Why is restaurant employee onboarding important?

Effective restaurant employee onboarding is a way to increase retention, necessary for companies without money to burn because new hires are a big drain on company money if they churn out.

According to Evergreen Business Weekly, the cost of replacing an employee is $65,510.

With this in mind, a good onboarding process is priceless, especially when standardized, perfected and implemented efficiently.

Our checklist software, Process Street, aims to help businesses create and run recurring processes like onboarding.

Checklists like this one can be assigned to multiple people so they can check tasks off, write comments and upload attachments to make everything visible and easy to track.

Assign this checklist to yourself, the new hire's mentor and the hiring manager to get a piece-by-piece detailed overview on progress.

Before first day:

Record the employee's details

First up in the restaurant employee onboarding checklist, you need to record the details of the new employee. Use the form fields below to record their name, email and any extra details.

Welcome a new employee with a letter

Once you have chosen the right candidate and hired them, send them a welcome aboard email. Below is a sample email which you can use, along with a form field for you to upload a copy of your menu to for safe keeping and ease of access.

With your menu, remember to include the specials rotation for them to review and learn.

Prepare a list of other staff and their duties

Next up in the restaurant employee onboarding checklist, you need to get the employee up to speed on who everyone they'll be working with is.

Record the details of these people with the form fields below - feel free to add more if necessary.

Aim to include bios, photos and job titles. Familiarize them with who they'll be supervised by and reporting to.

Assign a mentor

A mentor (an established employee who is familiar with how your restaurant operates) should be assigned to the new hire so they can shadow and learn from them. Record this mentor in the form field below.

According to Chron:

"Shadowing is an interpersonal form of demonstration. The method involves trainees following around a mentor while the mentor performs his regular job duties. This gives the trainee a feel for the job before she attempts to perform her responsibilities. They also can observe how seasoned employees handle a variety of real-life scenarios."

(Source: chron.com)

Inform existing staff

Orientate the existing staff by sending the new hire's resume and job description. To this end, upload a copy of both to the form fields below for ease of access.

This will help them know where everyone fits together.

Make sure the new hire's assigned mentor is especially clear on all of this because it will impact them the most.

Explain the benefits (again)

Onboarding is most successful when the employee is as sold on the company as possible, and so you should now reiterate the benefits of the job to the new employee.

Tell them how great it is to work at your restaurant, and list all the benefits that come with the job.

First day:

Tour the facility

On their first day, you need to ensure that the new hire is familiar with the layout of your restaurant. To this end, make sure that the new hire is familiar with all items of the sub-checklist below.

  • 1
    Table numbers and areas
  • 2
    Fire exits
  • 3
  • 4
    First aid areas
  • 5
    Supervisor's office
  • 6
    Smoking areas

Discuss list of responsibilities and objectives

Arrange a meeting with the new hire using Google Calendar, and go over the job description, discussing and expanding on any unclear areas. Record the date and time of this meeting with the form field below.

By the end of the meeting, your new hire should be clear on their responsibilities and goals, and you should be clear on their understanding of your expectations.

Give guidance on recommendations and up-selling

Next up, you need to give guidance to the new hire on recommendations and up-selling.

The waiting staff should be able to interpret the menu, explain what items taste like, and recommend dishes that go together. They should learn the 'popular choices', whether these are dishes you want to sell or dishes that are actually popular.

If your menu has food with obscure ingredients, it's essential the waiting staff is well informed as to what it is, or other more common names.

For more guidance on restaurant upselling, check out this guide.

(Source: foodservicewarehouse.com)

Have employee shadow mentor

Once you've assigned a mentor to your new hire, the best way both parties can benefit from it is shadowing.

Shadowing is the practice of a new employee watching and following their mentor throughout the day, to naturally see the challenges and solutions that arise.

(Source: humanresources.about.com)

First week:

Evaluate performance closely

At the end of the first week of their hire, you need to assess the performance of the new hire. Consider the following form fields and record your responses in the appropriate field.

Once you have noted your responses, prepare for a performance review meeting.

Schedule a meeting to review performance

Based on your private notes you made in the last task, draft a meeting agenda and schedule a good time for your new hire to discuss how they think their first week has been. Record the date of the meeting and a copy of the agenda with the form fields below.

Below are some tips for what to assess the new hire on, and what to base the meeting off of.

General performance:

  • Basic workplace responsibilities
  • Attendance
  • Punctuality
  • Attitude
  • Cooperativeness
  • Approachability
  • Overall ability to take clear direction.

Job specific performance:

  • Customer service
  • Upsell ability
  • Mentor's review
  • Familiarity with the menu

Evaluate own onboarding process

The restaurant employee onboarding process is one that cannot always be generalized since each business has a different way of doing things.

Using this guide as a template, expand upon it by adding it to your Process Street account and editing the tasks/descriptions as you feel fit.

Take into consideration how you've onboarded hires in the past, and any successes/failures you might have had. From that basis, you can start to form your own restaurant's standard operating procedure for onboarding new hires and become a more productive, efficient operation.


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