Restaurants offering incentives to hire, retain workers

In order to attract new employees and convince current ones to stay, many employers are turning to incentives beyond traditional salary boosts, the New York Times reports. 

The sudden reopening of businesses across the country has left many scrambling to find employees to meet the rising demand as customers return to daily activities, especially in service sectors like the restaurant industry. 

While many larger-scale companies are using free hotel rooms and even college scholarships as incentives, some Baton Rouge restaurants are finding their own ways to get employees back to work. 

It’s been difficult getting employees back to work at BRQ Seafood and Barbecue, manager Amanda Ferguson says. Some are still scared of the virus.

In order to bring in new staff, BRQ is offering current staff a $25 gift card if they refer someone who will work at BRQ for at least two to three months, Ferguson says.

They’ve found that it works, Ferguson says, because when employees are working with someone they know, that addition to the staff tends to work out in the long run. 

Brew-Bacher’s Grill has not had trouble hiring, manager Sunny Mcdaniel says, but has had trouble getting employees to stay. 

In order to convince new workers to stay longer, recent hires will receive a $100 signing bonus within 30 days of beginning, Mcdaniel says. 

This plan was recently developed and they haven’t had anyone take advantage yet, Mcdaniel says, but the hope is that the bonus will motivate employees to stay. 

Employers are also paying more attention to their employees’ goals, The New York Times reports. This includes personal and family life.

Staffing MJ’s Cafe has been somewhat challenging after pandemic concerns eased, owner Mary-Brennan Faucheux says. Through new hires, the restaurant has essentially created a whole new team, she says. 

While Faucheux has not offered specific incentives for new staff at the cafe, its business model may serve as an enticement. The cafe closes at 3 p.m., staff have evenings off and the restaurant is closed on Sundays. 

“It’s a pretty good job for someone looking for that work-life balance,” Faucheux says.