8 Tips For Improving Staff Morale And Punctuality

8 Tips For Improving Staff Morale And Punctuality

Happy employees serve your customers with better care.

Customer service is one of the most important aspects of your restaurant.

One study even shows a restaurant’s customer service levels and satisfaction are directly linked to high levels of employee motivation and engagement.

This is why it’s so important to improve your staff morale. And, with improved morale usually comes better punctuality.

Yet, as a busy restaurant owner or manager, it can be tough to spend the time necessary for increasing your employees’ happiness.

So, in this article, we layout out eight tips for improving staff morale and punctuality so you can also provide the best possible customer service to your guests.

First, let’s look at ways to improve staff morale.

The morale of your employees is fundamental to your restaurant because the satisfaction of your guests begins with good staff and a team with high morale.

#1: Enhance Communication

One of the best ways to improve staff morale is with a real open door policy.

Don’t just tell your employees that you value their thoughts, opinions, suggestions and feedback. Show them through your actions.

Employees are happier at their place of work when they feel like they can talk to their manager. Not only are they more comfortable with a boss they can talk to, but they’re more likely to have a better work ethic when they feel you’re on their side.

Engage with your employees. Give them feedback and ask for theirs. Then, really use it. Take their suggestions to heart and consider implementing them.

When it comes to expectations, be clear with them. Your employees can’t rise to the occasion if they don’t know how high the bar is.

Take the time to learn about your employees and engage with them in a positive manner to improve staff morale.

#2: Provide the Right Tools

Your employees’ tips depend on how well they know your restaurant and your food.

To keep your employees less-stressed and happy, make sure they have the right tools to do their job so not only are they happier, but they can get higher tips:

  • Teach them how to provide customer service.
  • Train them on your daily operations.
  • Help them learn the menu – let them sample your items.
  • Provide the proper accessories they need.
  • Provide checklists to help them stay organized.

#3: Hire Competent Managers

The biggest reasons employees are unhappy at work is because of bad leadership.

To improve employee morale, make sure you hire great managers. Ensure that they have all the training they need to be good leaders.

Your managers have a huge impact on employee morale.

#4: Recognize Good Work

Reward your employees. This doesn’t always mean with perks and benefits.

Sometimes, it’s simply a kind word. Let your staff know you appreciate their hard work.

Call them out at staff meetings for the little things you notice. For example, Susie always delivers ribs with extra napkins. Bob adds an extra flower on the table, or Robert is so good customers request him.

Notice hard work daily or at least weekly. Praise is a huge motivator. (tweet this)

You can also add in tangible rewards if you’d like.

Next, let’s look at ways to improve staff punctuality.


Good communication helps your employees thrive.

#5: Identify the Problem

Before you can improve the punctuality of your staff, it’s important to first identify the problem.

You want to remember that there is often an understandable reason if your employees are late once in a while. But, if they are chronically late, you have a huge problem on your hands.

Talk to your employee. Find out if weather, traffic, unforeseen circumstances or their kids are contributing to their lateness.

While those aren’t excuses, it will help you figure out how to solve the problem if you know what’s causing it.

Late arriving employees are a problem for your bottom line. They are showing disrespect to you, your restaurant and to their co-workers.

By learning what is causing the problem, you can take steps to help.

For example, if your waiter is always late for his 3:30 shift because a factory down the street lets out, and traffic is horrible, consider adjusting his shift times. If this helps, great. If not, you may have to take disciplinary actions.

#6: Make an Action Plan

You ask and you ask, but nothing seems to change.

First, don’t let your staff member’s lack of punctuality go on for so long you are steaming with anger. You want to deal with the problem calmly.

You should also deal with the problem immediately. Don’t let it fester. Schedule a meeting with your employee to discuss his tardiness.

The two of you can then come up with an action plan. The most important thing during your meeting is to assess they “why” of the problem. Then, you can make a plan for fixing it.

#7: Outline Consequences

Employees who are chronically late may need a set of consequences.

We’ll assume you have a policy in your employee handbook that deals with tardiness. Don’t be afraid to use it.

You might ask your employee to make up missed time. Or, if he is consistently tardy, you may issue a written warning, deduct from his pay or delete any bonus he may receive.

When do you have to take more drastic actions?

  • If after following through with your restaurant’s policy, the employee doesn’t change
  • If it hurts your restaurant. For example, you don’t have enough staff to cover the dinner hour.
  • If it contributes to a lack of punctuality in your other employees.
  • If it affects your bottom line.

Don’t let one employee’s bad actions affect your restaurant or your staff. Deal with it promptly so it doesn’t snowball.

#8: Reward Success

Reinforce your employee’s good behavior if he shows up on time for work for a specified period of time.

This can simply be in the form of praise. You might say, “Ed, I noticed you’ve been on-time for your shift six days in a row now. I’m glad to see you’re trying. Keep up the good work.”

By offering positive, verbal praise, you’ll incentivize your employee to keep showing up on time. (tweet this)

It’s amazing how far a few kind words can go. Your employee will appreciate your words and continue to move forward.

Final Thoughts

A restaurant staff with high morale is much more likely to provide excellent service to your customers.

When you work to improve staff morale, your restaurant reaps the benefits. You’ll enjoy less turnover, better service and employees who feel secure in their job because they know you value them.

Work on improving staff morale for the good of not only your staff, but your restaurant and your customers, too.

Finally, when it comes to shift-based workers in your restaurant, you want to define your expectations upfront. If your employees aren’t there on time, your restaurant won’t function properly.

Your staff needs to know this and recognize that being punctual is vital. They must be at your restaurant at their scheduled time.

Do be flexible with your staff and ensure that you have an open door of communication. This is the best way to not only improve staff morale but staff punctuality as well.

How do you improve staff morale? Do you have chronically late employees? What solutions work for you? We’d love to hear your comments below.

Images: Epicurrence and Tim Arterbury

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *