Keep your employees happy: 7 delicious perks of working in the foodservice business

By Dixie Somers

In the competitive landscape of foodservice, it can be challenging to keep your employees happy and committed to your establishment. One way to improve staff satisfaction and loyalty is by offering tasty perks. Despite the daily grind and physical demands of the job, foodservice employees appreciate feeling appreciated and recognized for their efforts. This post will explore some of the most popular and appetizing perks that can enhance the employee experience and help you maintain a motivated and devoted workforce. Let’s get started

Free or discounted meals

One of the most significant perks of working in foodservice is having access to free or discounted meals. It’s one of the primary reasons many people apply for jobs in this industry. Employees who work long, hectic hours in the kitchen or on the floor often don’t have the time or energy to make their own meals. Offering your staff some complimentary or discounted food can go a long way towards making their days more manageable and enjoyable.

To make the perk of free or discounted meals even more appealing, it’s essential to provide a wide variety of options for your employees to choose from. This could include different types of cuisine such as local or world foods, dietary restrictions like vegan or gluten-free, and meal sizes from appetizers to large dinners. By catering to diverse tastes and preferences, you can ensure that all employees feel valued and taken care of. Additionally, consider rotating the menu regularly to keep things interesting and offer special meals or deals for holidays or special occasions. This will show your employees that you are invested in their well-being and want to make their work experience more enjoyable

Professional development opportunities

Foodservice is a rapidly developing industry with lots of scope for growth and experimentation. Employees are keen to acquire additional skills and knowledge that will advance their careers. Providing them with the chance to attend workshops, seminars, and training programs can give them the resources they need to remain motivated and loyal to your organization.

To determine which professional development opportunities would be most beneficial for your employees, you can conduct surveys or hold individual meetings to gather feedback and suggestions. Additionally, consider surveying industry trends and advancements to identify potential areas of growth that align with the interests and goals of your staff. By involving employees in the decision-making process, you can ensure that the opportunities provided are relevant and appealing to them.

Creative freedom and autonomy

Everyone desires to feel valued in their occupation and know that their contributions are essential. Allowing your team to have some creative leeway and independence in their work is an exceptional way to reward them. It not only helps motivate them in their current position but can also lead to more creative collaboration and new ideas for your business.

To implement some creative autonomy for your employees, you can assign them projects or tasks that allow for individual creativity and decision-making. You can also hold brainstorming sessions, where everyone is encouraged to contribute their ideas openly without fear of judgment. Additionally, providing opportunities for cross-departmental collaboration can give employees the chance to work on new projects and learn from different perspectives. This will not only make employees feel valued but can also lead to improved efficiency and innovation in your business.

Flexibility and work-life balance

Most foodservice employees work long, frequently stressful hours, and being able to balance work and life can be difficult. Offering your staff some flexibility in scheduling and proactively providing regular time off can help keep them motivated and content. Being able to spend time with their family and friends can do wonders for their overall happiness, mental health, and work satisfaction.

To make scheduling work for your employees, it’s essential to communicate effectively and be flexible with their needs. Allow your staff to submit their preferred availability or time off requests in advance, and do your best to accommodate them whenever possible. Additionally, consider implementing a rotating schedule that allows everyone an equal amount of time off during busy periods or holidays. This will help distribute the workload evenly and ensure that no one feels overworked or burnt out.

Involve employees in decision-making

When it comes to running a successful restaurant, every decision counts. It’s important to involve your employees in strategic business decisions. This will establish better communication and improve their sense of belonging and ownership in your organization. It will also help you gain valuable insight into the daily operations of the restaurant. This feeling of involvement and contribution will make it hard to leave their job and increase their loyalty.

To make sure everyone’s voice is heard, it’s essential to establish open and transparent communication channels within your organization. This could include regular staff meetings, suggestion boxes, or one-on-one check-ins with employees. Additionally, actively listen to your employees’ feedback and concerns without judgment or defensiveness. Encourage a culture of collaboration and inclusivity by considering all ideas and opinions, regardless of rank or position. This will not only make employees feel valued but can also lead to improved productivity and job satisfaction.

Health and wellness programs

Health and wellness programs can encourage personal wellness, reduce stress levels, and improve overall job satisfaction. Foodservice workers experience above-average rates of health challenges, including musculoskeletal pain and stress, so offering programs like yoga, meditation, diet coaching, or mental health support can help them feel appreciated at a fundamental level.

To make wellness programs accessible to all employees, including part-timers, consider offering these programs during off-peak hours or on specific days of the week. This will allow everyone to participate, regardless of their schedule. Additionally, you can provide online resources or self-guided programs that employees can access at their convenience. Consider partnering with local fitness centers or studios to offer discounted memberships or classes for your employees.

Employee appreciation events

One of the best ways to show your employees that you value their hard work and dedication is by hosting employee appreciation events. Whether it’s a holiday party, an employee cookout with barbecue on kaiser buns, or a team-building activity like escape rooms, these events can help employees feel more connected to your business and each other, and foster a positive work environment.

In the foodservice industry, satisfied, productive employees are essential to the success of your business. By incorporating these tasty perks, you can keep your team motivated, loyal, and engaged. Free or discounted meals, professional development opportunities, creative freedom and autonomy, flexibility, and employee involvement in decision-making are just a few of the ways to reward and engage your staff and boost overall employee satisfaction. So, what are you waiting for? Start utilizing these methods to distinguish your restaurant as an excellent place to work, and watch your employees and your business thrive.


Dixie Somers is a freelance writer who loves to write for business, health, and women’s interests. She lives in Arizona with her husband and three beautiful daughters. You can find her on Twitter and Facebook.

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