Common HR Mistakes for Restaurant Owners to Avoid

There are two things that most small restaurant owners have in common. The first is that they are passionate about the restaurant industry. The second is that they are incredibly busy. Sometimes, these two traits make it easy for some essential, but less exciting, business functions to fall through the cracks. For example setting up thorough HR processes needed in restaurants tends to fall behind menus, decor, and marketing on the priority list. Here are some common HR mistakes to avoid so you can protect your restaurant employees’ rights and keep your business out of legal trouble.

Your Restaurant Has No Handbook

Employee handbooks are a simple, yet essential tool to creating a transparent and safe workplace. They don’t have to be complex; Brief handbooks tend to be the most helpful in promoting policy compliance. Treat this document as an outline of expectations that holds both employer and employee accountable. Consider creating a digital copy that is easily updated, shared, and referred to by both parties.

Restaurant Workers’ Training is On-the-Fly

There is plenty of value in on-the-job learning. But throwing employees into the deep end and hoping they can swim is not the best onboarding plan. Limit turnover and poor performance by setting employees up for success. Outline a training timeline and share it with each employee on, or before, their first day. Give them resources to succeed beyond just safety videos, like shadowing and mentorship opportunities. Create learning opportunities well into their tenure at your restaurant.

Incomplete Restaurant Employee Documentation

Employee documentation should not be limited to the onboarding phase. Track events and incidences like training completion, performance feedback (positive and negative), missed shifts, and scope of work updates. Documenting employees’ progress helps hold you accountable for their success and also covers you in case of any employee disputes.

Your Restaurant Has No Formal Termination Process

Restaurants are high-energy work environments, and sometimes tempers fly. Even when an employee truly needs to be let go, not having a pre-established plan can leave you open to trouble with EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). Staying on top of documentation, having set protocols, and giving employees opportunities and resources to remedy poor performance can protect you against wrongful termination lawsuits.

Hiring Without a Plan

When you are short-staffed, it can be tempting to hire as quickly as possible to get a warm body in position. However, not establishing roles, compensation, and company needs before you begin recruiting will lead to more turnover, low productivity, and plenty of headaches for your team. Create a hiring timeline that allows for thorough interviews, background checks, stages, and working interviews when possible.

Yet, even the most talented restaurateur cannot do it all. When you need to find reliable leadership, our experienced restaurant recruiters can help. The team at Horizon Hospitality takes a consultative approach to talent acquisition, helping you identify opportunities in your hiring process, as well as find the best restaurant talent. Contact Horizon Hospitality to learn more.

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