3 Quick Tips for Recognizing Restaurant Employees on Thanksgiving

Written By Adam Harrell

Going Out for Thanksgiving 

The National Restaurant Association regularly finds that a small but significant percentage of Americans, around one in 10, go out to eat for Thanksgiving . This inevitably means that a small but significant portion of Americans also work in restaurants and hospitality settings to serve those guests. It doesn’t take much to see the Thanksgiving dilemma this causes.  

Manning a buffet or short-order kitchen, etc. as other families dine around you can be a bit dispiriting, perhaps even a full-on bummer, even if you are getting time and a half. However, in that same sense it’s a great opportunity to ramp up recognition and give some meaningful thanks back to the employees who show up like champs to make the guest experience an enjoyable and memorable one.    

3 Quick Tips for Giving Thanks 

Here are three quick ideas that can make working on Thanksgiving easier for restaurant employees: 

  • Smart Scheduling – Depending on the situation it may not be possible to give everyone the day off on Thanksgiving, and with a labor shortage making things tight, it takes that much more dedication to show up. This is where AI-driven scheduling software can really come in handy. Tool-assisted scheduling can eliminate gaps and significantly boost labor efficiency, which means getting more hours back to spare, and who wouldn’t love to hear “no need to come in today” on Thanksgiving?  
  • Staff Party – For any employees that must work on Thanksgiving, or any holiday involving a big meal as the centerpiece, host a family style dinner or at least send them home with some food. The dining experience is all about meals and moments, and if your guests come out for the food, your employees might enjoy it too. This kind of altruism is deep in the spirit of the season, and for another thing, maybe some people don’t have a holiday meal to go to and would appreciate the experience. Either way it’s a good opportunity to build goodwill and really connect. 
  • Gift Cards/Bonuses – Who doesn’t like a little extra stuffing in their turkey and/or stocking? Gift cards and loyalty bonuses are appreciated by employees as well as customers. We can all agree that working on Thanksgiving is deserving of something extra or special recognition. Hand them out in person or include them with a handwritten card for extra panache. Whatever you do, make it thoughtful.  

Bake Some Retention Pie 

Recognition and positive culture and values are top predictors of satisfaction at any job, so these tips can apply year-round. Technology certainly has its place in all this, but focusing in on the human aspects of work relationships and giving back from the heart has always been the secret ingredient to baking a rich employee retention pie, and it’s doubly true for the restaurant industry. 

Take these tips with a grain of salt and remember to above all at least give a sincere “Thank You” for anyone who shows up to work on Thanksgiving amidst a pandemic and unprecedented labor shortage. In these conditions some might argue that mustering a customer-service smile is an act of courage unto itself. Even in the best of times you’d be surprised how infrequently some employees hear it, and how much it matters when they do. 

Happy Thanksgiving 

From everyone at PAR Technology, thanks for being you, and here’s wishing you a safe and happy Thanksgiving! 

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