Put the staff on a pedestal. If those on the staff are not true believers, the restaurant marketing campaign fizzles. The staff must believe that the management has their best interest in mind when making decisions. It is important for them to believe that the "ownership" is watching out for their income.
Taking pro-active measures to ensure stable incomes for the staff not only maintains income potential it also send the staff a message: "We want to you succesful and moving forward." Consider what has an impact:
- Specialized personal training referencing "tips" or gratuities.
- Role play
- Buddy with the best on the team
- Including "gratuity" policy on the menu (and website)
- Making available tip calculator cards
- On the job reminders
- A balanced schedule (overscheduling harms everyone)
- Removing the dead weight
- Don't individualize and make exceptions for one vs. the team
- Firm, fair and consistent decisions
The core reason to give exceptional service and create memorable experiences can't be based on money. If someone who gives service does not already have a passion, no amount of money can keep someone motivated during tough times.
That said, the relationship between guests, management and restaurant ownership with the server at the very center can become weaker if those working diligently each day. Issues will not be visual and begin with rumblings in the hallway.
During particular times of the month, a random "fake gratuity" tactic helps those with less experience with a sparkle in their eye. Many times a boost of confidence is all that is needed. Slipping a fiver on the table just after a guest leaves and then giving a small 'great job' might give that boost and help the hesitant server to smile with confidence.
One rule which is consistent; "Never mess with people's money". Tips can move into the top conversation spot quickly if not considered. Anything and everything has impact on tips and when a trend continues, the staff believe: "the restaurant ownership and managment do not care."
Of course, this is not true but with the burden of leadership, a few details are forgetten in the decision making process. Business is not built on how well the servers are tipped but to make decisions which dramatically affect tips can be the first step to high turnover.
Educating the guests is a piece of the puzzle. Everyone has an opinion about what is the best practice for gratuity. The infographic below puts it into a bigger picture. Posting such an infographic in the restaurant or on a website might be helpful. The infographic offers a bigger picture about tipping at more place than restaurants:
Oddly, pooper scoopers are also on the list.
As menu prices increase, you would also think the gratuities would increase but this is not always the case.
As the server or bartender gains experience and improves theirs skills, you would think that their income from gratuities would also increase but this is not always the case.
Since the methodology of servers claiming income and taxes includes participation of the restaurant management to monitor and report the tips, the topic is not always easily talked about. "Auditor" and "authority" is the role of the leadership vs. "empowering".
Restaurant marketing success depends on belief. Creating an environment where a win-win-win occurs for the guests, the staff and the stakeholders by including support for those who make an income based on gratuities is a benefit to all.