When Managing Restaurant Staff, Consistency is Key

You and each of your managers will have your own ways of interacting with employees on a day-to-day basis.  One manager may be the “fun” one, another is an “absentee” manager that is always in the back office, and you may be the disciplinarian.  Combining different management styles is a great idea because employees respond differently to each style, and there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to managing staff.

Whatever the delivery style, the policies and procedures for dealing with employees need to remain consistent.  If your rules are all over the board, it will lead to employee issues and potentially even lawsuits.  Below are some basic areas that need documented guidelines and that managers need to be trained to handle:

James Beard

  • Benefits: Determine if you are legally required to offer benefits, and document those guidelines. Be aware that certain changes in your business, changes in an employee’s work situation (such as a promotion or moving from part-time to full-time), and changes in Federal requirements will mean that you need to revisit requirements periodically.
  • Time Off: Research and create a Time Off policy. Sick leave ordinances are based on municipality.
  • Job Descriptions: Job Descriptions/Position Plans need to be in place and adhered to
    • Make them complete and descriptive
    • Be sure that each employee understands what is expected of them, and get signed off at the time of hire or promotion
  • Training: Training needs to be the same for each position
    • Use shift task logs to be sure that each employee is trained in the same manner
    • Proper safety procedures and emergency protocols need to be taught to every employee
  • Constructive Feedback: Constructive feedback helps develop an employee’s performance. Feedback needs to be clear and specific to reinforce behaviors that you want to see more of, and to deter those that need to stop.  Decide how management will provide feedback and create guidelines for every manager to follow.
  • Disciplinary Actions: Disciplinary actions are one of the most important areas to be consistent, because not treating employees equally can lead to lawsuits.  Be sure that all managers discipline employees according to your written guidelines, then document the disciplinary action, have the employee sign off on it immediately, and retain it in the employee file.
  • Reward and Recognition: Reward and recognition programs are great for morale, but only if they are fair and consistent.  Put a written policy in place about how to properly reward and recognize those employees who go above and beyond expectation.
  • Promotions: Create criteria that an employee must meet in order to receive a promotion.  Be sure to document how the employee met each criterion, and keep it in their file.  This can keep managers from playing favorites, and ward off potential lawsuits for discrimination.
  • Terminations: Both voluntary and involuntary terminations have requirements on both the state and federal level, and need to be handled properly and fully documented.