Employee BenefitsDec 17, 2018 bcrfauser01
It’s a major challenge to attract and keep employees these days.
Providing benefits such as medical and dental plans are great to offer and give employers a competitive edge when competing for talent. What benefits to you currently offer?
Medical and dental benefits packages can be considerably less expensive than you might imagine and cost nothing to ask for a quote. We encourage you to find out if there is a package for your business by calling the BCRFA head office at 604 669 2239.
We understand until a restaurant starts to turn a decent profit, providing these benefits may be more than your budget can handle. Even without traditional medical and dental benefits, there are ways to be innovative that help to provide the competitive edge and offer unique benefits to your employees.
Here are some suggestions for perks and benefits that will improve your bottom line – without taking a bite out of it!
- Compressed workweeks
Employees can agree to work longer daily hours without overtime in exchange for more time off. For example, three twelve-hour days followed by four days off or four ten-hour days followed by three days off. This is legal in BC if it’s set up properly. Contact the BCRFA for help setting up these schedules.
- Predictive scheduling
Simply put, this means scheduling employees well in advance so they know when they will be working and when they will be off. This is very important to your employees. An employer who uses predictive scheduling is more attractive to applicants and allows employees to schedule second jobs or personal commitments.
- Give to charity
Ask employees what charities they like and support. Support and like the charity too. Have a day every month when you honour an employee’s charity by donating a percentage of sale of salads or deserts to the charity they support. Make charity and giving a part of your company’s culture. Make sure your customers know about your charity work. Customers like to think they are making a difference while having a good time.
- Love their children
Many of your employees have children of their own or kids in their life. If you are a family style restaurant, you will please your employees and your customers by creating a feature wall displaying employees’ children’s’ artwork. Pick up some inexpensive frames at the thrift store to frame kids’ art. Have an after school event so employees and kids can see their art displayed. Free ice cream for all. You may spend $75 but the employees and their children will think it worth a million bucks.
- Spa day
Restaurant work is hard on the body. Make a deal with a local spa so employees can have massages, steam treatments, manicures and pedicures at a reduced rate. Most spas will be thrilled to negotiate a great deal for your employees. If your budget can be stretched just a bit, pay a bit for employees’ spa treatments or trade meals for the spa staff in exchange for spa treatments. Everyone will be healthier and happier.
Find out about important events and create for joy in your employees lives. Find a way to celebrate accomplishments. Graduation, a child’s graduation, birthdays, marriages etc. are all cause for a cake and a card or a small gift, some flowers or a bottle of bubbly. It’s the thought that counts. It is also important to support employees who have had sorrow. Allow time and space for grieving. To be aware of your employees’ lives, however, you need to talk to them to know them. Try, at least once a week to invite an employee to coffee and engage with them like you would a friend.
- Field trips
Most of your farm suppliers, local wineries and breweries are proud of their products and want to show off. Rent a mini van and send some employees off regularly to places where good food and drink are grown, distilled and brewed. The employees will come back refreshed and knowledgeable about items you serve. If you can offer them a nice lunch out, even better.
- Safe rides home
Many restaurants offer a staff drink at the end of a shift. This practice can be a problem if it leads to drinking and driving. It is a much cheaper and safer option to let employees leave in time to catch their bus or train home. If that isn’t possible, make sure every worker has a safe way home, even if you have to pay a bit for it.
- Reward creativity
Let your cooks create new menu items. If it ends up on your menu permanently, name the dish after the employee. “Brad’s beet salad” ”Kulwinder’s butter chicken”. Give the creator a bonus if the dish is popular. Find out what your staffs’ other talents are. They all have them. Sally likes flowers. Put her in charge of flower arrangements and caring for any plants you have. Manny is a computer geek. Let him help you set up more efficient systems. Ping is addicted to social media. She can be valuable getting your restaurant and your values buzzed about on social media sites. Your employees get a break from their routine, you get access to skills that help make your restaurant stand out.
- Staff appreciation
You can’t operate without them. They are your team. Paycheques pay their bills, but appreciation feeds their souls. This can be as simple as a comment from the heart at the start of a shift when you tell them collectively how grateful you are that they are on your team. Any expression of gratitude from you for a job well done, a customer well served, a hectic evening in the kitchen handled with grace and efficiency is going to make your employees feel good about their job and themselves.
Make sure all your employees have access to training to enhance and improve their skills. An employer who is willing to help their employees progress and learn in our industry is an employer of choice. For information about training programs you can afford and access, such as Red Seal Chef, contact Gillian at the BCRFA, 604 505 2374
- Keep your door open.
When an employee leaves to go backpacking in Asia or surfing in Australia, many businesses consider these people quit and gone. But eventually they come home. If they were good workers, wouldn’t you rather they come back to work for you instead of going to work for your competitor? Make sure employees who leave you to pursue other interests are welcome back. This bit of understanding costs you nothing.
Being a responsible employer during Christmas Party TimeDec 13, 2018 bcrfauser01
At this time of the year when people are celebrating, many employers think it’s important to have a party for their staff. In fact, given the new workplace realities, it isn’t necessary and isn’t always the best idea. Employees may drink or smoke marijuana at parties – and too much consumption can result in inappropriate behaviour or impaired driving.
If inappropriate behaviour, such as sexual harassment happens at your staff party, you, the employer is liable just like it happened at work. If someone leaves the staff party, intoxicated, and something happens, like an accident or a roadblock, you’re liable the same as if the employee became intoxicated at work.
There are great alternatives that don’t have to include the options for getting intoxicated:
- Consider a destination party, such as a trip to a local Christmas event, concert or play where alcohol or marijuana will be limited or not available.
- Try a holiday breakfast or lunch that allows people to celebrate within work hours – giving the staff time to gather and connect without imposing on an evening or weekend.
- Have an early, straight after work reception (such as dinner from 5 to 8 or a lunch party from 12 to 2), restrict alcohol or don’t serve it. If alcohol is served, assure everyone has a safe ride.
Celebrate the season without having a party:
- Taking the money the party would have cost and giving each employee a small bonus.
- Ask your employees if they would rather have a party or make a charitable donation instead. Everyone is busy and not having to attend the traditional staff party, for some, is a gift of time.
- Celebrate the season with a charity drive that your company matches staff donations of items or dollars.
- Consider having your team go and serve a healthy meal for those in need in your community.
- Try a friendly, team building competition between teams of employees (front of house versus back of house for example) where everyone will get into the spirit of giving. Collect food for the foodbank, hats, socks and scarves for the homeless or pet items – the team who collects the most could be given a prize and bragging rights. They could pick the charity for next year’s event.
The holiday season can be incredibly busy and stressful for our industry. Think outside the box for ways you can honour your staff and the season.
If you need help or advice, remember we at the BCRFA have the resources to help you. Call Gillian at 604 505 2374 at any time if you have a question.
Happy Holidays from us at the BCRFA to you and your team.
Leadership = SuccessDec 04, 2018 bcrfauser01
As we look to the close of the year, and we are hoping to close the year on a high note with holiday parties, full reservations books and large guest cheques, we also start thinking about the year in review and the chance to start planning for changes in the New Year. It is the busy times when good management matters the most. Are your managers and team leads prepared for the onslaught? Will they represent the best of your company?
This year, let your year end goal be about creating a successful workplace with strong employee relationships and great customer service. Prepared and trained managers are the best embodiment of your company.
Start with leadership training or business coaching.
One executive chef we spoke to during our labour shortage research told us that he stayed 5 years in a company because he truly enjoyed and benefited from the connection with his business coach. He had the training to be a chef and to prepare great meals – but he didn’t have a handle on the connections, processes and procedures to be a business leader and a manager of a large staff team. Early in his time with the restaurant, his owner connected him with a business coach – who could be called upon to provide guidance and leadership ideas. It was just what the chef needed to grow his own management style. That connection brought him personal and professional growth and helped him transition from trained chef to an amazing executive chef. This model can simply be a mentoring relationship – the coach can be paid or unpaid – but it can be game changing for retention and development. Think about how you can include mentorship in your senior management compensation.
Explore and recognize formal training.
If you see the value in traditional, consider supporting formal education and training courses. Colleges and night schools have programs available – and the cost to employer and employee can far outweigh the benefits. As an employer you can support workers earning formal certifications three ways: paying for classes, providing time off for professional development OR by creating direct correlation between career advancement and educational achievements. People who see connections between education and promotions or raises in your company are value their positions more.
We will continue to suggest ways to build success through better leadership as we end 2018 and as we go into 2019. If you need ideas, reach out.
Gillian MacGregor, human resources advisor, and Ian Tostenson, president and CEO, are available to answer questions and provide advice: 604.669.1239.
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