One of the most challenging aspects of growth in the restaurant industry is human resources. According to a survey by Toast, 46% of restaurateurs listed hiring, training, and retaining restaurant staff as their #1 challenge. So if “you just can’t find any good help these days”, you’re not alone.
You might notice that as your business grows, so do the number of HR policies and their complexity. The best way to keep everything in order and ensure your employees are aware of their rights and the policies they must comply with is an employee handbook.
It’s worth noting that the word “policy” in itself is not a pleasant one. To many, it’s perceived as “a set of rules meant to police people”. No one likes to be policed. But policies play an important role in keeping your business running, so if you prefer you can call them “guidelines” if that makes you, or your employees, feel more comfortable – go ahead. Just make sure they’re aware of the consequences when these guidelines are not followed.
Law & Order
The basic policies required to operate and grow a restaurant business are those required by law. You can’t skip those, especially since ignoring labor laws can get you in deep legal problems.
You should probably consult with your lawyer to get an up-to-date list of must-have policies in your state. Note that many federal and state laws only apply to businesses with a certain number of employees. So check which regulations apply to you as your operation expands.
Policies required by federal law:
- Work hours
- Worker’s compensation
- Medical leave
Policies that are required in some states, but are probably good to have no matter where you operate:
- Termination of employment
Keeping It Clean (and Safe)
Your employees need to make an effort to comply with regulations. You might be well versed in the local legal requirements for a safe food preparation and serving environment, but not all your employees are. Be sure to outline the policies in the above-mentioned employee handbook, and place signs to remind employees of the important ones.
Food safety laws are there to protect your clients, which is important. But you also want to keep your employees safe, and having clear policies on that helps.