Running a restaurant is a tough job with constant worries, like managing inventory, controlling profit margins, and keeping your customers happy. It can be easy to lose sight of the long-term goals, but for your restaurant to be successful, you have to keep in mind that it’s not just about the quality of the food you’re serving.

Today’s diners want the overall quality of their experience to be exceptional as well, and your staff is responsible for that. After all, they’re the ones interacting with your customers. The quality of your service can make or break a restaurant, so it’s important to focus on your employees’ happiness as well.

Show your appreciation

As an employee, nothing is worse than feeling replaceable, so let your staff know how valuable they are to the success of the company. Make their accomplishments known with an employee of the month program or try offering incentives to keep them motivated like an extra paid day off or a gift card to their favorite spot. A little bit goes a long way.

Invest in your staff

As a small business owner, you may cringe at the thought of spending more money, but this step is more about investing your time. One of the best ways to do this is to make sure each member of the staff is well trained and knows their specific job responsibilities. Investing in your staff’s skills will pay off for both sides. Retaining talented staff is key to the success of any business because training new employees is costly.

Reward longevity

Restaurants face a high employee turnover rate, and one of the best ways to avoid this is to reward the ones who stick with you. Offer cash rewards like a bonus or a raise for those who stay 6 months, a year, and every year after that. Holiday bonuses are also a great way to reward employees for their service and can be tiered by length of employment.

Listen to their feedback

Employees feel valued when they have a say in the decision-making process. A simple solution is allowing them input into scheduling. Plenty of online scheduling tools make collaboration easy. If they’re experiencing a problem, let them know you want to talk about it and really listen to what they have to say. Even if you can’t fix it, listening to them will make them feel appreciated and valued, which goes a long way in motivating employees.