Start Up: The Importance of the Employee Manual

After you’ve hired your crew, regardless of their experience, just assume they have no preconceived understanding of your restaurant or the industry. Even if someone was a waiter for decades, when they start at your location, pretend they’re new to the business. It’s important to feed your staff as much information as possible on the way your restaurant is run, what you expect from them, your restaurant’s concept, the menu, etc. The more info you deliver, the better your employees will be.

Here are some things to keep in mind when developing and distributing your employee manual, courtesy of One Fat Frog Restaurant Equipment.

Sure, training costs money and printing out manuals will drain your supply costs, but it will always be less than what a poorly-training staff member will cost you in terms of customer refunds, wasted products, broken equipment, and, worst of all, lost customers.

Putting together an employee manual is the easiest way to spell out what you need in regards to performance, behavior, communication, demeanor, etc. Pass them out to every employee and have them sign and date their manuals. This way you can ensure that everyone is on the same page and that they understand its contents. Let employees know they should hang on to their manuals and refer to them as necessary.

Let the employee manual act as documented proof of your rules so when an employee is caught in the act, you can show them that the policy they’re breaking is written in black and white. For example, if an employee is caught with their shirt untucked, you can be like, “Ay, pal. Read em and weep…’shirts must be tucked in at all times.'” Maybe not in that manner, but you know what I mean. If someone tries to sue you for unwarranted termination for frequently breaking a policy spelled out in the manual, you’ve got protection.

Besides laying out the ground rules, an employee manual is a great way to show employees that their individual jobs are important to the big picture. Get them psyched on the idea of working as part of a team.

It’s wise to have a labor attorney review your employee manual before it’s given out to your staff. It’ll cost you, but just think of the potential damages a shoddy manual will cost you in the long run.

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