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How to support your restaurant employees during the holidays

Daniil Klubov Founder & Ceo of spoon.tech
Audri Adhyas Paul
December 20, 2023
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Restaurant Customer Service Training

The holiday season is a time of joy and celebration, but that is often not the case for those in the restaurant industry. For them, the holiday season can be a particularly difficult time, as it often means longer hours, increased stress, and a higher demand for exceptional service. As a restaurant owner or manager, it's crucial to prioritize the well-being of your team during this bustling time. In this blog post, we will delve into specific strategies and detailed tips on how to support and motivate your restaurant staff during the holiday season.

1. Smart Scheduling and Staffing: Setting up the Foundation  

Effective scheduling and staffing strategies are pivotal during the holiday season, as they lay the foundation for a well-organized and productive work environment.

Plan Ahead with Data Analysis: Utilize historical sales data and customer footfall patterns to anticipate peak periods during the holidays. This proactive approach allows for better resource allocation and ensures that your restaurant is adequately staffed during high-demand times.

Accommodate Preferences and Ensure Flexibility: Acknowledge the personal commitments of your staff during the holiday season. Offering flexible scheduling options and accommodating individual preferences not only demonstrates understanding but also contributes to improved employee morale and loyalty.

Distribute Workload Equitably: To prevent burnout and maintain team morale, focus on distributing workloads equitably. Strive to create a fair system that ensures each team member has a balanced share of responsibilities, promoting a collaborative and supportive work environment.

Make Contingency Plans for No-Shows: Anticipate the possibility of no-shows, which can be more common during the holidays due to personal commitments. Develop contingency plans to efficiently manage unexpected staffing gaps, ensuring that service quality is not compromised.

Utilize Technology like 7shifts: Leverage technology tools such as 7shifts to streamline scheduling processes. These platforms simplify communication with staff, offer real-time updates, and allow for seamless adjustments to accommodate last-minute changes or additional shifts.


2. Comprehensive Training: Getting the Employees Prepared

Comprehensive training is an investment that pays dividends, ensuring that your team is well-prepared to deliver exceptional service and navigate the complexities of the holiday season.

Handling Increased Customer Interactions: With higher customer traffic during the holidays, it is essential to prepare your staff for increased interactions. Provide training on effective communication, time management, and conflict resolution to ensure that your team can handle the heightened demands professionally.

Detailed Guidelines on Company Policies: Clearly communicate and train employees on company policies related to holiday pay, overtime, and bonuses. Transparent communication helps build trust and clarity, reducing potential misunderstandings and fostering a positive work environment.

Thorough Training on Holiday Specials and Promotions: In-depth training on holiday specials and promotions is essential to ensure that your team can confidently recommend and explain these offerings to customers. This knowledge enhances the customer experience and contributes to increased sales.

Utilize Technology like spoon.tech: All of this is good, but how can you actually deliver the training quickly and effectively to employees? Here’s where technology platforms like spoon.tech come to play. spoon.tech enables you, a restaurant operator, to introduce new processes and update existing processes efficiently and communicate them instantly to the employees. It also enables employees to learn quickly through engaging methods such as TikTok-style videos and interactive games, promoting a more dynamic and effective training process.


3. Financial Incentives: Going Beyond Paychecks

Motivating your staff with financial incentives goes beyond compensation; it demonstrates recognition and appreciation for their hard work and dedication.

Ensure Bonuses, Overtime Pays, and Performance Incentives: This is the first and fundamental step for employee motivation during the holidays. Financial incentives, such as bonuses, overtime pay, and performance incentives, serve as tangible rewards for exceptional effort. This not only boosts morale but also creates a sense of achievement and recognition among employees.

Contests to Encourage Engagement: Hosting contests during the holiday season fosters friendly competition and engagement among employees. This can be particularly effective in enhancing team spirit and encouraging staff to go the extra mile in providing outstanding service. You can use spoon.tech to launch competitions among employees. It comes with leaderboards, points and coins which employees can redeem instantly for real-life monetary rewards. And let’s face it, what better way to get into the holiday cheer than a little monetary reward?  

Exclusive Discounts as a Holiday Perk: Offering exclusive discounts on meals or services as a holiday perk not only serves as a financial incentive but also creates a sense of community and inclusivity within the team. This can even be extended towards the friends and families of the employees. It reinforces the idea that employees are valued members of the restaurant family and helps them spend some time with their own loved ones.


4. Empathy, Recognition, Appreciation

Beyond financial incentives, focusing on empathy, recognition, and appreciation is integral to creating a supportive and positive work culture.

Acknowledge the Challenges and Express Empathy: Recognize that the holiday season can be challenging for your employees. Express empathy and understanding, acknowledging the potential stress associated with increased workloads and personal commitments.

Recognition of Individual and Team Efforts: Beyond financial rewards, recognizing individual and team efforts is crucial. Shout-outs during pre-shift meetings and acknowledgment on bulletin boards showcase appreciation for hard work and dedication, fostering a positive and supportive atmosphere.

Policies for Work-Life Balance: Implement policies that discourage excessive overtime, prioritizing the well-being of your staff and promoting a healthy work-life balance. This reflects a commitment to the long-term health and satisfaction of your employees.

Public Appreciation on Social Media: Utilize company social media handles to publicly appreciate and thank your team for their hard work. Sharing posts that highlight individual and collective contributions enhances the restaurant's public image and reinforces the sense of pride within the team.


5. Fostering a Festive Work Environment

Creating a festive and positive work environment contributes significantly to team morale and enhances the overall holiday experience for both employees and customers.

Involve Team in Decorations: Involve your team in transforming the restaurant space with holiday decorations. Get their opinions and input on how the restaurant should look during the holidays. Encourage creativity among staff members by holding a decoration contest. Offering small prizes for the winning team adds a competitive yet lighthearted element, boosting engagement and camaraderie. This collaborative effort not only adds a festive touch to the environment but also fosters a sense of ownership and pride among employees.  

Holiday Party or Event: Organize a holiday party or event to celebrate among employees. This provides an opportunity for team members to relax, enjoy each other's company, and strengthen interpersonal relationships outside of the workplace.

Organize a Gift Exchange: Strengthen interpersonal relationships by organizing a gift exchange among employees. This festive tradition not only adds to the holiday spirit but also promotes a sense of unity and camaraderie within the team.


As we navigate the hustle and bustle of the holiday season in our restaurants, let us not lose sight of the heartbeat of our establishments—the dedicated and tireless individuals who make it all possible: our incredible restaurant teams. In the flurry of holiday preparations, it is easy to get caught up in the logistics, the numbers, and the tasks at hand. Yet, behind the kitchen doors and at the front lines, there are stories of perseverance, camaraderie, and unwavering dedication.

As restaurant operators, we have the privilege of not just overseeing an establishment but stewarding a community—a community of chefs, servers, hosts, and support staff who pour their passion into every dish served and every guest welcomed. This holiday season, let us take a moment to reflect on the shared triumphs and challenges, the laughter and occasional stress, and the bonds that form in the heart of the kitchen.

Our teams are not just colleagues; they are the unsung heroes who transform ordinary moments into extraordinary memories for our guests. In the midst of the festive chaos, it is crucial to recognize and appreciate the sacrifices made, the extra hours clocked, and the dedication that goes beyond the call of duty.

So, here's to our remarkable teams—the beating heart of our restaurants. May this holiday season be a time of not just celebration but genuine gratitude. Let us extend our thanks, appreciation, and warm wishes to the individuals who turn our restaurants into more than just dining spaces but into places where memories are made, and where the magic of the season comes to life.

As we wrap up this guide on supporting our restaurant teams during the holidays, let it serve as a reminder that behind every perfectly plated dish and seamless service is a team fueled by passion, resilience, and a shared commitment to creating exceptional experiences. Here's to fostering a work environment filled with empathy, camaraderie, and festive cheer—a place where both our teams and our guests feel the warmth and joy of the season.

Wishing you and your restaurant family a joyous and successful holiday season, and if you want some help to empower your staff this season, get in touch with us by filling out this contact form. You can also email us at hello@spoon.tech or call us at +43 670 655 56 82.

Daniil Klubov Founder & Ceo of spoon.tech
Audri Adhyas Paul

Hi, I'm Audri, a Master's student in Digital Economy at Vienna University of Economics and Business, and an enthusiast of the food and hospitality sector. Digital transformation in the hospitality sector is an intersection of my practice and passion, and I love to write on that topic. Let's connect on LinkedIn to chat more!

Audri Adhyas Paul

Hi, I'm Audri, a Master's student in Digital Economy at Vienna University of Economics and Business, and an enthusiast of the food and hospitality sector. Digital transformation in the hospitality sector is an intersection of my practice and passion, and I love to write on that topic. Let's connect on LinkedIn to chat more!

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