How to Access Affordable Employee Benefits

Learn how restaurants and small businesses can offer affordable health and training benefits to their employees to improve hiring and increase retention.

5 min read
benefits for restaurants

Staffing is a major concern for restaurant operators today. According to the National Restaurant Association State of the Industry Report 2022, 50% of all operators cited recruitment and employee retention as their top challenge for the year. 

Providing healthcare and training resources to employees is one of the best ways to improve retention — a fact backed up by our recent report, The Impact of Benefits on Recruitment and Retention in the Restaurant Industry

The cost of restaurant employee benefits

In spite of their importance in hiring and retention, only 58% of operators surveyed in our study offer some type of benefits such as healthcare coverage or transit reimbursement to all employees. This is lower (50%) among independent restaurants, but considerably higher (76%) among smaller operators that are part of a regional or national chain. 

Especially in an industry where the margins are already so thin, some restaurants simply can’t afford the cost of benefits. 80% of small and independent restaurants in our survey who do not offer benefits cited high cost as the #1 deterrent.

Training is another necessary cost, with every restaurant we surveyed reporting the use of at least one online training platform. In our survey, 89% of restaurants estimated training costs at $1,000 or more for each employee.

If only restaurants could figure out how to offer the benefits and training that workers need, employees might stay in their roles longer. Ongoing challenges to hire and retain workers leads to staffing shortages, which hinder a restaurant’s ability to grow. Restaurants lose an average of $5,284 per employee in productivity while a role is unfilled. 

Workers are looking for more from their employers

Hit hard during COVID-19, restaurant workers are determined to improve their quality of life — with higher pay and better benefits at the top of the list. Today’s workers are looking for more support from their restaurant employers: health benefits, mental health benefits, training, flexible scheduling, as well as an improved workplace culture. 

If employees don’t find what they’re looking for, many will leave for a position in another restaurant that gives them what they’re looking for. A full 66% of restaurant employees surveyed said they were more likely to apply to a restaurant job that offers health benefits than one that does not. In addition, 86% of restaurant employees who are dissatisfied with their job benefits say they’d be likely to stay at their current job if benefits were improved.

Helping our restaurant partners thrive

At DoorDash, our mission is to grow and empower local communities. A part of that is a commitment to leveling the playing field for our smaller merchant partners. That’s why we recently launched Merchant Benefits & Discounts – a new program connecting small businesses with access to transformative benefits and resources at a meaningful discount. 

We hope to support our restaurant partners by providing benefits pricing and features that smaller businesses are typically unable to negotiate on their own.

Our first set of partners provide discounted access to healthcare, hiring, and training — the top requested benefits — that you can use to attract and retain top talent.

Available in the US:

Available in Canada:

Available in Australia:

Over time, the program will expand to include discounts from more companies. Together, we hope to expand our restaurant partners’ ability to recruit and retain staff, enabling them to increase sales by operating at full capacity. 

Learn more about Merchant Benefits & Discounts and see how you can hire and retain more workers. Or download our report: Impact of Benefits on Recruitment & Retention.

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