email protected]. We are more than happy to help however we can! And if we can’t, I have no doubt we will know someone that can.

If you’d like to learn more about what franki does and how we help local businesses by incentivizing customers to make their marketing content, check out franki here. Or, see how other businesses are making their dining experience video-worthy by checking out some of the videos on our app.  It’s available in the Google Play Store and the Apple App store.