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10 Fun Restaurant Server Games

Beth is a restaurant manager who understands how to boost sales while encouraging employee morale and productivity.

These 10 games will help boost both sales and employee morale.

These 10 games will help boost both sales and employee morale.

Playing Games at Work Aids Teamwork, Productivity, and Morale

Restaurant managers encourage their staff to suggestively sell menu choices that offer high-profit margins for their business. These items often include appetizers, desserts, alcoholic beverages, and items that we call "add-ons" such as cheese on potatoes or bacon on salad.

A successful manager knows that the best way to motivate their wait staff is to make the incentive rewarding and fun. Here are 10 game ideas that will motivate your staff!

1. Hot Potato

The object of the game is to have something to pass around when a particular item is sold (A cardboard cutout of a potato works best). For example, if you are trying to boost dessert sales, then the manager starts the game with the "potato" until the first sale. From there, every time a server sells a dessert, they will steal the "potato" from the server who had it last. The game continues until a pre-selected time or until the manager says stop. The one left holding it wins.

2. Raffle, Restaurant Style

Very popular, this method can be and has been used in a variety of ways! Daily, weekly, or monthly, this game is all about repetition. The more you sell of the item(s) required, the more tickets you get, the more chances you have to win.

3. The PERFECT Check

This game is best on heavy volume nights when your strongest servers are on. It takes great skill to obtain the perfect check, and it is entertaining to watch them strive for it. To win, a server must present a single guest check (up to four people on the check) that has ALL of the following criteria: Alcoholic Beverage, Appetizer, Add-on, Entrée, Salad, and Dessert.


On an Excel worksheet, format 5 rows to a height of 60, and 6 columns to a width of 16. Give it a full border to make a grid and Type BINGO across the top row. In each square, present a high-profit item you'd like to push. Make it as easy or as hard as you want to. The first one to get Bingo wins. A great beginner for newer wait staff to increase sales and practice suggestively selling.

5. Team Up the FOH With the BOH for Sales Goals

Make it pairs or groups over a short or long period and as easy to hard as you like. Keep a chart of the progress so everyone feels included and involved. This game particularly encourages teamwork between the different stations, which in turn increases communication and encouragement, all the while increasing sales.

6. Spice Up the "Guessing Game"

How it works: Take a jar of candy (counted) and a $10 gift card (optional). Every time a server sells your chosen feature item (such as bar drinks or appetizers), they get a chance to guess how many pieces of candy are in the jar. If they sell your chosen "hot item" (such as desserts), they get to guess twice on that sale!

7. Find the Missing Check

On a small poster board, write a sample check of items you are trying to push. Here's an example:

XXXX (Name of owner or Restaurant) is waiting for his check, but we can't find it!

If it takes all night, we must get it to him!

XXXX says there is a reward for the findings!

He had:

  • Bud Light
  • Wings
  • Top Sirloin
  • Onion Rings
  • Tossed Salad
  • Apple Cobbler
  • Coffee

Servers are paired up and work together to "build" this check. For example, Sue may have the Wings on Table 10, and Jackie has a Bud Light on Table 5. They have built two items and just need to sell 5 more items collectively.

8. Server Blackjack

The object of the game is to have a hand closest to 21 without busting. Set up a small poster board with a chart that lists values for each selling-point item based on a deck of cards (i.e., Ace = Triple Margarita). Servers must sell items to equal 21 points without going over. The person at the end of each "round" with the best hands wins.

9. Build a Phrase

Build on a popular phrase or focus point. Servers must sell all the items needed to make up the phrase. The first one to get it wins. For Example:



Apple Pie


10. Highest Sales

The server with the highest sales at the end of the night wins.

Boost Morale!

Making work fun will boost overall staff morale and will showcase great leadership. Playing motivational games with your staff builds confidence, initiative, and creativity. The small expense of rewards will more than pay itself back with the increased sales and profits they will make for you.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.