Running a restaurant is a tough job with constant worries, like managing inventory, updating your menu, and keeping your customers happy. It can be easy to lose sight of the long term goals when you have so much going on, but for your restaurant to be successful, you have to keep in mind that it’s not just about the quality of the food you’re serving. Today’s diners want the overall quality of their experience to be exceptional as well, and your staff is responsible for that. After all, they’re the ones interacting with your customers. Having a quality staff can make or break a restaurant, so here are 5 simple things you can do to keep them happy and motivated. 1. Show your appreciation As an employee, nothing is worse than believing your work doesn’t make a difference, so let your staff know how valuable they are to the success of the company. Make their accomplishments known with an employee of the month program. Or try offering incentives to keep them motivated like a paid day off or a gift card. Be sure to offer something for those at every level too. For servers or bartenders, this gesture could be based on whoever sells the most food or drinks that month, and for busboys, it could be whoever clears the most tables. Get creative and make it fun. Friendly competition is always a great motivator. 2. Invest in your staff As a small business owner, you may cringe at the thought of spending more money, but this step is more about investing your time. One of the best ways to do this is to make sure each member of the staff is well trained and knows their specific job responsibilities. Investing in your staff’s skills will pay off for both sides. When workers become better at their jobs and feel they have a purpose within the organization, they’ll be more likely to stay. Retaining talented staff is key to the success of any business because training new employees can take time and be costly, which leads to our next tip. 3. Reward longevity Restaurants face a high employee turnover rate, and one of the best ways to avoid this is to reward the ones who stick with you. Offer cash rewards like a bonus or a raise for those who stay 6 months, a year, and every year after that. You may not want to shell out the cash right now but remember it’s an investment–it will pay off in the long run. 4. Maintain quality working conditions As a restaurant owner, you probably focus on making sure your space is perfect for your customers, but don’t forget about the comfort of your employees. They are constantly on their feet, and they face a lot of hazards from sharp knives, flames from the grill, and wet floors. It’s important to let them take a break to avoid accidents and reduce Workers’ Compensation claims. Not only is this a safety issue, but a tired employee is less likely to feel motivated to get their job done, so provide a designated space for them to relax between shifts. An additional step to protect both you and your employees is to make sure you carry Workers’ Compensation insurance. If an accident happens and an employee can’t work due to an injury, this policy will pay for their medical expenses and cover their lost salary. When it comes to protecting your business, be sure to use a quality insurance broker to make sure you have the coverage you need at the right price. 5. Listen to their feedback Employees feel valued when they have a say in the decision-making process. A simple solution is letting them have a say in scheduling. Plenty of online scheduling tools make collaboration easy. If they're experiencing a problem, let them know you want to talk about it and really listen to what they have to say. Even if you can't fix it, listening to them will make them feel appreciated and valued, which goes a long way in motivating employees. Low employee performance will hurt your bottom line. Using these tips will not only keep your staff happy and motivated, but you’ll also be smiling when you see the benefits to your business.