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7 Top Tips to Get Your Staff to Buy In – and Stay In!

Internal marketing is the process of promoting your brand and products within your organization. In a restaurant, the internal communication between owners and employees is an important factor that contributes to the success of a restaurant. Restaurant operators who implement internal marketing programs recognize that their most valuable marketing media are the people who work for them. 

Communicating brand and product knowledge to your employees doesn’t have to be boring. Here are some tips on strategies you can implement and execute to promote internal marketing within your restaurant:

Create a fun environment

Employees who enjoy their work excel at work. If employees are having fun, they’re going to work harder, stay longer and help promote your restaurant to guests in a positive way. Be an employer they want to promote by creating a fun, efficient and well-run working environment. 

Encourage individualism

For years the trend was to script everything a staff member said to guests and have them dress in branded uniforms to fit the “brand look.” Today, some of the most popular and successful restaurants encourage their staff to dress in a way that showcases their individuality. This encourages staff to be themselves and allows them to create meaningful and authentic relationships with regular and new customers. 

Discount programs for staff

A great incentive for current employees to visit the restaurant on their days off is to offer meal discounts. If an employee wants to bring friends or family, the meal discount also extends to them. In addition, regular guests love seeing and interacting with staff when they are off the clock. 

Boost your staff events

Company events help with team building, validate your employees, and boost company morale. There is often a gap between management and employees. To help fill this gap, look for certain ways that the team can connect outside of the restaurant environment. Summer parties, wine/beer tours, fitness groups or educational sessions are great examples of team bonding. These activities in the workplace enable better communication, better relationships and ultimately increase productivity. 

Set up regular tastings with suppliers

Tastings are one of the most effective tools for suppliers to help build their own brand awareness and ensure that employees are keeping their brand top of mind when suggesting alcoholic drinks. Beer, liquor and wine reps are always happy to conduct private tastings for restaurants that represent their brand. This is a great tactic to provide product knowledge to your employees in a fun way.

Bring on the sale contests

Adding an element of healthy competition can help generate engagement and potentially increase sales. Connect with suppliers and come up with a contest that promotes a great prize. The incentive will encourage staff members to be eager to win. By creating a contest like this, not only will your sales increase but the contest will also create internal excitement with the team. A win-win tactic. 

Hold pre-shift meetings

A part of the internal marketing management process that gets overlooked is the pre-shift meeting. Take a few minutes before each shift to brief your staff about any promotions and features for the day. While working in a restaurant can be fun and rewarding, it can also at times be a thankless job. Give some praise to your staff by highlighting their achievements. You can also have a chef or bartender put together a dish or drink that staff are encouraged to promote or feature for the night. During the shift meeting, have staff try it and romance it to each other. 

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