Voluntary Benefits

The Best Benefits in the Restaurant Industry

June 21, 2019 | Tanya Gappy, Vice President of Employer Solutions (West)


Even in the world of hospitality the restaurant industry is unique. Different workers are subject to different wage laws, and a majority of employees may work part time. Complicating this, restaurant margins are notoriously razor-thin.

But despite these complications, providing quality benefits for your employees can mean a world of difference for your restaurant business, for candidate attraction and retention, and also to create the best organizational culture you can.

Here are four benefits to consider.

Flexible Schedules

This almost goes without saying, doesn’t it? Even those of us who have never worked in a restaurant tend to know the meaning of someone “picking up a shift.”

But even though we associate restaurants with flexible scheduling, the reality is that accommodating flexible schedules for your staff takes effort. Just saying that you offer a flexible schedule isn’t enough. Take the time to plan your schedules accordingly, and be familiar with the various obligations your staff has, including school, family responsibilities or artistic interests.

However, be sure that you also set standards for switching schedules. While emergencies do arise, asking others to come in the night before a shift — to use an example — will simply undercut employee morale. Showing that you’re putting the effort into scheduling will help make the schedule shuffle much easier — and much less stressful.

Paid Time Off

Emergencies can arise in any industry. However, the pressure of shift work means that many employees stress over a lost paycheck, and they may decide to attempt to work a shift even if they’re sick or dealing with a personal issue. Employees who arrive at work sick will put your other employees — and possibly your customers — at risk for getting an illness as well.

So be sure to build in sick days and other forms of paid time off. This way, your employees can feel confident knowing they can miss a shift without stress.

Free Food

Many restaurants and catering businesses offer some version of free food as part of their benefits, whether it’s an item from the menu or a staff meal.

Providing food as a perk may not seem financially feasible, but consider that you don’t have to offer your entire menu to employees. Also, having employees sample your offerings is a great way to familiarize them with the menu.

One more plus: Providing free food is a potential tax deduction, so it’s a benefit for both you and your employees.

Health Insurance

Many restaurants have not offered health insurance, or their offerings have been severely lacking. However, the tide now is starting to turn. Health insurance is the most important benefit you can offer, and it’s a benefit that employees now value more than ever.

But don’t just think of your full-time employees when it comes to health care; try to find the means to offer it to your part-time employees as well, as The Cheesecake Factory is now doing.

We understand that most restaurants don’t have the resources of The Cheesecake Factory, and it can be difficult to find a health insurance solution that works for you. If you’re struggling to figure out how to best provide your employees health care — or any benefits — don’t hesitate to contact our team at Winston Benefits. We can provide you with everything you need to ensure your employees get the affordable, quality care they deserve.


Disclaimer:  This content is strictly informational and should not be used as specific advice on insurance products, legal, accounting, and/or tax related matters. Insureds should always contact the appropriate licensed professional for their insurance, legal, accounting, or tax needs.

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