5 Ways to Thank Your Staff for Working New Year's Eve (or Day)

By: Julia Beebe

4 Minute Read

Nov 09, 2017

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new years in restaurants

Working any holiday is a bummer, but it's an accepted reality in the service industry.

New Year's Eve and Day are especially FOMO-ridden (fear of missing out) holidays. What better way to spend New Year's Eve than partying with friends or snuggled up on a couch, or New Years Day sipping on Bloody Mary's and fighting that hangover?

While friends are finally free of required holiday activities and traveling, you and your staff will be pouring pints and serving salads.

You might be in the lucky segment of the market where employees fight over the New Year's Eve shifts - banking on a night of generous tips and witnessing more interesting stories than they would at any other party. Still, you can offer a little good will to make up for rowdy drunken customers and questionable bathroom cleaning shifts.

Here are 5 tips to thank your staff for working on New Year's Eve and/or New Year's Day.

1. Serve An Awesome Staff Meal


If you're a full service restaurant, you probably offer some sort of staff meal that employees can enjoy pre-shift. For New Year's Eve, you should ask your chef to prep something extra special for the team. Maybe the best special from 2016 or the best-selling menu item. I'm sure your staffers talk about their splurge worthy food items, but this is a great opportunity to surprise them with a pre-shift treat.

Don't offer a shift meal? If you're a bar or QSR concept, you might not be in the practice of offering a shift meal. You could surprise your wait staff with cupcakes or some other packaged treat to show your thanks before they hunker down for a busy (or very slow) night.

2. Make A Game Out of the Night


People in sales thrive on competition, and at the end of the day, waitstaff and bartenders are ultimately the sales reps for your restaurant. Check your POS sales report throughout the night to see who is making the best sales and have check points throughout the night where you give them small rewards.

  • Whoever has the most sales at 9pm gets an additional day off.
  • Whoever is ahead at 10pm gets a spot bonus of $50.
  • You can give the big winner at the end of the night a free dinner for 2 (or more!).

Get the rest of your team involved too. You can reward your chefs by best ticket fulfillment times or ask waitstaff to track customer feedback.

Don't forget about the bussers, ask your waitstaff and bartenders to nominate which busser helped out the most that night or ask them to track how many tables they cleared that night and reward the winner.

Simple activities like these make a shift go by faster and makes work feel less like work. These are fun ideas to try any night of the week!

3. Match Tips


Matching tips might be a more manageable perk to offer on New Year's Day where employees need that extra inspiration to get out of bed and suit up for the brunch rush.

If you offer this deal on New Year's Eve, people who aren't even on the schedule might just show up to work! This is an amazing and generous offer and way to make your employees feel appreciated. If you had an especially profitable December, this might be a great way to reward staff and also pad your roster for the holidays next year.

4. Don't Have Them Come In


This isn't really an option for a bar, nightclub, or full service restaurant. BUT if you don't think you'll be busy on New Years Eve or Day, maybe you should just keep the doors closed that day. You'll waste money on labor, food waste, and even on electricity for the day. If you don't think you'll recoup the costs of being open on New Year's Eve or Day, maybe you just give everybody the day off and put your feet up until 2017.

It might seem like late notice, but whether employees go to a last minute party or spend the night tucked in at home, if they were in for a slow shift, they'll be grateful to just take a beat. If you're feeling generous, you could give them a small gift card for agreeing to work even though you decided better of it.

5. Pop Bottles


Working late nights and dealing with difficult customers creates a lot of comradery in the service industry. Simply having a post-shift champagne toast (or post-shift party) will be appreciated amongst your team. You know your staff best, so if you know its not out of the ordinary for them to hang out at the bar after their shift or go out together, a post-shift surprise bottle(s) of champagne will be welcome.

If your team isn't as tight, or you know people have independent post shift plans, maybe you just send them home with a bottle of champagne and a thank you!

Welcome 2017! Time for your restaurant or bar to plan for the year.

Before you know it, Valentine's Day, Christmas, and National Taco Day 2017 will be around the corner.
Download The Toast Restaurant Holiday Handbook for a year's worth of restaurant holiday planning!

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