Restaurant Tip of the Month
Tip #6: Employee Manual
There are several reasons why creating an employee manual is critical to your restaurant's success. This document is home to your specific restaurant policies, local and federal laws, employment standards and working procedures for all areas of the restaurant.
The employee handbook shows your staff that you are serious about your restaurant, and more importantly, their performance. You have taken time to create it and your staff needs to take serious time to read and understand it.
Answer Employee Questions Before They Ask
Many employees want to know what they need to do and how to do it. A good employee handbook will cover this, so you will spend less time answering the same questions over and over.
Improve Employee Confidence
Restaurant employees do better work when they are confident of their job requirements and the specific procedures. This translates to better customer service as well.
Elevate Level of Consistency
When you have the policies written out, you can consistently train every employee. Conversely, if you need to take disciplinary action with someone, the employee handbook gives you written documentation of procedures in case of any messy legal action.
Writing the Employee Handbook
Here are a few tips for writing the employee handbook that will make it as useful as possible for your restaurant staff:
1) Write Multilingual Handbooks
- If necessary, make up employee handbooks in different languages to accommodate any native English speakers on your restaurant staff.
2) Write So Employees Can Understand
- No need to write the employee handbook in unfamiliar jargon or legal terms. Write simply and clearly so any of your employees can understand it. After all, they are your main audience.
3) Produce Specialized Handbooks
- Depending on your restaurant, you may find that handbooks for every type of employee make the most sense. In full service establishments, job descriptions can be very different and may require separate policies and procedures. Limited or quick service restaurants often function just fine with one universal employee handbook.
4) Add Information As Needed
- New situations come up, and you may need to make additions to your handbook in order to cover procedures that you feel are important enough to be in the handbook. To avoid publishing new handbooks every time this happens, print off the new procedures and hand out copies with the next round of employee handbooks. \
Essential Components of an Employee Handbook
All employee handbooks will look slightly different due to variances in concept, layout, service type, location, hours, and specific policies enforced by the owner or manager. Despite differences in content, the following components are important in any restaurant employee handbook.
1) Disclaimer and Acknowledgement
- The disclaimer and acknowledgment section of your restaurant's employee handbook establishes that employees have read and understand the policies, procedures, expectations, and benefits outlined in the handbook. It also asserts that the handbook does not act as an employment contract. This is especially important for states with "at-will" employment laws, which are laws delineating that an employment relationship can be terminated at any time, by the employer or employee, without cause or liability.
2) Employment Policies
- A section on hiring policies helps outline any state laws that apply to interviewing, hiring and otherwise bringing people to work in the restaurant. An employee handbook needs to cover any applicable state or federal employment law, including the commitment to Equal Opportunity Employment. Handbooks may also include information on the following:
Find and hire the right people
3) Work Hours and Payroll
- In this section, discuss any labor laws that were not covered in the previous section, and to outline the expectations and procedures for employees while on the job. Include the following concepts, tailored to your restaurant:
- Employees want to know what benefits they are entitled to while employed at your restaurant. Make sure they are aware of any of the following benefits your restaurant offers:
Insurance and 401K
5) Appearance Standards
- Be sure to identify the proper uniform and appearance standards for every job position in your restaurant. This includes the following:
6) Behavior Expectations and Policies
- It is essential that a restaurant handbook define acceptable and inappropriate behaviors in the restaurant. When employees know their expectations and their limits, there will be fewer problems in the workplace. >> More on Employee Discipline and Rewards Systems
Rewards and discipline