The key to answering this question properly relies on the answers to two important pre-questions:
- How does your staff split the tip money?
- How long and how well has each staff member been operating for you?
If the answer to question one is they split tips evenly and actually make a lot of money by doing this, then it might be possible to find a way to enhance the rate and amount of tips they get by adding “please tip” jars to the counter as well as getting debit machines that ask for a tip instead of giving them a raise. If your staff is getting tipped well and so have never asked for a raise, there’s no reason to give them one unless you want them to know how grateful you are to have them. But if the answer to question one is that they don’t split tips very evenly and in fact don’t get much tip money at all, then after a while a raise might be the only motivation they have to keep satisfying customers as much has they can. Now let’s move onto the next pre-question.
If your answer to question two was “my staff works very hard and have been with me for years” and they ask for a raise, give them one! Even if it’s just a minor one. If you can afford it, this is a great way to make sure you don’t lose your team. If you’re staff are doing well and everything is gravy, why ruin this by saying no to a raise. People say don’t fix what isn’t broken, but I also like to say don’t ruin what’s working well. If you can keep the gravy train going, do it, no matter what! But if the answer to question two was they don’t work very hard and have only been with you for less than a year, it might be a lot wiser to hire new staff instead of giving these monkeys a raise. Just saying.
So now overall we can see there are factors to the ultimate question “when should you give out raises.” In the restaurant business I believe raises should be earned and used as a tool by the owners and managers to make sure everyone is satisfied, especially the customers. Don’t say “yes” too easily because if your staff doesn’t deserve the raise, there’s a good chance their quality of work won’t improve when they receive it. There is a profound psychology to the whole thing and giving a raise to one guy and not another can be dangerous, so you’re doing a smart thing by thinking this through.
My concluding advice is to do whatever it takes to keep those staff members that are crucial to the success of your business, and don’t be so nice to the ones that not only should get replaced but are lagging you behind. After all, you’re not Santa Clause. Let your staff understand you’re planning to keep this restaurant going for many years and decades and when you give them a raise it means you’re hoping they will stick around to see your future success and therefore receive many more raises down the road.
I hope that info helps, because it sure helped me when I was in the hell of things. Well, bye for now and see you soon!