The recent posting on employee manuals created a donnybrook in one restaurant that has yet to develop their manual. And, from the report I received from the owner, there needs to be clarity on the subject. Employee manuals do not have to be page after page of banter that is confusing and frustrating to read. Simply, the pages should outline policy and procedure and do it in an understandable, concise manner. Below is he top ten list of categaories for the beginning of an employee manual
To find a good employee manual all you need to do is look into the mirror and then pan your dining room. The two sources you need to go to for the manual´s development will be standing in front of you.
Of course you can go online and search for your basic foundation and template. But in reality you and your managers or supervisors are the only people who can write the manual for your restaurant.
In your first draft you need to cover ten points:
1) An Introduction: This explains the history of the restaurant, its ambiance and food style. It is a welcoming page.
2) Employment: Outline your employment policy and procedures for hiring, termination, and harassment. If you have a training/probation period make it clear, here. (You should always have a probation period. Thirty days will suffice)
3) Staff Compensation Classifications: Break down compensation categories. Hourly, full time, part time, salaried and salaried management all come under specific criteria and need to be explained. Don´t forget to cover overtime in this section. If you don´t it will come back to haunt you, haunt you, haunt you.
4 Benefits and Pay Schedule: Vacation, paid holidays, and paid sick days should be discussed under this heading. If you offer any benefits, health insurance, employee discounts on meals for friends and family, they would also fall under this category. Finally, let everyone know when they get paid. It is important and some people do not like to ask.
5) Time and Attendance: Do not assume anything when developing your employee manual. Outline your needs and expectations for keeping a schedule in tact. If you expect a call when a waiter isn´t showing up for a shift – write it in the manual. If you want to be informed when waiters switch shifts or schedules — write it in the manual.
6) Dress Code/Personal Appearance/Hygiene: If you expect your staff to wear a uniform, (company shirt, logo cap, etc.) while on the clock write it in the manual. This section should also cover body piercing, facial hair, tattoos, and something as obvious as biting fingernails and dirty hair.
7) Safety and Security: The general guideline for loss prevention and product shrinkage (stealing), along with cash shortages, staff drinking and check acceptance from customers and staff are explained in this section.
8) Violence Prevention: Violence prevention addresses the procedures needed to be taken with irate customers, staff, chefs and very possibly managers and owners. This section should go into in-depth coverage of any imaginable situation. If you think it couldn´t possibly happen, it probably will. If you serve alcohol make sure that you outline your policy for 86´ing customers, who has the authority to do that and who is taking the responsibility for it.
9) Injury Prevention: No, this section should never commingle with section 8. Primarily, the outline of Injury Prevention deals with work related staff injuries: cuts, loss of fingers, back injury, broken arms, sprained necks and other maladies that are unforeseen when first opening. When a friend sent the waiter to the walk in cooler to get some lettuce, he had no idea the night chef had put a case of turkeys on the top shelf. When one of the birds hit the waiter on the shoulder he wasn´t in any shape to carry any lettuce. Both parties are still stinging from that turkey that couldn´t fly.
10) Customer Service: Although seldom outlined in an employee manual, your expectations for service are a very important factor to incorporate into the manual. This outlines who you are, what you expect is acceptable service and it also highlights what is acceptable, tableside. Cover your meet and greet time, your phone etiquette, and the sales style you want your waiters to use when up selling.
Finally, and one of the most important aspects of the employee manual, number them and assign the number to an employee. Make sure you keep these records in a file and put a copy of the signed, yes signed page stating that the employee received and read the manual in their employment file. With luck you won´t ever need to refer to that signed page. But if you do it could save you a lot of grief, aggravation, and money.