Know About Restaurant Staff Incentives & Its Impact On Staff Engagement and Retention

Illustration of Staff getting incentives

Motivated restaurant staff is capable of delivering stellar restaurant customer service and retaining customers. However, restaurant operators must realize that they cannot foster loyalty in their teams unless they make them feel valued.  The attrition rate is very high in the UAE restaurant space, one of the main reasons for it being high demand and better career development opportunities. Therefore, it is essential to have an efficient restaurant staff incentives program, which will help make your staff feel valued and contribute to the overall success of your restaurant in the UAE.

How To Provide Incentives To Your Restaurant Staff In The UAE

Providing incentives to your staff will foster loyalty and help in delivering optimum service to your customers. Moreover, it will significantly help in reducing employee turnover and absenteeism. Reduced turnover rates can, in turn, help restaurants save on additional expenses, which would otherwise be incurred on repeated recruitment and training. Mentioned below are two criteria on which restaurant staff incentives can be provided.

There are multiple ways through which you can evaluate your staff’s performance and provide lucrative incentives to them. 


If a restaurant is short-staffed, there is a good chance that the services provided are not optimum. Despite following a proper scheduling plan for employees, if an employee comes late or takes an unscheduled leave of absence, it can put enormous pressure on the rest of the staff and affects their service. 

To deter such behavior, it is highly recommended that restaurants introduce performance incentives based on the staff’s attendance. Calculate the staff’s performance in each quarter, and offer a cash reward for the employees who have followed proper scheduling. When your team realizes that failing to show up results in a loss of their bonus, it will motivate them and improve their attendance as well. 


Another way to institute employee incentives is to offer them rewards based on their performance. With a robust restaurant management software, restaurants in the UAE will be able to assess each staff member’s performance.

Restaurateurs can easily analyze important staff related information such as the number of tables covered, the total worth of the items sold, and the total amount of discount conferred. If you find that an employee is performing exceptionally well, you can boost their morale by offering them incentives, and simultaneously arrange training sessions for the staff that is not performing well.

Staff behavior at a restaurant

Effective Incentive Ideas To Retain Your Employees In The UAE

We have covered five useful restaurant staff incentive ideas that will prove helpful in keeping your employees satisfied and also reduce employee turnover. 

Award Individual Bonuses 

Awarding bonuses can be a motivating factor for your kitchen staff or servers. Monitor your staff’s performance to understand which staff member has delivered splendid service and offer bonuses or rewards accordingly. Surprise rewards often tend to motivate staff to maintain high-performance standards.

You can monitor which staff performed exceptionally in a month and honor them with an Employee of the Month award. These gestures will boost the morale of the rest of your employees and, in turn, improve your restaurant services. 

Each time a server is able to sell a high-profit-margin item on the menu or achieve their targets, acknowledge his/her efforts with a gift coupon or vouchers. Consider providing your staff with lucrative gift certificates and vouchers to increase employee satisfaction.

Introduce Team Bonuses 

Try pairing a member from your restaurant’s kitchen staff with a front-of-house member. The pair that performs well gets the bonus award. For example, being on time 3 days in a row can qualify for 5 extra points, the perfect side works for one week gets 10 points.

Also, include negative marking to reinforce discipline. For example, instances like forgetting to clock out can carry a penalty of  3 negative points. The pair that gets the highest number of points at the end is gifted with a bonus or a gift card. This group effort will help increase the morale of your team and cultivate team efforts. 


Offering ESOPs or Employee Stock Ownership Plans is becoming a popular restaurant staff incentive method to reward employees and make them more committed to your business. ESOP is an employee benefit where employees can never directly own company shares but it works as a powerful incentive to increase employee productivity

Give A Longevity Bonus

It is always a good idea to reward your loyal employees who have been with you for years. Provide your loyal staff members with a longevity bonus, once they complete a specific time period at your restaurant. This bonus will help in reducing staff attrition at your restaurant significantly.

Reward Your Staff With Preferred Section Or Shift 

Staff incentive programs need not necessarily be monetary. However, they must offer something of value to them. If you happen to observe that your staff is performing exceptionally well, you can offer them their section of choice or assign them a shift that is more suitable to their needs. 

Considering the high labor turnover rate in the UAE, employee engagement and retention is a critical business need. Having a well-performing, multi-faceted workforce is possible when you treat your staff well and appreciate their performance at each level. Thus, it is advisable that you train and nurture your staff, and keep them happy and motivated with a well-crafted incentive program so that they continue to work at your restaurant for a prolonged time. 

Try these effective tips and reward your employees with periodic incentives to increase the longevity of your business. 

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Daniel McCarthy is a seasoned restaurant consultant and serves as the Communication Manager at Restroworks, a prominent F&B SaaS company. Drawing from his vast knowledge of leveraging innovative technological solutions, Daniel excels at enhancing restaurant operations and revenue, thereby contributing to the ongoing transformation of the industry.


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