Employee policies, whether they are written down in a handbook or implied through workplace culture, make a huge difference in your restaurant’s atmosphere. Your employees make up a huge part of your restaurant’s experience after all, through the service they provide, the cleaning and organizing they do, and how they prepare the food. All these things—service, cleaning, and cooking —benefit from being performed by a happy employee. You can try ruling your restaurant with an iron fist, but any discouraged employees could cause your entire customer experience to suffer.
When creating policies for your employees, remember that they’re humans – not robots – and being more considerate will improve your entire restaurant, not just your relationship with them. You can get started by considering the following policies, which are all more employee-friendly versions of common rules in restaurants.
Sick policy: Consider your employees’ needs and family responsibilities. Sick days may also be needed to care for sick children or aging parents. Keeping this in mind can go a long way to reducing job-related stress.
Eating on the job: Consider starting a 15-minute “family mealtime” during which employees sit down and eat together. Serve inexpensive dishes (lasagna, for instance) rather than allow ordering from the menu. Not only will this help build a team in your restaurant, but your employees will appreciate it – it also prevents having any hangry servers!
Personal phone calls: Emergencies happen, doctors or sitters may need to be called or consulted. Again, think of employees’ lives outside the walls of your restaurant. Being understanding when situations arise will help develop more loyal employees.
Tardiness: Listen to employees’ reasons for late arrivals, and judge each on a case-by-case basis. Deal with repeated tardiness as needed, while attempting to be fair. Your employees all know that you expect them to be timely, but some things are out of their control.
A workplace can be completely changed by enacting more employee-friendly policies. You can train your employees on what to do, when to do it, and make sure they’re perfectly prepared for anything, but policies like these are what encourage them to work hard and use that knowledge.
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