Every week we comb through the news to find employment trends affecting the hospitality industry so you don’t have to. This week’s hospitality in the news topic: how restaurant employees can stay busy when business is slow(er).

Ah, January. Not necessarily our favorite month in the hospitality industry. Holiday parties are over, most of the country is dealing with freezing temperatures and snow, and customers are limiting how much they dine out amidst the pandemic. As a restaurant employee, you may be experiencing a lull in business. But in lieu of layoffs, what can management do to make sure employees are staying busy and productive while on the clock? Here are 4 ideas (that may even save you a little money, too):  

How Restaurant Employees Can Stay Busy When Business is Slow(er)
Do a deep clean 

When was the last time you cleaned under the mats at the bottom of your beer cooler? Or really looked at the back of your walk-in freezer? Even if you have a rigid cleaning schedule, there are likely some spots that haven’t gotten attention that need it. Gum under the tables? Cleaning out your soda guns? Get creative and make your restaurant sparkle from head to toe.  

Take careful stock of inventory 

Though restaurants are used to taking food and beverage inventory, it’s time to look at what’s working on your menu and what’s not. Have a food item that doesn’t sell or a bottle of liquor that just isn’t popular? Either figure out how to better integrate them into your offerings or get rid of them. Your bottom line will thank you. 

Add more personalization 

Creating a great guest experience is one of the key ingredients in building your return customer base. One of the ways to improve their experience is by finding ways to add more personalization at your restaurant. Consider adding your logo to napkins or to-go containers or updating/implementing a loyalty program. While it may cost a little money up front, it will be worth it in the long run. When it’s slower, ask workers to help add sticker logo’s so restaurant employees can stay busy. 

Grow your team’s skills  

If you’ve got a little down time during a lull in business, find ways to grow your team’s skills. This may be through:  

  • Educating them about food and beverage pairings (a great way to upsell menu items!) 
  • Cross-training FOH and BOH staff 
  • Having staff try menu items they’re not familiar with  

This is a great way to help develop your employees’ confidence in your offerings and business in general.  

Most restaurants will undoubtedly experience slower points of business, especially during the winter after the holidays. Use these tips to teach your staff how restaurant employees can stay busy and productive while on the clock until business builds back up.  


If you need specialized workers to assist in cleaning or other labor-intensive projects, don’t forget your friends at LGC. We have qualified employees ready to assist your operation.