Restaurant Handbook is essential for better restaurant management. It helps create the company culture that restaurant owner’s want to establish and keeps the misunderstandings between the owner and the restaurant staff off the table.
Restaurant employee handbooks are utilized as a communication tool to set the expectations of employees. It includes the philosophy of the restaurant business, the values it upholds, code of conduct, the company policy, the safety procedures, the disciplinary action for employees who breach the policies, and what the restaurant owners expect from their employee as well.
And while there’s no legal law that requires restaurant owners to publish their own restaurant employee handbook, it is a practical and convenient way to set the house rules and conditions of employment you have for your employees.
This article will aim to provide you a deeper understanding about the benefits of an employee handbook, and what should be included for you to create a restaurant employee handbook template.
WHAT IS AN EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK
Employee handbook is a document that includes the company policy and operating procedures that’s provided to new hired employees to communicate their rights and responsibilities as a part of the company.
In the Restaurant Industry, 47% of the restaurants were negatively affected because of the high employee turnover rate. That’s why it is important to have a document that will serve as an employee manual, which would provide clarity to the restaurant employees starting from the onboarding processes to safety procedures.
Every restaurant business has different goals and core values, and you can create your own restaurant employee handbook according to that goal. But there are essential factors an employee handbook must have. Here’s what an effective employee handbook template must discuss the following factors:
- General Company Policies
- Employment Policies
- Health & Safety
- Schedule Policies
- Payment Policies
- Employee Benefits
- Customer Service Policies
BENEFITS OF PUBLISHING A RESTAURANT EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK
SERVES AS A GUIDE TO THE NEW HIRES
Having an employee handbook will make it easier for your new hires to feel at ease with your restaurant business and its culture. The clarity provided increases their trust with your business.
SETS THE MANAGEMENT EXPECTATIONS
It is important for restaurant employees to know what’s expected from them. Restaurants are fast-paced and it’ll be nearly impossible for you, as a restaurateur, to monitor everyone and update them on their duties and responsibilities. Employee cooperation is set to grow if they have a reference point they can check out every now and then.
PROVIDE DEFENSE FOR LEGAL ACTIONS
Restaurant employee handbooks provide documentation for all the policies you’re implementing. That’s why it is important that you familiarize yourself to your local laws, employment laws, labor laws, and apply it to your employee handbook.
INSTILLS EQUALITY IN THE ORGANIZATION
You show equality by detailing every right of your restaurant staff, as well as the duties, responsibilities, and obligations of the employer. It helps you create more consistent policies that will be beneficial for your restaurant business.
8 ELEMENTS OF AN EFFECTIVE EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK
What you decide to put into your own employee handbook is up to you, just make sure it includes these basic and essential parts for you to enjoy the benefits of having a restaurant handbook.
New and current staff’s performance will improve if they can connect with the philosophy of the organization. Restaurant handbooks must provide the day to day and higher-level objectives of the management for restaurant staff to have a better understanding of their company and its culture. The introduction of a restaurant employee handbook must have the following:
- Restaurant’s History
- Mission Statement
- Vision Statement
- Core Values
Tip : You may add a welcome letter to add a more personalized experience for your staff.
GENERAL COMPANY POLICIES
A restaurant employee handbook must state the general company policies, or the policies that are enforced on a company-wide basis. It includes the appearance, dress code, work conditions, disciplinary procedures, grievances, and other policies that define acceptable working behaviour. This section must have the following :
- Code of Conduct
- Social Media Policy
- Cell Phone Policy
- Solicitation Policy
- Tobacco Policy
- Safety Procedures
- Data Protection Policy
- Dress Code
- Hair (Including facial hair) Policy
- Jewelry and Scents
- Behaviours that leads to disciplinary actions
Note : It is important for a business, especially those under the Hospitality Industry, to be presentable at all times. The employees must represent their organization well to their customers.
This section of your restaurant employee handbook protects you and your employees rights by providing equal employment opportunities, other requirements that will make your restaurant an inclusive and safe workplace.
It must also discuss and clarify the onboarding process of your restaurant, to give your new staff what to expect in their first few weeks. Check out the following basic elements of employment policies:
- Anti-Harassment Policy
- Anti-Discrimination Policy
- Anti-Bullying Policy
- Age requirements
- Policies for Legal Employment
- Orientation and Probationary Period
- Resignation Policy
- Exit Interview Procedures
Note : Sexual harassment is widespread in the Hospitality and Restaurant industry. Research shows that 9 out of 10 industry workers suffered abuse. That’s why having a section that talks about this anti-harassment policy is one way to make your staff feel safe and valued.
HEALTH AND SAFETY
Since it’s an industry that includes safe food handling, it is important to have a safety policy book handy. A restaurant employee handbook must be connected with health and safety training in order to encourage staff, especially the new ones, to be updated about the safety and sanitation guidelines. It’s composed of the following:
- Food Safety Guidelines
- Workplace Safety
- Sanitation Procedures
Restaurants are a fast-paced environment, it is important to have a set of policies that address absences, tardiness, and breaks. Make sure this section sets a clear rule and standards to prevent violation and mishandling staff scheduling. The following are included under this section:
- Break Policy
This part of your restaurant employee handbook states how your payment processing is for your employees. Policies for employees that covers tip reporting, overtime, and other important aspects that affect how the employees are getting paid are under this section.
- Tip Reporting
- Overtime Policy
- Payroll Deductions
- Time-in Procedures
- Process of payment (hourly, bi-weekly, monthly)
Advertising compensation policy and employment benefits package on your restaurant employee handbook is one way to boost your staff’s morale and productivity. This is one way to win the trust and cooperation of your employees. Employee meals are also counted as benefits, make sure to provide a benefits overview to your employee manual. The following are also included to this section:
- Family Leave
- Medical Leave
- Number of leaves of absence
- Maternity/Paternity Policy
- Paid Vacations
- Employee Compensation
- Employee Meals
- Insurance and Health Plans
CUSTOMER SERVICE POLICIES
Since restaurants are a customer-centric business, it is important that the entire organization has an idea on what type of customer service they should provide. Starting from the restaurant managers to the chefs, it is crucial that they know how to interact with customers and guests. This section covers the following:
- Alcohol serving Policy
- Job Description
- Serving Policy
- Telephone Courtesy
THINGS TO INCLUDE (BONUS)
It is important, especially for your management team to have a guide on how they would manage the whole team. This section should state and discuss the following:
- Management / Employee Relations
Another element of a restaurant employee handbook is a section that tackles what are the situations they are expected to report, and what are the actions that will be expected from the management. Restaurant staff must be aware on what to do during the following:
- Fire Protection
- Proprietary information
- Confidential information
Make sure that before you distribute this to your employees, you have checked it with an employment law attorney to ensure that the document’s language is within the legal framework.
It is also advisable to look out for employee handbook samples, if you can have one from an existing restaurant, the better. From here, you can see the industry from their perspective and you’ll have an idea on what’s already out there.
If you’re having a hard time creating your own employee handbook template, you may check online resources and have a basic idea on what to include. You may customize it according to how you want your restaurant business to perform. Staff may not read the whole document word for word, but it’ll encourage them to read the important notes included. Make sure they are familiar with your online restaurant ordering system, too.
Lastly, make sure to include a disclaimer on your restaurant employee handbook. It allows you to change and update the contents, at any time if needed. It should state that the restaurant employee handbook is not a legally-binding contract between you and the employee. It is not a document that includes all the possible scenarios, just the most common and expected.
Restaurateurs are responsible for informing their restaurant staff about the company’s standards of conduct, job duties, legal requirements, and how it can be a place for a safe work environment. This is why a restaurant employee handbook is treated as a valuable tool by the restaurant management team because it addresses one of the biggest challenges for them, it is how to communicate restaurant employee rules, to their staff, in a convenient and engaging way.
Don’t forget to have a sign-off form for your employees that indicates that they have received the handbook and understand its contents.