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How to Motivate and Retain Your Food Truck Staff

The mobile food industry is much like any other area of the food service industry, in which employee turnover isn’t uncommon. You must be prepared to hire great people who you’ll someday lose to another job, higher education, or relocation. Your staff is one of your greatest assets, and keeping them motivated and retained in a competitive job market is crucial to the ongoing health and success of your business.

High staff turnover not only results in a significant cost to your business but also can have a negative ongoing effect by fostering an unstable, inconsistent, and non-cohesive work culture. When it comes to keeping your staff motivated and retained, you have several techniques at your disposal.

Offer competitive wages to food truck staff

You can help avoid turnover by offering competitive wages and rewarding employees with a raise when you notice consistently high performance. Even a small increase can keep your best employees from jumping ship.

If you’re going to hire and retain qualified staff members for your food truck, paying them with a salary or hourly wage that matches or exceeds what’s offered throughout the food service industry is vital.

If you can’t attract the right applicants to fill your job vacancies, chances are you may have to increase the amount of money you’re offering, even if you feel the pay is competitive. The more demand that exists for an individual’s labor, the more he can expect to be paid.

Provide basic employee benefits

Offering basic employee benefits provides many paybacks to you and your employees — number one is staff retention. An attractive employee benefit package helps recruit good employees and retain them as well.

If you decide to offer benefits to your employees, you have different choices based on your and your staff’s personal situations:

  • Insurance: Perhaps the most sought-after benefit but also the most expensive is health insurance. Two common types of insurance are

    • Fee-for-service plans: These plans reimburse members (employees and dependents), regardless of what doctor or hospital they go to.

    • Managed care programs (including HMOs): These programs focus on preventive health and are generally less expensive for both employee and employer, but your employees are limited to which practitioners and facilities they can visit to receive maximum benefits.

    In addition to health insurance, you may provide dental insurance and vision care.

  • Retirement plans: Most of today’s plans include 401(k)s. Employees have their own accounts and can take the money from these funds with them when they switch companies. They can also contribute as much as 15 percent of each paycheck into this fund.

Consider creative benefits for food truck staff

Although offering basic benefits, like insurance and retirement plans, isn’t easy or cost-effective for all small businesses, creative benefit packages can give your employees similar value at a fraction of the cost.

Creative benefits should complement the salary instead of substituting for good pay, and ideally, some benefits should be personalized to individual staff members to ensure that they’re beneficial and meaningful. Here are some examples of perks you can offer your whole staff:

  • Direct deposit

  • Free or discounted meals

  • Education plan

Some other simple yet creative benefits and perks to consider include the following:

  • Additional days off for staff birthdays

  • Complimentary gym membership or movie or sporting event tickets

  • Work-life balance benefits, such as flexible working hours, working from home for your office staff, study leave, or child care assistance

  • Yearly off-site team-building experiences

  • High-quality, personalized holiday and birthday gifts

  • Magazine subscriptions

Conduct performance reviews for food truck staff

Setting clear, measurable performance objectives for your staff and reviewing them at regular intervals is a crucial factor in promoting and retaining a high-quality staff. These performance objectives provide your employees with focus and motivation as well as a sense of accomplishment and morale when objectives are met or exceeded.

They also enable you to measure the performance of your staff and identify any particular strengths that can be leveraged or weaknesses that may need to be addressed.

Boost food service staff morale in other important ways

An employee has numerous reasons to leave a job, such as inadequate pay and a lack of benefits. However, high stress levels can amplify those reasons. Here’s what you can do to ease tensions and boost morale:

  • Encourage open communication

  • Offer opportunities for advancement

  • Reward employees of the month

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