The Importance of Creating a Restaurant Handbook

Jan 25, 2021

As a restaurant grows its brand, the reality of onboarding every new hire can become a daunting task. A restaurant training program improves this experience to ensure every employee receives an equitable educational experience, but at times, there are lingering questions after the training is over. Restaurant workers need a resource to consult in order to remind them of some of the finer points they might have forgotten from their training. For everything from company values to the dress code to the menu, this is where a restaurant handbook comes in. With a restaurant handbook at your employees’ fingertips, there can be no discrepancies between what a restaurant intends and what the employees provide in return.


Here are just a few things you can expect when you provide your employees with a handbook as a part of a restaurant training program:


Upholding of Company Values

A company handbook can provide new employees with helpful information about your restaurant’s history, and any major changes it has undergone over time. Beyond that, it helps set standards for your restaurant’s culture. Keeping your restaurant’s mission statement in mind can be helpful for a newcomer trying to get a feel for the ideal guest experience. Don’t have a mission statement yet? See these tips for crafting one.


restaurant handbook
A woman holds a restaurant handbook


A Unified Guest Experience

There are certain communication strategies all employees will need to know: how to greet guests, how to take their order, and how often to check in with them. A handbook can clearly outline these expectations. Beyond that, you can even give guidance for above-and-beyond services, like how to handle special occasions such as birthdays or anniversaries. Restaurants are more than just places to have a meal; they are places where couples and families and friends make memories for years to come. The atmosphere of a restaurant, as conveyed by its employees, can set a positive tone for human interaction. Danny Meyer, CEO of New York City’s Union Square Hospitality Group, speaks to this point in his book, Setting the Table: “In the end, what’s most meaningful is creating positive, uplifting outcomes for human experiences and human relationships.”


Better Working Knowledge of the Restaurant

One of the most exciting things about working at a restaurant is an ever-changing menu. From the cooks to the waitstaff, it is essential that all players in a restaurant know the menu inside and out, right down to each unique ingredient. A handbook is a perfect place for new employees to be able to study the menu and feel more confident informing guests about their culinary decisions. Celebrity chef Emeril Legasse once said, “My philosophy from day one is that I can sleep better at night if I can improve an individual’s knowledge about food and wine, and do it on a daily basis.” Spreading this valuable knowledge can provide motivation for employees to consult the handbook. Beyond the menu, the handbook is also a great place to show the restaurant layout and some of the technical ins and outs of the restaurant’s POS program.


Clearer Policies

With a handbook, there can be no question about the rules surrounding scheduling changes, time-off requests, and the dress code. A company handbook is also a proactive place to give the protocol for asking for a raise, which has the potential to prevent awkwardness if employees know the procedures ahead of time. When policies are written down, employers can ensure fair treatment and even avoid future complaints and lawsuits.