How to Create an Employee Onboarding Plan: 6 Steps for Success

Author profile picture
Geri Mileva
August 4, 2023
A new team of restaurant kitchen staff are being onboarded with an onboarding plan.

A well-planned, optimized, and effective onboarding plan can increase revenue, improve staff engagement, and lower turnover rates. Nearly one-third of newly hired workers resign within the first 90 days. The primary contributors to their resignation are unmet role expectations, a specific incident that spurred their departure, and company culture problems. This is more than just an expensive problem, but a grave one, particularly in restaurants where new employees must quickly acclimate to a fast-paced environment.

One way of solving a revolving staff door is to implement an efficient onboarding process. A smooth and effective hiring and onboarding process is vital, as it sets the tone for new employees, shaping their first impression and laying the foundation for their role. To ensure a seamless experience, a standardized onboarding plan is the key, streamlining the process and enabling them to adapt to their new responsibilities quickly.

What Is An Employee Onboarding Plan?

The employee onboarding plan is a methodical technique for introducing and integrating newly recruited employees into the restaurant team. The process typically includes an orientation session, the collection of the required paperwork, and training. The restaurant onboarding process plays a crucial role in the success of a new team member, regardless of the position they have just filled. This is where organizational socialization occurs, where you teach your new staff about the restaurant's identity, their roles and responsibilities, the parts of their colleagues, and the tools and information they need to perform their job effectively.

Due to the high labor cost in the restaurant business, implementing an onboarding strategy is indispensable. Adopting a streamlined approach allows management to cut administrative time by up to 75%. According to Smartsheet, 70% of employees think streamlining through automation saves time on repetitive tasks. By creating an efficient onboarding plan, restaurateurs can spend less time on training and re-training, and more time on driving the business forward. 

A restaurant manager is reviewing the onboarding plan with a new employee.

How to Create a Successful Onboarding Plan

 A detailed onboarding plan and employee handbook are vital for effectively welcoming new hires, regardless of the restaurant's size.

While it may be required to develop individualized plans for specific roles, a comprehensive onboarding plan typically consists of the following six elements:

  • An onboarding timeline
  • Brand identify, mission, and values
  • Organizational structure
  • Job description and expectations
  • Job-specific training with an assigned buddy
  • Menu training and specials

Let's dive into each element of a comprehensive onboarding plan.

1. Onboarding Timeline

Outlining when the onboarding process should be completed and what daily tasks new employees can expect is the last phase of the plan. The timeline sets clear expectations for new team members, helping them acclimate smoothly to their roles. It may include target completion dates for various training modules, paperwork, and introductory meetings.

2. Brand Identity, Mission, and Values

New employees will learn about the restaurant's core values, mission, and guiding principles during this phase. During orientation, show a video or presentation that covers the core principles of your restaurant's culture. Illustrate how these values translate into the workplace. For instance, if “customer-centric” is a crucial cultural value in your establishment, provide examples of how employees can make customers feel extra special.

Knowing these critical elements helps them become a part of the restaurant's vision and culture. As a result, they feel more engaged and connected to the team, pushing them to contribute to its success.

A new server who is onboarding is smiling at a customer.

3. Organizational Structure

This is where you educate new employees on how things work. It usually involves an orientation session, signing paperwork, setting up digital accounts, touring the restaurant, and meeting the team.  They learn about their reporting chain, how to request time off, and the seniority among servers and staff. 

If the restaurant has multiple locations, the onboarding process should cover the different procedures or policies between sites, ensuring consistent performance and customer service. All of these empower new team members to do their job well and communicate effectively.

4. Job Description and Expectations

This is where you provide a comprehensive structure of your new hire’s role and responsibilities. It involves the details of their day-to-day duties and outlining the tasks they will be responsible for. This is also the time to discuss quotas and performance goals, such as sales targets, table turnovers, customer satisfaction, and project deliverables. This helps the new hire understand expectations and start working toward them early. 

Moreover, this is where you give full details about break timings for employees, ensuring they know when and how to take breaks during their shifts. It also covers arranging coverage when someone needs time off or faces unexpected situations, ensuring that the restaurant can run smoothly without compromising service quality.

5. Job-Specific Training With an Assigned Buddy

Training is crucial for new employees to learn the necessary skills. Training methods include a training manual, in-person classes, online learning, and shadowing experienced staff. 

An excellent training approach is through a buddy system, which pairs individuals for effective learning support. This method encourages mutual accountability, boosts knowledge retention, and enables skill transfer. It gives your new hire a go-to person to ask questions and seek advice. Shared experiences and feedback accelerate learning, fostering vital personal and professional growth. A designated mentor or buddy helps new employees feel supported and confident during their transition, promoting a positive work experience.

A new barista is being trained by her buddy from her onboarding plan.

6. Menu Training and Specials

Menu training is a crucial aspect of onboarding, whether you work at the front or back of the restaurant. During this phase, new employees learn about the menu, including dishes, ingredients, and preparation methods. This helps them answer customers’ questions and make recommendations confidently.

Additionally, they receive training on how to present daily specials. They learn about communication channels like whiteboards, shift briefings, or digital platforms to announce special dishes, menu modifications, and promotions. Knowing where to find this information helps them stay updated and inform customers accurately about the day's unique offerings.

Furthermore, the onboarding plan outlines new employees' daily tasks and responsibilities during their initial days or weeks. This gives them a structured framework, helping them prioritize their duties and adapt efficiently to their new work environment.

What Is Digital Onboarding and Its Benefits?

When bringing in new employees, you have two options for onboarding: manual processing or digital processing using employee onboarding software. Manual processing is time-consuming, as it involves printing documents and keeping track of paperwork. On the other hand, digital processing saves time and ensures legal compliance when tracking new hires.

You only have to share a link with your new employees when using digital onboarding software like Push. The software automatically tracks and stores all necessary paperwork, making it easy to access later. Tasks that typically take an hour to complete manually can now be finished within minutes. 

Push offers essential paperless onboarding features, including:

  • Automated reminders for prompt completion of required forms
  • Secure storage of essential documents, simplifying compliance verification
  • Convenient automation of payroll, ensuring swift paycheck processing
  • An efficient digital onboarding platform that enhances morale and ensures a seamless experience for new team members
A screen from Push's digital onboarding platform.

Final Thoughts on Creating an Onboarding Plan

Having an onboarding plan is the first step to combatting employee turnover. It’s a win-win situation, as it significantly streamlines the process, saving valuable time for both you and your new employees. Book a demo at Push now to learn more about digital onboarding.

Table of content

August 2023


You Might Also Like

Two back-of-house employees are laughing while cleaning a cooking surface in a restaurant kitchen.

How to Hire Back-of-House Staff

A line cook is putting out two bowls of sliced fruit on a kitchen prep surface.

What is a Line Cook? | Job Description, Salary, and How to Hire the Best

Three restaurant employees with their manager, who learned how to hire employees.

How to Hire Employees: 7 Tips for Building a Robust Restaurant Team


Want to know more about how you could work more in on your business?

Save money with this easy all-in-one restaurant management tool


payroll and onboarding


per week



Don't take our word for it, hear what our customers have to say

“In the labor numbers, we were reporting about a $300 to $400 difference than what we were getting through Push!”

-Tara Hardie, ZZA Hospitality Group, 16 locations

Capterra's review score for Push
G2's review score for Push
Software Advice's review score for Push
Google's review score for Push
G2 easiest to use spring 2022 badge for Push
Easiest To Use
Spring 2022
G2 high performer spring 2022 badge for Push
High Performer Spring 2022
G2 best usability spring 2022 badge for Push
Best Usability Spring 2022
G2 easiest setup spring 2022 badge for Push
Easiest Setup
Spring 2022
Crozdesk trusted vendor high market presence badge for Push
Trusted Vendor
Crozdesk quality choice top-ranked solution badge for Push
Quality Choice

Easily and quickly scale your restaurant with the all-in-one solution

Book a Demo Call!