It has been a difficult quarter for every restaurant in the country, and as Christmas parties evaporate in front of our very eyes – one restaurant owner in
One question that every owner is asking themselves is how to take care of employees for Christmas. During the boom period I know owners were borderline frivolous with bonuses, parties and gifts for employees. Those days have subsided for the time being and who knows when they will be back.
But that doesn’t help our obligation as owners to keep the festivities and morale high during these bleak times. One solution is the Christmas party and gift certificate exchange.
It’s obvious that one thing that strives during weak economic times is community. Everyone suddenly is overcome with a feeling of helping those less fortunate. And, that is also true in the restaurant biz.
The solution to the employee Christmas party conundrum could be as easy as asking a fellow restaurant owner to do a Christmas party swap. Let your competitor host your employee party and you return the gesture by hosting his. Make sure the party is during a slow night, and both restaurants will benefit – the restaurant having the party will close for the night and payroll costs will diminish, and the restaurant hosting the event will look busy on a slow night. Nothing beats a busy restaurant. If you don’t feel in the partying mood, why not just arrange a gift certificate trade with a nearby competing restaurant so you can give a gift to your employees and the competing restaurant can do the same.
The gift certificate proposal also works as a great prize idea for the up sell contests you hold on slow nights. And, many other restaurant owners would be extremely pleased to trade certificates with another owner. On top of that, your employees would be thankful for a night out at a local restaurant.
One other topic that may be difficult but needs to be addressed is the company meeting we all need to have to keep the staff informed on how frugal the entire staff needs to be to keep the ship floating in the upright position. I know from personal experience it is easier for many owners to walk around and not let the staff know how tight the financial situation really is. However, it is better to come clean, during a company meeting and let everyone know that it will take a team effort to get through the tough times. There is nothing wrong with this kind of meeting. And, if you can arrange a gift certificate or party trade the time to have the meeting is just before you give out the certificates or announce the party.
Remember, you don’t want to stand up and be the bearer of doom. You want to be the coach, the manager, the person who gives the “When the times get tough, the tough get going,” speech. This is the one where you explain that everything is tight, but in order to get through it “we all need to pull together, work a little harder, pay closer attention, make sure you do your side work a little faster…” and then close the meeting with the Christmas gift certificates or the announcement of the Christmas party.
This will help to keep morale up, attitude high and the vision for the future a little brighter.