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Caught ya! Employee appreciation

Everybody needs a pat on the back, especially employees who work diligently to make your customers' dining experiences fantastic. Part of your job as an owner or manager is to keep your team motivated, so they stick around.

Soliciting compliments directly from your restaurant ustomers is a great motivational tool to use in combination with the Spontaneous bonuses and One-On-One's I've talked about before.

Make it easy for your customers to communicate with you. Take a simple Guest Comment Card one step further. I call it a "Caught 'Ya!" Card. These small forms are delivered with guest checks, set on table tops, or placed at the front desk. The card, shown in the graphic below, provides an easy way for customers to recognize employees for giving superior service or going above and beyond.

Cards can be dropped in a box or bowl at the front desk. At the end of a shift, or the end of the day, the manager on duty removes and reviews the cards and shares the compliments with the employees at the next pre-shift briefing. This is strong positive reinforcement. Think how often you've thought about saying something complimentary and the opportunity didn't present itself. This is a great way to reinforce superior job performance. And be sure to put the cards in the employee's personnel file. They come in handy at evaluation time.

Want to take it a step further? Hang on to all of the cards and at the end of each month hold a drawing for a cash bonus, gift certificate to a local store, movie passes, or any other special prize. The more of the "Caught Ya!" cards an employee has received over the course of the month, the better chance he or she has of winning the prize. Conduct the drawing when as many employees as possible are present so the recognition is public.

Here's another thought, post an enlarged version of the winning card on the wall in the employee area. You could even display it up in the restaurant where guests can see, too!

Have some fun when designing the cards, but have a print shop produce them for you — they need to look professional. We've created two different versions of the "Caught Ya!" card that are ready to be downloaded, printed in color or photocopied. 

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