Did you know that you could be losing up to 17% of your new hires within their first three months due to ineffective onboarding according to Forbes? That's not a statistic to overlook! Your staff isn't just a part of your restaurant, they ARE your restaurant. To keep your business running like a well-oiled machine, swift and effective onboarding is absolutely essential. In this article we will give you our best tips on how to complete a successful onboarding for your restaurant.
Step-by-step guide for successful onboarding
Preparation: Before the new employee's first day, prepare their work station, uniform and any other necessary items. Make sure their schedule is set and communicated. You can also send them important documents or materials to review ahead of time.
Introduction and orientation: On their first day, give them a warm welcome and introduce them to the team. Conduct an orientation to familiarize them with the restaurant layout, culture, and mission. Show them important areas such as the kitchen, storage, restrooms, emergency exits, and their specific work area.
Provide an employee handbook: The employee handbook should detail the restaurant's policies, procedures, job responsibilities, and expectations. (See more detailed instruction what it should contain further down in this article).
Menu training: Your staff should be trained to understand the menu thoroughly, including ingredients, preparation methods, potential allergens, and pairing suggestions. This should also include any specials or promotional items.
Training on the Point of Sale (POS) System: Waitstaff should be trained on how to use the POS system, including how to input orders, process payments, and handle special requests or modifications.
Role specific training: Depending on their role, train them in specific tasks. For example, servers should be taught proper service etiquette, how to set tables, and how to handle difficult customers. Cooks should be taught about food safety and preparation techniques.
Shadowing: Have new staff shadow an experienced staff member for a few shifts to observe and learn from practical experience. This can help them understand the workflow and dynamics of the restaurant. Have them shadowing different staff members to learn as much as possible from different experienced staff members.
Soft skills training: Emphasize the importance of customer service skills, teamwork, communication, and problem-solving skills.
Check-ins and feedback: Regularly check in with the new employee to answer any questions they might have, and provide constructive feedback on their performance. This could be after each shift during their first week, and then weekly or bi-weekly.
Continuous training and development: Even after the onboarding process, continuous training should be provided to keep the staff updated with new menu items, policies, or procedures.
A good way to standardize your onboarding is to have an employee handbook where you have gathered information on your policies, procedures and expectations for employees at your restaurant. Here are examples of sections it should contain:
Welcome message, mission and values: A brief introduction to the restaurant, including its history, mission, and values.
Code of conduct: Clear guidelines about the expected behavior of employees. This can cover everything from dress code to behavior with customers and co-workers, to use of restaurant property.
Job Descriptions: Detailed descriptions of roles and responsibilities for each position within the restaurant.
Working Hours, shifts, and break policies: Clarification of work schedules, shift swapping or covering procedures, break times, and overtime policies.
Compensation and benefits: Details about wages, tips, raises, benefits, and pay dates.
Meal and break policies: Details about meal breaks, what the restaurant provides, and employee discounts.
Safety and health policies: Information on health and safety procedures, including food safety standards, hygiene requirements, and procedures for reporting accidents or safety concerns.
Training and development: Description of onboarding procedures, ongoing training opportunities, and advancement possibilities within the restaurant.
Leave and time off policies: Clear information about sick leave, vacation time, and any other types of time off.
Emergency procedures: Detailed instructions on what to do in case of an emergency situation like fire, health emergency, or robbery.
Anti-Discrimination and harassment policy: A clear statement that discrimination and harassment will not be tolerated, including a definition of what constitutes these behaviors and procedures for reporting them.
Alcohol and drug policy: If you serve alcohol, it's important to include a policy about alcohol and drug use.
Customer service expectations: Detailed explanation about the restaurant's standards for customer service.
Performance reviews: An explanation of how performance reviews are conducted and what happens when an employee violates company policy.
Termination Policy: Clear guidelines about the conditions under which an employee could be terminated and the procedures for termination.
Meeting your expectations
When your employees know the rules, they are in a great position to meet your expectations. Also those with prior restaurant experience need to understand the expectations at your restaurant. How to welcome guests can vary from restaurant to restaurant as an example.
Also remember, each staff member may require different training and support, depending on their role and previous experience. Onboarding should be an ongoing, supportive process that helps new employees feel confident and competent in their roles.
Good luck with your onboarding!
If you like to receive more tips for your restaurant, download “How to open a restaurant 2023”.