HR News & Education

Check out the latest news and resources for small businesses covering topics such as human resources, employee engagement, and management.

Navigating Restaurant Employee Benefits

Even two years after the surge of COVID hit restaurants in the United States, businesses are still struggling to find restaurant workers and keep good employees. Business owners are having to get creative with benefits and perks for employees to stay at their restaurant jobs. Studies have found that they are far less likely to pay for benefits than business owners in other industries. Although the practice is not mandatory, employers recognize that there are advantages in covering these costs for their workers.

Why Should Restaurants Offer Benefits?

There is an ongoing labor shortage, so a restaurant employee benefits program can help you attract new talent and retain your high-performing staff. This could make the difference in whether a candidate decides to apply to your restaurant or your competitors. Companies must get more creative in identifying what their employees need the most. Offering benefits is a great way to attract, hire, and retain restaurant staff. 

What Types of Benefits Should A Restaurant Offer its Employees?

You can get creative as to what exact benefits you offer, the most important part is that you're offering some benefits!


One of the biggest necessities for low-wage employees today is healthcare. According to the Affordable Care Act, restaurants in the U.S. with less than 50 full-time or full-time equivalent employees aren’t required to offer health insurance for restaurant employees. However, offering a group health plan can help increase retention and lets your employees know you care about their long-term health. 

Mental Health & Employee Well-Being

It's a very high-stress environment working in the restaurant industry so it's imperative your employees have healthy outlets to decompress after long shifts. Some things you can do for your restaurant employees' mental health:

  • Offer a subscription to an app like Calm
  • Offer to pay a monthly fee for therapy. There are tons of online, easy-access therapy options so offering to cover the cost would mean a lot to your employees
  • Offer discounts for gym memberships or yoga studios
  • Offer sick days and paid time off

Professional Development

Most restaurant employees have these jobs as stepping stones while they are working on their career path. Offering professional development opportunities helps to recognize employee's strengths and gives top performers the chance to take on leadership roles. 

  • DiscoverLink is an accessible e-learning platform for the restaurant industry.
  • ServSafe offers food and alcohol safety training and certification exams.
  • LinkedIn Learning offers a variety of online training for business and service skills. 

As you can see, there are creative ways you can offer employee benefits that go beyond just offering health insurance. The more you can offer to your employees, the more they will be willing to join your team and stick around. 

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