5 fun ways to reward your hospitality staff

Employees are the building blocks of any successful business. But to make sure your business beats the rest, your employees need to enjoy their working environment and feel like their achievements are valued.


We all know that receiving recognition for hard work feels good. In fact, research has shown that feeling appreciated is one of the top positive motivators in the workplace.

But when it comes to handing out rewards, many of us are often stumped on how to go about it. The first thing you may think of is money, but everyone seems to do that. So, how do you make your rewards stand out and ensure your staff really feel special?

Here are five fun, unique ways to reward your staff and keep the awesome work flowing.

1. Rewards system

Creating a rewards system is not only a great incentive to keep your employees working hard, it’s also a great platform for ongoing recognition. Just like when you were in primary school, your employees will receive points (or gold stars) for their work.

Having a rewards system isn’t just a great way to see how your staff are tracking, it’s also a great incentive for them to keep up the good work. The more work your employees complete the more points they will receive and the closer they get to their reward.

There are many ways to set up your rewards system. It could be conducted over a week or a month period to allow employees to really challenge themselves around the workplace. Points can be spread across the business or, to make things more exciting, create separate reward systems for each of your teams (front of staff, waiters, kitchen hands, etc.). This will see each team rewarded for their separate tasks and also ensure no one misses out on being recognized.

2. Celebrate your staff

Whether it’s celebrating their birthday or holding a Christmas party, ensure your staff feel valued. Getting personal doesn’t have to be messy and creating a friendly work get-together means that you can get to know your staff better and talk with them as a friend instead of as a boss.

Casual gatherings also enable your staff to talk with one another, learn from one another, and form friendships within the business. Team bonding isn’t just a great way to make friends in the office, it can also increase productivity and enable you to find strengths and weaknesses within your team. Plus, being surrounded by positive and like-minded people can make the difference between staff who don’t enjoy their work and staff who love their work.

Don’t just limit your work get-togethers to birthdays and Christmas parties. Why not treat your staff to a monthly ‘chill session’ which could include anything from bowling, mini golf, a winery tour or a movie? This provides a great way for your team to get out of your venue and have a relaxing day together.

3. Get creative

Treat your staff to an art class. The University of Exeter School of Psychology found that employees who have control of the design and layout of their workspace are not only happier and healthier – they’re also up to 32 percent more productive.

Allowing your staff to get creative is not only a fun, social way to get your employees to know one another better, it also allows them to add something to the business. Whether it be a small painting that hangs in the restaurant or a sculpture that is in the office, having something of theirs in the workplace will make them feel special and that they’ve added to the vibrancy of the business.

4. Go on a retreat

Your staff have worked hard so give them some time off to relax, rejuvenate and get off their feet. Planning a group retreat doesn’t have to be expensive; booking a holiday home at the beach can be just as relaxing as staying in a five-star resort.

Allowing your staff to have time to unwind can boost their mood, memory and concentration, and overall health. Studies have shown that relaxing the body is not only good for your wellbeing but also beneficial for your mental health. Your employees will come back to work fresh and ready for the next customer to walk through the door.

Make the trip a bit more exciting by adding group games and hangouts to allow your staff to have fun, and get to know one another. Games could include musical chairs or a treasure hunt, which could see your staff break into teams to find a hidden item. For something a bit more low-key, why not put on a movie and break out the popcorn?

5. Teach them something new

We’re all curious and want to learn things so why not treat your hard workers to something new?

Whether it’s a course on printmaking or a course on making the best gin cocktail, what your staff learn is always beneficial to your business. Creativity and patience are key factors when it comes to self-development so, while your staff are improving their skills they will also be showing you they have what it takes for any situation.

No one wants to make their staff feel unwelcome, but many managers don’t know where to start to change that. In most cases, you just need a bit of inspiration to start the ball rolling.

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