Training is essential for building a competent and skilled workforce in any industry. The food and beverage industry is no exception. According to a survey by TalentLMS, training can boost motivation for 43.5% of employees and increase confidence in 47% of employees.

Restaurants often use employee handbooks as the first step in their training process. Toast found that 68% of restaurants use employee handbooks when onboarding new hires.

employee handbook is useful for restaurants

What is a restaurant employee handbook template?

A restaurant employee manual serves as a comprehensive guide for employees about their new job. They learn more about the restaurant’s mission, values, policies, and regulations through this single document. As a result, they feel well-prepared and confident on their first day of work. You can use a restaurant employee handbook to ensure that all of your staff is on the same page and promotes a positive work culture.

Every restaurant will probably customize its handbook according to their goals and objectives, while covering the following common topics:

  • Workplace Policies
  • Company Overview
  • Code of Conduct
  • Employee compensation and benefits
  • Anti-harassment and complaint procedures
  • Working Hours, PTO and Vacation

In addition to general guidelines, there will likely be different sets of regulations for the kitchen staff and the serving staff. The kitchen staff section in the handbook should contain the rules regarding:

  • Purchase of ingredients
  • Different types of storage facilities
  • Cooking and reheating
  • Service temperature and feedback

You should also mention important food safety protocols to be undertaken by the staff.

This is where a restaurant employee manual template comes in to help you out. A template lists all the basics that you can cover before making further customizations. Using a template will save you time which you can, for example, devote to personalizing the handbook for your employees.

You will not have to worry about missing out on any of the important details. In fact, you can download a restaurant employee handbook template for free from the Bites website.

Once you create the document virtually, you can get it approved by the legal team and distribute it among your employees directly.

You can also come up with a way to track your employees’ progress in the training program.

restaurant employee at work

Restaurant employee meal policy

Specifying your employee meal policy in the employee handbook will indicate that you want to be transparent. There are different employee meal policies you can implement depending on your budget and resources. If you want to exclude certain dishes from the allowance, feel free to mention them in the handbook.

  • You can arrange for one meal a day during which all the employees eat together and connect. This will serve as a team-building exercise and improve interpersonal relationships.
  • Another option is to offer a staff discount on your menu or offer a free dish to your employees periodically. This will allow them to know the menu more closely, and they can make better recommendations to guests.
  • Whether you are comfortable with your employees taking food home is a personal preference, but you might want to consider it because it can reduce waste and improve employees’ morale at the same time.

According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, restaurants experienced 75% staff turnover in 2019. Conveying your appreciation for your employees is a great way of reducing turnover. One way of doing so is through benefits such as meal policy. It can boost morale and encourage them to perform better at work.

The employee handbook should also contain all the details of your meal policy regarding your guests. Excellent customer service is the key to securing loyal guests.


Restaurant employee drinking policy

Most restaurants have a no-tolerance policy when it comes to drinking on the job.

  • Drinking on the job leads to a higher risk of workplace accidents for which you could be held liable.
  • Inebriated employees are unable to perform their duties and can make costly errors.
  • The restaurant’s reputation and the image will suffer if guests catch employees drinking during their shift

To ensure the safety, health and welfare of both employees and guests, you should set some ground rules. Include an honest and firm restaurant employee drinking policy in your handbook. Ideally, you should ban your employees from having alcohol before or during their shifts. If you want to list exceptions, include proper guidelines or else they can be seen as loopholes.

The handbook should detail the consequences to be faced by employees if they fail to abide by the restaurant’s policy. For example, you can temporarily suspend employees who report to work while intoxicated or drink during their shift. After conducting an inspection, you can take disciplinary action against them for their misconduct.

pouring beer to a glass

Restaurant staff rules and regulations

A restaurant employee handbook lets you convey your expectations and give crucial information to your employees.  Common policies include:

1. Workplace Policies

Labour laws and regulations vary depending on the country. The handbook should list the rules regarding tipping, timecard tracking, overtime wages and salary payment. Establish strict anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies to promote a positive and inclusive work culture. This will give legal protection to the restaurant, in addition to sharing information with the team.

2. Conduct and dress code

A guest’s first impression of your establishment partly depends on how your employees present themselves. Create an employee dress code that includes details of what the staff can or can’t wear and other grooming requirements. Uniformity can assist in creating a consistent experience for your guests. On the other hand, you can make the dress code flexible if that fits the ambiance of the restaurant.

3. Restaurant-specific guidelines

The handbook is where you list the policies that are unique to your restaurant. Outline your expectations regarding your employees’ daily duties. Breaks and scheduling are important topics to address in the handbook because they can cause petty conflicts within the team.

4. Health and safety

Guests want to frequent restaurants with strict health and sanitization practices. The employee handbook should cover all the necessary health and safety guidelines. Guests and employees will feel more comfortable knowing that the restaurant complies with health and safety standards.

Bar employee handbook template

You have to train a subset of your employees for handling the bar. Bartenders need time to master the art of making and serving the perfect drink.

Bar employee training can be a lengthy process. A handbook will cover all the basics giving the team the foundation for future creativity.

Creating a separate bar employee handbook can be the way to go. You can use a free-to-download bar employee handbook template to get started. The template lists all the topics you need to cover for your handbook to be thorough.

If there are any specific rules, you want your bar employees to follow based on the company values and goals, list them in the handbook and mention their importance. This will add a personal touch to an otherwise technical document.


Start creating an effective training plan for your restaurant employees by accessing the restaurant handbook template on the Bites website.

With Bites, you can make the perfect visual manual in the form of video modules that are easy to understand. Compile them into a playlist and share them with your staff. This customized Bites playlist will serve as an accompaniment to the handbook by providing practical demonstrations.

Online learning through Bites will also make it easier to promote long-term regular training because you will be able to share updated training materials in no time. You can also evaluate your employees’ progress through fun quizzes!