Drive Restaurant Sales Through Employee Contests

May 31, 2018 | Tips

Want to create an incentive for your staff to upsell certain items? Want an easy way to track those sales?

Whether you’re looking to sell more of your signature cocktails, seasonal entrees, fresh catch of the day, delicious dishes that don’t get a lot of attention, or even gift cards, employee contests can be a valuable tool in driving sales.

Boost sales through employee contests

With employee contests, you can promote healthy competition among employees while also improving your sales.

Incentivizing higher item sales by an employee is a surefire way to motivate them to be consistent ambassadors of your offerings and take a vested interest in contributing towards the growth of your restaurant’s sales.

How to set up employee contests using Squirrel POS?

Squirrel POS makes it easy for managers to track item sales by employee.


Contests can easily be set up ahead of time in Squirrel Back Office under the Daily Setup tab, and are not limited to single items.

Contest totals can be easily tracked on each server’s cashout slip, directly from the Squirrel POS terminal using the ‘reports’ function, or using the employee contest report from within Squirrel Back Office.

Tips for building successful employee contests at your restaurant

To ensure your employee competitions are successful and are actually contributing towards sales growth, it’s important to keep these three factors at the top of mind:

  1. Collective buy-in
  2. Employee contests seldom work if only a handful of employees recognize the benefits of being engaged in them.

    Your main purpose with hosting such contests as part of your restaurant’s working culture is to motivate staff and incentivize performance on the basis of sales.

    The performance ranking of employees based on individual item sales should not come across as an assessment of their total value.

    We all know that your employees are hardworking professionals who are called to go above and beyond their responsibilities, often in ways that don’t get recognized. Their contribution to sales is only a segment of their worth.

    For collective buy-in to be achieved among your employees to engage in a contest, the motivation has to be both intrinsic (aligned with their values) and extrinsic (tangible incentives, either monetary or other).

  3. Customized incentives – make them relevant and be creative
  4. As mentioned above, the incentives you offer for contributing to higher individual item sales must be aligned with the true wants of your employees and relate to the values of your restaurant.

    By understanding what incentives your employees truly care for, either through surveys or open discussions – not only are you bound to achieve a higher buy-in among staff but it could also prove effective in boosting morale (employees love leaders that listen) and reducing turnover.

    It would almost guarantee success in terms of strong consistent and sustainable sales growth through individual employee contributions as the ROI for employees is direct, documented, and pre-determined.

    For example, an incentive that is intrinsically motivating could be a points system that credits employees for every net new item sale to be redeemed as a charitable donation or professional development dollars.

    An example of an extrinsically motivating incentive could be cash bonuses or entries into a weekly, daily, monthly lottery for cash prices and other valuable winables.

  5. Communication
  6. Sending out daily or consistent reminders depending on the structure of the employee contest will help reinforce participation among your employees.

    You can do this easily using the Squirrel POS communication center – where such information can be configured as a message and accessed by your employees using a Squirrel POS terminal.

    You could build a leaderboard that showcases individual employee rankings based on item sales to be shared with your employees.

    To avoid discouraging and demotivating employee based on their performance, it’s important that you collectively discuss whether it would be beneficial to share this leaderboard information across your restaurant or if employees would like to just receive updates on their own sales performance.

If you’d like to learn more about Squirrel POS Back Office capabilities, including employee contests visit our POS solutions page.

If you’re an existing customer looking to access the employee contest functionality within your Squirrel POS, our support team would love to help!


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