Do you have an employee handbook? Do you have something in writing that explains your policies and procedures?
If not, or if you haven’t revisited yours in a while, it’s time too get this part of your restaurant in order.
Let’s look at what you need to know about writing staff procedures. Here are the parts to include. While you don’t have to include all of them, do consider your options when choosing to leave a section out.
Most often, you will give your employee handbook to new employees, so think about including a welcome letter.
This is the place to welcome new team members to your restaurant and introduce them to your workplace philosophy and culture.
In this section you want to talk about how your employees are paid. Address both hourly and salaried employees here.
Make note of when payroll is issued. For example, you may pay staff weekly, bi-weekly, or something else.
Also take this space to discuss how tips work in your restaurant, and how they are accounted for.
This is also a good section to explain your worker’s compensation policies.
This is a vital piece of your staff procedures.
Explain how many hours employees are expected to work, how they’ll be scheduled and how they can ask for time off.
If you offer paid time off, be sure and explain this as well.
Are there times when no one can take time off? For example, perhaps you own a restaurant in a vacation spot. You might not approve any time off during the Christmas holiday. If you have any parameters like this, spell them out here.
When it comes to sick leave, you’ll want to include it here as well. Let employees know the procedures for being sick – who do they call, do they have to arrange their own sub, and do they get paid for it?
Your employees want to know the perks of their job.
One common perk for restaurant employees is free meals. If this is the case, let your team know if there’s a limit each day. For example, perhaps they only eat free on days they work.
In addition, let them know when they can eat their meal. This is most likely either before or after their shift but not during it.
Other perks you may include if you offer them are:
We know you don’t want to have to deal with conflict and discipline, but the odds are you will. And, you want to make sure you’re well covered and have provided a detailed explanation of your policies in the employee handbook.
This not only protects you, but it protects your employees from unfair treatment by other managers and employees.
This should address a code of conduct between staff as a whole and between staff and customers in their daily dealings.
Make sure your team knows what’s acceptable and what isn’t. For example, is it okay for them to have their cell phones on them during their shift?
Since we’re talking restaurants, we’re sure you have a formal dress code. This may be uniforms you provide, or a simple white shirt and black pants employees provide.
This is where you outline in detail what employees are expected to wear and who will pay for it.
In addition, since you are serving the public, you want to address the following:
This will save you many headaches.
Another part of your staff procedures deals with several things.
First, you want to address drug and alcohol abuse. You might even have some underage servers, so you want to address this, too.
Make sure your employees known what’s okay and what’s not. This is especially important if you are a bar or a restaurant that serves liquor.
Many times, restaurant employees are high school and college age people, so be very clear about your policies here.
In this section on, you might also talk about harassment. Make sure you have policies in place to deal with this to make the work environment safe for your employees.
You don’t want your team members harassed by other team members or the general public.
Finally, spell out your procedures for declining with workplace accidents such as health-related situations involving staff and diners.
In addition, hold safety trainings on a regular basis and tell your employees you expect this of them.
Most of your employees got their handbook when they first started. But you may find they forget much of what they read (or skimmed over).
This is why it’s a good idea to hold a bi-yearly review of your policies and procedures to keep them fresh in everyone’s mind.
One last, very important part of your staff procedures manual is the signature page. This is where your employees sign and note that not only have, they read it, but they understand it. (tweet this)
This turns the final page into a legal document in case any problems arise. It’s worth mentioning though, that this is not an employment contract. They’re simply acknowledging that they have read and understand your handbook.
Having well thought out staff policies and procedures is vital to the well-oiled machine that is your restaurant.
Your staff procedures set the tone for your expectations and lets employees know what to expect. (tweet this) You provide them with important info on pay, benefits, leave, work processes, and how you expect them to conduct themselves.
Ultimately this helps everyone understand how your restaurant works while answering many of the questions your employees have.
While it can be daunting to create your staff procedures and employee handbook, you’ll be glad you did as it will protect your restaurant and your valuable team. It tells them what you expect of them and lets them know what they can expect from you.
Finally, we do recommend that you have your attorney look over your staff procedures before finalizing them.
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