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Innovative Essentials: Onboarding Restaurant Employees


From hiring to training, restaurant onboarding practices are changing fast. Most of this is due to innovations in technology and automation that enable restaurant owners more control and agency over onboarding processes. The recent pandemic that pushed many restaurants to be even more digital has only accelerated this change. Since the onboarding process is essential to a restaurant's success, we created this blog post to inform business owners about the latest best practices. We also show how a move to online and automated formats can be to your advantage.

Onboarding is not merely about how you screen employees and ensure you have a top-notch workforce. It’s also how you prepare that workforce for the real-life activities they'll be responsible for. A tight but well-rounded onboarding process ensures the smoothest running of your entire restaurant or food industry operations. Therefore, it should be the main focus of your attention. Let’s run through the essentials of creating an outstanding onboarding process. Then we'll explore some new state-of-the-art tools available that take you to even higher levels.


What Exactly is Employee Onboarding?


In the simplest terms, employee onboarding is the process of welcoming new employees to your team. In a deeper sense, it’s an integral part of how your entire company is structured and determines how well it runs in the long term. Employee onboarding involves matters like orientation, paperwork, and training, so it's a significant time and energy investment on your part. That's why you want to do it right the first time.

Restaurant employee onboarding can last from a few days to several weeks, depending on the position and level of responsibility. For example, dishwashers can usually be onboarded very quickly, whereas a new floor manager may need to be supervised for an extended period. For most positions, you want to develop and implement a standard onboarding procedure that's inclusive, comprehensive, and informative. Don’t skimp on time when designing a restaurant employee onboarding protocol. You may pay for it later with increased employee mistakes and turnover. That can cost you much more in the long run.


The Essentials of Restaurant Employee Onboarding


For restaurant employees, onboarding consists of preliminary paperwork, informative materials like guidebooks, and on-the-job training. Whether the employee has experience in the position, each step is crucial as your restaurant operates differently from any other. Let’s quickly break down the core elements of these three essential steps.


Proper Paperwork


The first step in onboarding a restaurant employee is ensuring you have all the necessary paperwork ready for them to fill out. This should be done ahead of time by making employee onboarding packets. Each packet should contain the necessary contracts, insurance policies, and tax forms the employee needs to become officially employed. You'll also need to determine if you want to oversee this process yourself, advise and witness other personnel, or hire an HR professional to manage this part of the onboarding process.


Designing proper onboarding paperwork packets for restaurant employees need not be complex, but should be well thought out and well-constructed. Sometimes a lawyer may be needed to formulate company policies each employee needs to agree to as a condition of employment. Once the proper employment contract has been constructed, leave room for the employee to sign or initial, confirming they understand and agree with the conditions.


Employee Information Packet


Besides an onboarding paperwork packet, restaurant owners will want to create an information packet or handbook that the employee can keep. This packet should contain the answers to any questions the employee have and should be tailored to include job specific information and duties related to that employee's position. Some restaurant owners and managers like to give employees a test or quiz based on the information in the packet or handbook, ensuring it has been read, understood, and digested. This can be an important part of the training process.


Onsite Training for Restaurant Employees


The final, and perhaps most important, part of the onboarding process for restaurant employees is on-the-job training. For cooks and other kitchen staff, this means live training with the chef and other kitchen staff to directly show them what their duties entail. For floor staff, like waiters and hosts, this may mean shadowing another person in the same position, so they can watch and take notes about specifics of their tasks.


On-the-job training in the restaurant industry can, and should to a degree, include cross-training in different positions. It's extremely helpful for a waiter, for example, to spend some time in the kitchen watching the chef and cooks at work and seeing how the plates are prepared. This enables new employees to answer customer questions from a substantially deeper place of knowledge. Likewise, restaurant managers often train new employees in every position in a restaurant as part of their onboarding process. Afterwards, they have first-hand experience of how every facet of the operations comes together.


The Importance of POS Systems in Onboarding


Because most restaurants use point-of-sale (POS) systems and other forms of automated software to coordinate between the floor and the kitchen and track ticket orders, complete training on your computer systems is also an integral part of the restaurant employee onboarding process. Quality systems will come with a built-in training module or tutor that walks the employee through the different steps associated with the specific activities and functions they'll be using.


With TipHaus, not only do you as the restaurant manager or owner have the ability to make new rules and edits, but each employee has their own app to track their particular tips and performance. Meaning that this important part of the onboarding process is done for you, and employees are given a transparent and empowering way to stay on top of their own processes and performance. Once onboarded, your employees will feel better connected and in the loop with our proprietary app.


Ready to set up a demo of TipHaus and try it for a trial period free of charge? Let’s get started today!


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