Are Your Food Truck Employees Happy & Productive?
Making employees happy working for your food truck is not just about cash incentives. Factors like schedule, working conditions, sense of fulfillment, and career advancement, among others, can greatly affect the performance of a worker. That is why many big and successful companies today put a lot of effort in keeping their employees happy, not just for altruistic reasons but because there are real business benefits in doing so.
Here are some ways employee satisfaction can impact your food truck business:
Having a better employee retention can help a food truck business limit the cost associated with hiring and training new workers. Employee turnover can cost $9,444.47 based on the averaged results from 15 studies that determined the average cost of replacing an $8 per hour employee, according to calculations by the Sasha Corporation.
Being able to retain employees means business operations are less likely to be interrupted. A short-staffed food truck may need to temporarily modify its menu, limit vending locations, and even refuse participating in events that can lead to missed opportunities and less revenue until a new employee is hired. Having enough workers also ensure that employees are not overworked, which is important to keep the quality of the products and services of a food truck consistent. Happy employees are also more likely willing to go beyond the call of duty because they have a sense of fulfillment in their work.
Happy and satisfied employees are more proud to tell others about their jobs. This means you have a group of potential advocates for your food truck business that can increase your customer base. But if your employees are unsatisfied and complain about your mobile food business to their family and friends even in passing, it can have negative effects to the reputation of your food truck. The opinions of employees about your food truck have weight because they are perceived to be insiders. Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool (now more than ever in the age of online reviews) so it is better when people have less or no bad things to say about your business.
Happy employees are not just productive, they can be loyal as well. This can give a food truck owner a group of trusted people that can help grow the business. If you decide to expand and have more trucks, these employees can become your managers and you are rest assured to their quality of work unlike when you hire someone totally new.
Now, after knowing some of the advantages associated with keeping employees satisfied, what can you do to reap these benefits? Some may think that increasing salary or giving bonuses are the best ways to prevent someone from resigning. But even though employees will not turn down cash incentives, there are other ways that might be more effective (and less costly) to make your food truck staff happy and productive.
Assess your staff and give them tasks where they excel. If people do things they are good at, they get gratification each time the work is done instead of getting discouraged by work they have trouble figuring out. Explaining the meaning or effect to the business of certain tasks also let employees understand their role and contribution to the business.When a person knows the point and importance of the work, they will less likely to take it for granted.
It is also a good idea to let employees discuss the work schedule instead of the owner choosing it in an arbitrary manner. Asking for their input and letting them participate in the decision-making ensures that employees will adhere to the schedule everyone agreed up. Allocate a day for a staff meeting to discuss the schedule for the following week. Prepare a list of available work hours that needs to be filled, keeping in mind the future activities your business will involved in like regular vending days and event days. It is also best to set well-defined ground rules for deciding employee schedule to prevent conflicts or disagreements.
In any type of relationships, communication is key. Let employees know that their options matter by making it easy to approach you as the food truck owner. An open door policy not just for complaints but also for ideas can be great for your business. Quickly resolving conflicts or issues raised by employees must be a priority to minimize any complications that can impact business operations.
Also, giving positive feedback when it is due can go a long way. Commenting on your employees’ performance gives them a sense of how they are doing and where else they can improve. Make sure to be specific in giving praises or credit because a standard “well done” can sound insincere.
At the very beginning, it is best for food truck entrepreneurs if they can help employees advance in their careers. The food service industry is considered to have a high employee turnover rate because typically, most people do not plan for a long-term career in the field. But with the right pay and potential professional advancement, some employees can be encouraged to stay.One way that food truck owners can offer professional advancement is by helping employees get continued training. Offer to pay for your employees to get new skills that you can utilize in the business and give them more responsibilities as they improve. Another way is by sharing the business goals like expanding your food truck fleet and the potential for a management position in the future.
An mobile food entrepreneur cannot do everything alone and without employees willing to work for you, the business will not operate. Yes, they are paid to do the job but as any food truck owner can attest, the necessary work can take more than the average eight-hour job. It takes a passionate and diligent person to work in a food truck. Expressing your gratitude for the contribution of your employees is a simple but effective way to show that they are appreciated and that their hard work matter. Just think of it this way: most likely, these people can do something else or work for someone else, but they chose to work for you and help realize your dream.
Hiring new employees is a natural part of businesses. But additional members of the staff must be chosen carefully as they can change the dynamic of long-time employees. Be sure to take into consideration potential employees’ fitness to your “company culture” instead of hiring based solely on skill. New employees can clash with your current employees if they do not believe with the same professional values and this can affect the mindset of your long-time employees. Encouraging a culture of fun instead of stiff working environment can also make your staff feel at ease and not dread going to work everyday.
Though it should be a given, employees are happy if they are fairly paid for the amount of work they provide. Because food trucks are limited in scale compared to restaurants, most employees can understand if you cannot provide extravagant wages. But compensation can take other forms as well: a free lunch once a week or a birthday day-off can be much appreciated and are low-cost ways to compensate employees.
Having a food truck business supported by satisfied and productive workforce leads to stability, lower costs, and more potential for growth. At the end of the day, what mobile food entrepreneurs should always remember is though money can entice some employees to put up with working conditions, even cash has its limits and no amount of money can buy what matters most in business: loyalty.