Restaurant Management: How to Use Contests to Boost Morale (and Sales)

Restaurant Management: How to Use Contests to Boost Morale (and Sales)Contests aren’t just a way to excite your customers and increase business…they’re also a great way to reward and motivate your staff! If your employees seem to be suffering from low morale lately, maybe it’s time to liven things up with a fun contest. The thrill of competition and the possibility of a reward may be enough to make your staff focus on doing their best work…while increasing sales, of course! Check out a few of these ideas:

The “Perfect Guest Check” Contest:

The best guest check is one that includes a drink, appetizer, entrée, and dessert. Every time a server gets one of these “perfect guest checks,” s/he gets an entry into a nightly or weekly drawing.


Bingo isn’t just for senior centers…it’s also a great way to motivate your employees! Create your own bingo board by filling in the squares with menu items you want your employees to sell—for example, your signature cocktail, a new entrée, or a specific dessert. Whoever gets a row of sales first wins.

Personal Best.

In this contest, employees are really competing against themselves. Figure out the most every employee has sold during a shift. Then, reward employees who exceed their personal bests. Post the results so team members can gain recognition.


Every time one of your employees does some extraordinary—gets a positive comment from a customer, helps a coworker, or goes above and beyond in any way—put his/her name into the raffle.

Ticket Time Dollars.

Contests aren’t just for servers…they can also be for your kitchen staff! First, make sure you have a specific cooking time for every entrée. Then, lay out ten to twenty one-dollar bills and, for every minute cooks go above the cooking time, you take a dollar back. The leftover money is theirs.

Team Challenge.

Contests don’t have to be a solo thing…they can also create team bonds. Assign employees to random teams and then calculate their total sales. The team with the most sales gets a prize.

Your prizes for these contests don’t need to be complex. A small monetary reward, getting out of work early, a prime parking spot, movie tickets, or a special food item are all great rewards. Often, simple recognition for a job well done is a big part of the reward. Whatever you choose, implementing contests at your restaurant is sure to boost staff morale and increase sales!

Article provided by Buzztime.

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Trusted by over 3,200 bars and restaurants in North America since 1985, Buzztime integrates trivia, card and sports games with in- and out-of-venue messaging and communication tools. With over 4.2 million player registrations on the Buzztime platform and over 52 million games played each year, Buzztime players spread the word and invite friends and family to their favorite Buzztime location to enjoy an evening of fun and competition.