Restaurant Employee Benefits Guide
According to the Restaurant Opportunities Center, almost 9 out of 10 restaurant workers don’t have health insurance or paid sick days from their employers. At the same time, it’s difficult to attract and retain the best staff if you don’t offer an appropriate benefits package. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind when you’re putting together a benefits package for your restaurant workers.
Ask Employees What They Want
Benefits packages are not one-size-fits-all. What works for another restaurant may not fit your staff’s requirements, so start the conversation by asking them what they want. The most attractive benefits often change based on employee seniority, their ages and their life stages. New hires often value health, dental and vision insurance so they don’t have to worry about what happens if they get sick or injured.
As they start moving up the ranks at your restaurant and continue on their career path with you, their priorities expand to include life insurance and 401k plans for retirement. Take some time to reevaluate your benefits packages on occasion, so you can continue to meet employee expectations and retain your reputation as a restaurant offering a quality employment experience.
Other Benefits to Consider for Your Restaurant Employees
You have plenty of other options to add to your benefits packages, depending on your location and what your potential employee pool looks for in your region. Here are a few that you may want to add.
Transportation stipends: Offer gas cards, public transit passes and other ways to cover commuting costs. This relatively low-cost benefit reduces expenses for employees and increases their take-home pay as a result.
Paid time-off: Burnt-out and sick employees won’t be able to give you 100 percent, and the restaurant’s dining experience will suffer. You also don’t want someone with the flu or another contagious illness handling food and getting a customer sick. When staff members can stay home without sacrificing much-needed income, everyone wins.
Childcare: Childcare costs can make it prohibitively expensive for parents to work. You can offer a benefit to defray some or all of the cost of this expense.
Tuition reimbursement: Invest in your employees’ professional development by reimbursing tuition fees for cooking classes and degrees.
Paid parental leave: Keep parents in your staff pool by offering paid parental leave. This benefit shows that you care about your employees as people, rather than viewing them as a disposable commodity.
Dining discounts and freebies: Front of house and back of house should have first-hand knowledge of the food you serve. Discounts and free meals make this possible.
Wellness programs: Healthy employees don’t have to take as much time off and will lower the risk that they come in to work sick.
How Do Your Benefits Compare?
Get an idea of how your benefits compare with other restaurants by looking at the leaders in your industry. If your packages fall short of these top performers, you put yourself in a position of losing the best people to those businesses.
If you show dedication to your employees by offering benefits, they will show commitment to you. While adding benefits may seem prohibitively expensive for your restaurant, the cost of turnover and the damage that causes to your customer experience is much higher. Spend money on benefits now to save more money on staffing and training in the long run.