Restaurant Gift Guide 2018: 35 Gifts For Every Restaurant Employee on Your List

By: Ellie Mirman

9 Minute Read

Dec 19, 2018

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Restaurant Gift Guide 1

The 2018 holiday season is in full swing. For the last-minute Lucy's among us, there's still time to get the perfect gift for the restaurant employee in your life. 

Whether they work front of house, back of house, or own the joint, we have you covered with our comprehensive restaurant gift guide. Keep reading to see our gift recommendations for every flavor and personality you find working in a restaurant, including:

  • Gifts for the one who needs to de-stress
  • Gifts for the restaurant entrepreneur
  • Gifts for the adventurous amateur chef
  • Gifts for the one who takes work with them

The One Gift On Every Restaurateurs Wish List This Year: Toast Go

Gifts For The One Who Needs To De-Stress

Burnout, beware! The restaurant industry is renowned for being one of the toughest working environments to stomach. Celebrity Chef Chris Hill puts it best when he said "it’s hot, it’s unpredictable, and it’s very manual-labor intensive." Here are a few gift recommendations that will help the hospitality professional in your life stress less. 

1. A Trip to the spa - $100

Treat your restaurateur to an exfoliating Ruby Red Grapefruit Scrub or a hydrating Honey and Milk massage at Toronto’s Four Seasons spa. The soft lighting, calming sounds, and tasty smells are bound to offer a nice break.

2. An Air BnB 'Experience' - See site for details

Traveling is an amazing way to learn and escape from your day to day. Earlier this year, AirBnB rolled out a new offering called experiences, where local hosts bring attendees on a guided activity, like an LED bicycle ghost tour through New Orleans or a tapas crawl through Madrid. Check out the food & wine experiences offered by AirBnB for some truly unique and one-in-a-lifetime opportunities around the world. 

3. Fitness tracker $100

Encourage and compete for steps with a fitness tracker, like the Fitbit One, my own personal favorite for tracking steps, exercise, and sleep. 

4. Wine cork candles $15

Create a relaxing and romantic setting with these wine cork candles, making any bottle of wine into quite the centerpiece.

5. A Mindfulness App Subscription - See Site For Details

Mindfulness is all the rage as of late, and for good reason: the practice teaches you to be more present in your everyday life and unlock the amazing benefits. Think your loved one could use some more zen in their daily routine? Get them a subscription to a mindfulness app like Headspace or Calm

6. Infuser water bottle $15

Perhaps your on-the-go restaurateur needs a break from caffeine. Pick up a nice water bottle, like this flavor infuser water bottle, to keep them hydrated throughout the day.

7. Music service subscription - See Site for Details

Do you ever enjoy the sweet pleasure of putting on your headphones and just zoning out? Music can be a wonderful tool to help de-stress; consider gifting a subscription to Apple Music or Spotify.  

8. Novelty body pillow $25

Perhaps what your restaurateur needs is to relax on a giant body pillow in the shape of a burrito. Or a strawberry. Or a donut. Whatever they prefer!

9. Paint Nite - See Site For Pricing For Your Area

Though most people consider a night out at a restaurant to be an escape, same may not be true for your restaurant professional. Check out a local Paint Nite where you sit, sip, and create a painting to take home and spice up your walls. 

Gifts for the Restaurant Entrepreneur

Working in a restaurant trains you to be a true blue jack-of-all-trades.  Though their title may be 'manager', their job description reads: master multi task-er, amateur firefighter ( both literally and figuratively), menu engineer, digital marketer, hospitality maven, mixologist, and business analyst. Here are some gifts perfectly tailored to the one who oozes entrepreneurial zeal. 

10. Tea to-go travel mug $28

Fuel your restaurateur with caffeine to go. A fun alternative to the classic travel mug is the Tea to Go travel mug that allows you to brew loose leaf tea via a built-in glass filter.

11. Travel-friendly tea $12

Don’t forget to pair the tea travel mug with some delicious tea. Check out these dissolvable tea drops that come in fun shapes and flavors.

12. Healthy snacks $20/month

Introduce some new, healthy snacks with a monthly subscription to a service like NatureBox, which will send a package of 3-5 different treats each month (or more frequently) to your door.

13. Rugged smartphone case $50

Constantly running around, whether on the job or off, means your phone can get a lot of use and even get dropped here and there. An OtterBox smartphone case can be just the thing your restaurateur needs to make sure that their phone survives through all the day’s crazy tasks.

14. Non-slip restaurant shoes <$50

Check out our list of the best restaurant shoes to wear at work. 

15. Ad credit $50+

Help locals find your restaurateur’s spot with the gift of ad credit for Yelp, Google, Facebook, or any other favorite local search site.

16. Restaurant management book(s) $10-$20

Pick up one of these great restaurant management books like Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain or Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business by Danny Meyer. Expanding knowledge is one of the best ways to improve a business.

17. LinkedIn Premium - See site for details

This one speaks for itself: while many are happy with the functionality that LinkedIn's free experience provides, provide the restaurant entrepreneur in your life with LinkedIn Premium  to take their professional network to the next level.

18. New business cards $20+

Order some freshly printed business cards, signs, or cards with a credit to Moo or Vistaprint. Both offer some nice templates and easy online ordering.

19. Dropbox Pro subscription $10/month

Keep your restaurateur’s files organized and in the cloud - offering easy sharing and access with any accountant or graphic designer who may be supporting the business. Dropbox has both free and paid plans, and works on both computers and mobile phones.

20. Toast subscription $79+/month

Take your restaurant owners' operations up a notch with a Toast POS subscription, which offers remote access to real-time sales, labor, and menu data, as well as free monthly POS software updates, mobile tablets for table side ordering, and integrated revenue-driving tools like online ordering, gift, and loyalty.


Gifts For The Adventurous Amateur Chef

Can they quote obscure episodes of Parts Unknown? Are they constantly telling you to look past the ingredients and focus on the taste? Out of all your friends, would they be most likely to eat the worm at the bottom of a tequila bottle? Restaurants are filled to the brim with artists, rebels, and adventurous souls. Here are some gifts that will ensure the one on your list always lives life to its fullest and tastiest. 

21. Kitchen Confidential Deluxe Edition - $20

'Nuf said. 

22. Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker - $65

This bluetooth Sous Vide Precision Cooker from Anova is perfect if you're new to sous vide or looking for an additional cooker to add to their at home arsenal. 

23. Family recipe cookbook $25+

Pull together your favorite recipes along with real photos of family and friends enjoying those meals. Websites like Blurb offer tools and printing services to publish your own books, including a personalized family cookbook.

24. Self-bottled wine or beer $20+

Personalize a wine or beer gift with your own vintage and/or label. Some local breweries and wineries may offer this, or you can get a beer brewing kit for your home, or you can order personal wine bottles online.

25. Recipe in a jar - <$10

Share the gift of a great recipe without sending your friend on a frantic search for the ingredients. These all-in-one recipes in a jar are a cost effective, organized way to share the gift of food this holiday season. 

26. NYT Cooking App 

Taken from the pages of the New York Times' Food section, the New York Times Cooking app provides users with mouth watering access to some equally as mouth watering recipes. 

27. A food and beverage pairing poster - See Site For Details

Check out these amazing wine pairing posters from and take the guess work out of pairing the food and beverage menu when you host next! 

28. Google Hub - $129 

Making a recipe for the first time can be a sticky situation, mainly when you need to turn the page. The new Google Hub is a voice controlled solution to your kitchen chaos. 

29. The Big Green Egg 

A griller, roaster, smoker, baker all-in-one, The Big Green Egg will help you bring amazing slow cooked dishes to your dinner table. 

Gifts For The One Who Takes Work With Them 

For the one who eat, sleeps, and breathes restaurants: They work in one, hang out in another, and check out yet more during their free time. Honestly, you never even bothered to download Yelp or TripAdvisor because they send out a weekly recommendations text to your group chat with average wait time and hostess name included. This section's for them. 

30. Apple or Pebble Watch $200-$550

The hot accessory for the restaurateur on the go is, of course, an Apple or Pebble Watch. Sync to your smartphone and get notifications and respond to messages right from your wrist.

31. Ringly smart jewelry $195

So a watch isn't their style; that's okay. With Ringly, the restaurant employee on your list can still get notifications while they're out on the floor without pulling out their phone. Ringly sells fashion rings that sync to your phone and show your most important messages right on your hand.

32. BROO Craft Beer Shampoo & Conditioner  <$10

Beer. While it's a great beverage, it can also be used as a great marinade, cheese sauce, and hair conditioner. Yep, you read that right: BROO is the first to a line of create craft beer based hygiene products, including soaps, shampoos, and conditioners. Prost! 

33. A Beer Cap Map  $50

This beer cap map is a great gift for the friend who's an active participant in the local beer craft beer scene. 

34. An Uber Gift Card

Since they're always out and about checking out this week's new "it" restaurant, their Uber account could probably use some loving. Cover their next few rides home with an Uber gift card

35. Chef’s tie $45

Pick up a clever tie for your favorite chef, like this fish skeleton necktie. You can even pair it with this meat cleaver tie clipand complete the look with salt and pepper cufflinks.

The Gift That Keeps on Giving 

There you have it, our restaurant gift guide for 2018. Have another gift idea suited perfectly for restaurant employees? Share it in the comments section below!  

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