Can Restaurant Owners Provide Health Insurance to Employees?

If you own a restaurant, you have many things you need to consider, such as how many employees you need, how much to pay them, and whether or not you can or should provide health insurance for them. Offering health plans could be a differentiator for restaurants as they try to attract employees, but it can also be expensive. If you are considering offering health insurance coverage to your employees, make sure you’re getting a good deal by using an online tool to research and compare health insurance policies. Providing employee benefits is expensive, and you want to make sure you’re doing well for your team members without breaking the bank.

Read on to learn if restaurant owners can provide health insurance and how to determine if it is a viable option for you as a restauranteur.

Almost a third of restaurant owners provide benefits.


According to a study conducted by Restaurant Dive, 31 percent of restaurant owners in the United States said that they do offer medical insurance for their employees. Just 21 percent provide dental, and 18 percent offer vision insurance. The truth is, retaining top talent is tough, particularly at the management level, without some type of benefits for employees. Especially now that we are in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, employees will be more concerned with obtaining health insurance coverage and will go to employers who offer it over one that does not. It’s a relief for employees to know they get health insurance and don’t have to worry about applying for Medicaid or Medicare. Along with health insurance, larger restaurant chains are beginning to offer benefits such as:

  • Paid parental leave: This could affect people’s family plans. Employees may have more of an incentive to sign on with you if you offer parental leave.
  • College tuition assistance: Many people want to advance their careers with higher education. If you provide some tuition assistance, they may be inclined to work with you longer.
  • 401K plans: Retiring may seem like a pipe dream for some people, but a 401K could help them get there — especially if you are offering to match their contributions.
  • Disability insurance: Sometimes, people may be injured or have a degenerative condition that causes them to be disabled. If employees know they have this protection in the future, they could be much more eager to stay at your restaurant.

Many restaurateurs have said that the cost of providing these benefits is high, but in a time when you need to retain your top employees who offer the best customer service, it may be a good idea you to consider investing in health insurance coverage and other perks. Loyalty is very important, and if you invest in your employees, they too will likely be loyal as well.

You may have to increase menu prices and cut costs to make this viable.


Budgets are more than likely tight right now as you adjust to life during the coronavirus pandemic, so if you are thinking about adding health insurance to your restaurant’s offering, bear in mind that you may need to adjust your costs and menu prices to make this a viable change for your restaurant. Low prices on your menu will more than likely not compensate for the added cost of health insurance coverage, so you may need to increase prices a bit in order to afford the benefits that employees in today’s marketplace are searching for in their job. While you may feel like you can’t afford the costs of health insurance plans, you also can’t afford to ignore the benefits that prospective employees may ask about at the time of the interview.

You may also need to cut costs elsewhere by finding vendors with more competitive pricing or even visit a restaurant equipment warehouse yourself to stock up on pots, pans, and other cookware and dinnerware you need to keep your kitchen going. If you’re in the Seattle area, check out places like a Seattle restaurant store that will sell the things you need at cheaper prices than going through third parties. If you cut out the middleman, you may be able to get items like new ovens, refrigerators, and others at a more economical price that is more budget-friendly. Gong to an affordable restaurant supply store can have a huge impact on your bottom line, which will allow you to offer more benefits to employees.

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