Instant Gratification with Training Incentives


As any good coach would tell you, long-term success is always more gratifying than an instant win. The same is true of your restaurant training program. Sadly, though, we’re human and we want the win and we want it now. And in this business where instant gratification is expected by our guests, maybe we should extend that mindset to the way we motivate our employees.

Long-term planning is certainly a critical part of meeting your restaurant training goals. But in addition to structured sales goals and ongoing training incentive programs, don’t be afraid to take advantage of smaller moments to build excitement with instant gratification. You’ll change the shift for a person who’s having a rough day, you’ll keep the job interesting, and you’ll motivate your servers to increase sales. Here are some tips to get started:

  • Raffle tickets. Whenever you spot someone doing something right—pre-bussing a table, using props to sell, answering the phone with effective sales dialogue, etc.—give the person a raffle ticket. At the end of the week, have a drawing and award a few small prizes.
  • Traveling bingo. Make up categories for service or sales in a group of squares. Include items like premium alcoholic beverages, desserts, appetizers, add-ons, etc. and give each server a card. Each time the sale is made, a marker is placed on the board. The first one to have a “bingo” wins.
  • Helping hand. Every now and then, hand a $10 or $20 bill to someone you see who’s going above and beyond what’s expected in service, sales or assistance to a customer or another employee. You’ll pleasantly surprise that person and you’ll motivate others to mimic those actions.

Restaurant Service and Sales Training

The Service & Sales Excellence Waitstaff Training Series is based on Service That Sells!, a restaurant training philosophy developed by restaurant owners for restaurant owners. Click here to learn more.

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