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How to Write a Practical Restaurant Employee Handbook

December 3, 2020

Head of Hospitality

Head of Hospitality

Article Overview

10min read

As a restaurant owner, hiring, training, and retaining your best employees is crucial to have reliable manpower. This ensures a well-run restaurant. However, with some companies having an employee turnover rate of 70%, it also remains the hospitality industry’s biggest challenge.


Any restaurant consulting firm will tell you that one easy way to retain employees longer is to improve your training and onboarding strategy with an employee handbook. This ‘master manual’ will serve as a central reference for restaurant-related questions – including your values, guidelines, and procedures, making it easier for new employees to get onboard. Moreover, it ensures everyone at the restaurant is aligned to the same goals and will work together to foster a positive working atmosphere.

Here’s everything that you need to include in this handbook.



Many employees will not read through the complete handbook, and for such situations, an introduction chapter with the essential information ensures that crucial information is still read. Your introduction needs to be engaging and robust – the better it is, the higher the chances your employees will continue to read the rest of the handbook. 

This chapter includes a welcome message from the restaurant’s founder, offers a simplified history of your restaurant, and notes down the key takeaways that new employees must be familiar with. It can also include competitor information, target audience, etc. 

Define your Core Values and Company Mission 

The mission statement explains what was behind the existence of your restaurant. It will give any employee information on why you serve that particular cuisine, the reasoning behind your type of service, and how you expect your employees to interact with guests.

You may also choose to touch upon social issues. Edelman’s 2017 study noted that 57% of customers boycott or buy from a restaurant based on its position on political or social issues. This was confirmed by another report from Nielsen Group, which states that 66% of millennials would pay more to support brands that commit to a positive environmental and social impact. 

Code of Conduct

Use this chapter to communicate details like the safety process, dress code, and other important information. For example, this is where you can define that smoking is prohibited indoors and allowed only in the designated smoking areas.


When outlining the dress code, do ensure it aligns with workplace safety guidelines and your restaurant design and concept. Additionally, use this section to mention the health standards you expect to be followed. 

Leave Administration Guidelines

Define the notice period expected when your employees need time off. You may include a clause stating that it will be the employee’s responsibility to find someone else to cover for them if the request is not submitted on time.

You must also note down your policies on tardiness as well as unexpected absences. Offer guidance on scheduling tools used by the restaurant, along with a brief description and how to use the software.


Creating a great working culture and minimizing turnover at your restaurant begins with hiring the right employees and providing them with the information and tools needed to succeed. On the other end of the spectrum, putting in place a consistent and organized onboarding procedure will create a positive impression between the employer and employee from the get-go.

Head of Hospitality

Angela Soudi is a visionary writer with 20+ years of experience in Sales and Marketing across Europe, Canada, and the Middle East. She is highly invested in actively contributing articles to pioneering hospitality platforms and websites.

Head of Hospitality
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