Whilst Christmas can be a busy period at any fast food restaurant, the beginning of the new year can be fairly quiet. Over these two months there is a sharp contrast between busy shoppers wanting quick food and the more serene start to the new year...after the sales. As the fast food industry has one of the highest employee turnover rates, it's important to motivate your staff and keep them happy over the winter months so you don't end up short handed - here's how to motivate fast food staff over Christmas and New Year.
Many employees who work at fast food restaurants see their job as an interim role whilst they study or look for another job so naturally there is a high turnover in the fast food industry. As the Christmas and New Year season can be quite stressful for your employees, you need to maintain morale and keep your staff motivated to avoid losing key members.
Fast food restaurants are busy with Christmas shoppers every year
Finding successful ways to motivate fast food staff over Christmas can be a difficult task when the shifts are jam packed with queues of tired festive shoppers but here is how you can keep your crew happy.
1) Organise your teams
As November and December get hectic with more customers, you need to organise your teams carefully. Create work shifts that put people who work well together, together. Working with people you get along with helps maintain a positive environment and as the winter months can get stressful with the increased number of customers and cold weather, employees will appreciate working with friends.
2) Put crew members in roles they enjoy
Communicate and listen to your employees. Are there tasks they prefer to do? Towards Christmas, crew members don't have time to make mistakes as there are more customers to serve. Try to assign your employees in roles they feel comfortable working in and talk to your staff daily to make sure they aren't struggling or have concerns.
It's also important to give your employees the flexibility to switch up their role thorughout the day. It can be tiring working at the cash register all day - give your team a break and allow them to work elsewhere temporarily.
3) Prepare your staff to deal with bad customers
Angry customers tend to appear during busier periods. They can be irritated by other Christmas shoppers and end up lashing out on customer service assistants. Talk to your staff and check they are prepared for dealing with unhappy customers. If they have limited experience, it might be worthwhile to fit in some role playing scenarios so all your staff members know what to do and can deal with the situation professionally.
4) Be present
It's understandable you'll be busy just like your crew members but you need to find time to be present in the restaurant. Managers and team leaders need to be at the helm when the restaurant is full of customers so they can help employees when they have a problem or if customers need to talk to the manager. Employees can get stressed if they can't find their team leader when they have an urgent problem. Organise time in your daily schedule to make sure you're in the restaurant.
5) Do something fun
During the stressful Christmas season, employees need motivation to keep working at their best. Prizes for the best employees or a Secret Santa can be a fun and enjoyable activity for people to get involved in. At a fast food restaurant, hygiene restrictions can limit festive decorations but seasonal activities can inspire a jolly mood.
Fast food restaurants are quieter after the New Year
After Christmas, fast food restaurants are usually quieter as shoppers recover from their expensive shopping trips and nurse their selection box hangovers - during this lull in activity, work quality can decline and some employees may want to start the new year with a new job, so this is what you should do to motivate fast food staff and keep them working at their best.
Take advantage of the quieter month to get one-to-ones with your employees. During the rush of Christmas you may have not had time to talk to them or even get to know your Christmas temps. One-to-ones are perfect opportunities to find out how your employees are feeling and if there are any problems they need help with. These personal sessions are great for boosting morale and staff members always appreciate this time with their team leaders.
Usually during the Christmas holidays and New Year resolutions, some employees consider their career progression. If employees approach you about their current roles and ask how they can progress, listen to what they're thinking and if it's possible help them on their career path - help them develop. Employees appreciate the efforts of a supervisor who is willing to help them in their career progression.
7) Get staff involved
At the beginning of a new year, you can find you have extra tasks as you organise the restaurant and check everything is in order. Some employees appreciate getting more involved and feeling part of a team, you can assign other tasks to your crew members. During the quieter shifts, you can assign employees to check stocks or help prepare for future promotional campaigns. Having a change in their daily routine can create an interesting and fresh start to the New Year.
8) Additional Training
Is there any other training you can offer your employees? Take advantage of the quieter period to help further your employees' training so they can diversify their skills and get involved in different job roles. During this time, also make sure your employees' knowledge about safety in the workplace is up-to-date.
9) Reward hard work
Your team have put in huge efforts over Christmas and New Year at times when they may well have preffered to be on the other side of the counter. Reward their efforts in anyway you see fit. It's nice to know your appreciated and caring about your team will boost them to start the new year with a bang.
Maintaining morale is an important duty of any business owner or supervisor during the Christmas period and New Year. As fast food restaurants tend to have a high turnover rate, keep your employees happy by helping them with any issues they have and keep them motivated at work.
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What do you recommend to motivate fast food staff over Christmas and the New Year? Share your suggestions in the comments below.