Employee Handbooks for Restaurants

Fairness in employment.  An employee handbook sets your employee policies and procedures in writing for your restaurant, grill, or cafe.   With a well designed restaurant employee manual you will gain many benefits: 1) your HR policies will be clear and consistent, 2) you will lower the chance of misunderstanding or frustration among staff, 3) you will offer protection to the business, and 4) you will equip your supervisors with a good HR resource.  No matter what type of business you have, an employee handbook is an essential for getting your employee policies in writing.

Some policies are necessary for any employee handbook:  at-will employment, non-discrimination, non-harassment, professional ethics, benefits, and a confirmation-of-receipt page.  Consider some of the other policies that can be included:

Employee Policies listEmployee Policies List

What typical policies are specific for restaurants?  Laws differ by state (and sometimes by city). There usually aren’t any that are specific to the industry beyond requirements on hygiene and food handling. Restaurant managers and owners do often choose to add custom policies that are unique to their particular organization, covering topics such as delivery driving safety, money handling, dress code, employee parking, customer respect, or security.

What is not included in a typical handbook?  A typical handbook (30-40 pages) does not cover job procedures which are too intricate and industry-specific.  Those topics not covered include things like job descriptions, day-to-day work procedures, and so forth.  Also, most handbooks are only in English, since good translation services are rather expensive to maintain legally compliant terminology.

How do I get a restaurant employee handbook?  Many wonder how to go about getting an employee manual that covers everything they need it to. Well, there are three paths you can choose to from:

  • Do-it-yourself (template)
  • Consulting Company (custom designed)
  • Lawyer (legally strong but not customized)

1. Do-it-Yourself Path: Many consider buying an employee handbook template online, which can cost from $50 to $350 or more.  A decent one will cost you at least $200.  The features such a template must have are:

  • Does the template include state-specific sections?  Many regulations differ by state, such as overtime, discrimination laws, jury duty, vacation pay, etc.
  • Does the template include size-specific sections?  Some regulations differ also by size, including FMLA, Pregnancy Leave, Sick Leave, etc.

Even if the employee handbook template you purchase is a decent one, expect to invest 100-140 work hours into research, editing, and customizing.  You will need to become familiar with your state’s labor laws to make sure the final handbook complies to state laws.  Most templates are purchased online.

Cost to you: about $250, plus 100+ work hours.

2. Consulting Company path:  This is the best value for most organizations.  Hire a consulting company to create your restaurant Employee Handbook.  The consulting company will conduct an interview to determine your current employee policies and survey what will be required considering your industry, location, and size.  Pricing starts at $1,500, so it initially costs more than the DIY path, but in reality it will save you both time and money.  See the links below for more information.

Cost to you: About $1,500 to $3,000, plus a few hours reading through the various drafts.

Learn more: Employee Handbook for Businesses

In addition, a consulting company can add custom policies that are unique to your organization, which a template would not offer.

3. Attorney-approved Path:  This route is by far the most expensive for an organization.  Hiring a Labor Lawyer to design an employee handbook can cost $5,000 to $9,000 or even more.  Is it worth the price?  Yes, if you run a highly regulated business or one considered to be at  high-risk for lawsuits.   Be sure to find a lawyer who focuses on employer needs, since many labor lawyers make their money representing employees suing their employers.

Cost to you: Average about $7,000, plus a few hours to review what was created.

(This article was originally published at HR Quick Answers. Republished with permission.)

Employee Handbooks for California Businesses

Custom Employee HandbookDoing business in California can be fantastic and frustrating at the same time. There are so many huge opportunities to explode in sales (if you are great at Wooing your Customers), but the labor regulations can sometimes overwhelm.  Rules. Rules. Rules. There are regs on OT, breaks, sick leave, discrimination, voting rights, and so much more.

As your company grows, you’ll reach a point when you realize it’s time to get more professional in how we’re handling our rules and policies. You realize that it’s time to get an Employee Handbook.

What are the benefits of an Employee Handbook? Besides offering some lawsuit protection, a handbook helps to get everyone “on the same page” when it comes to expectations, benefits, and potential consequences for failing to work as expected.

Other benefits to having an employee handbook are listed by the info blog HR Quick Answers:

Fairness in employment.  An employee handbook sets your employee policies and procedures in writing for your California business.   With a well designed California employee manual you will gain many benefits: 1) your HR policies will be clear and consistent, 2) you will lower the chance of misunderstanding or frustration among staff, 3) you will offer protection to the business, and 4) you will equip your supervisors with a good HR resource.  No matter what type of business you have, an employee handbook is an essential for getting your California employee policies in writing.

But that leads to the question of how do you get an employee handbook. Well, there are 3 main options in front of you:

1. Download a Template. Priced from $30 to $350, these templates will require you to invest many hours into personalizing the handbook to your state, employee count, and business specifics. Templates do NOT have typical industry-specific policies. A good template from the California Chamber of Commerce coasts about $250.

2. Have a consulting company design a customized handbook for you. Typical price is between $1,500 and $3,000. Pricing might seem high, but consider how many hours it would take one of your employees to create this from a good template (anywhere from 3-4 weeks of work). Even if the employee is only getting paid $10 per hour, it will cost you at least as much as it would hiring a consulting company, and the consultant will have quite a bit more experience at what should (and shouldn’t) be in that manual.

Customized Employee Handbooks

Church Employee Handbooks

3. Go to a labor law lawyer. This is by far the most expensive option, but you will receive a California employee handbook that considers all the legal intricacies of your business (though maybe not industry-specific policies). This is a good option for complex businesses concerned about employee lawsuits. Typical pricing ranges from $5,000 to $9,000.

Another option is to hire a lawyer to simply review a handbook you had designed DIY or by a consultant.

At New Wind, we design customized Employee Handbooks. We invite you to contact us for a complementary 30-minute Phone Consult, where we’ll talk about your business and what you want/need as written policies in an employee handbook. Schedule a consult now- it will only cost you 30 minutes of your time.

Contact New Wind