A 5 Step Guide To Successfully Onboard A New Restaurant Hire

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Angela Keen
October 12, 2021

Proper onboarding of new hires helps to integrate them into the team, and embody the behaviour and skills that you expect from someone working in that position.

So how can you successfully onboard a new hire? 

Without a standard process to onboard new hires, employees may misunderstand their duties, feel misaligned with company culture, take shortcuts in their work, or even quit.

Here is how to successfully onboard a new restaurant hire in 5 easy steps.

Step 1 - Proper preparation.

Proper restaurant onboarding should start long before you write your job posting or begin your search. First, you need to know exactly who you need to hire, and next, you must ensure that there is a seamless process for them to follow when you find the right fit.

To take it one step further, you may also want to consider what tools you might be able to use to help you hire and onboard more efficiently.

To make things easy, once you have your new hire - consider investing in an onboarding system that allows you to set up the position and training of an employee prior to their start date. These types of systems can make the process more efficient, and help your new employee have a more enjoyable onboarding experience.

Another thing to keep in mind during the preparation stage is the interview. When interviewing candidates outline the positions, and required job duties as best as possible so they know exactly what they are signing up for. Consider using “a day in a life” stories helps accomplish this. Also consider reading our article on the top 11 questions to ask servers at an interview.

Proper preparation will help ensure you are hiring the right person for the job, and can grant them a good first impression when they come aboard.

Step 2 - A warm welcome.

Employees are looking for a great place to work, as much as you are looking for great employees.

According to the NRA employee turnover costs restaurants $150,000 a year, so it is important to make a good first impression, ensuring new hires feel welcomed once they land their new job so they are more likely to stay.

Create a welcome package that makes them feel at home - getting them set up with the right documents, login codes, and uniform requirements right from the start so no important pieces of compliance based paperwork are missed.

Don’t forget to have your new hire sign an employee handbook acknowledgement form after reading your employee handbook. We suggest having the employee sign every section of the handbook to help during a potential dispute. If you are worried about your employee labor standards take our free Employee Labor Compliance Audit, speaking of employee handbooks...

Step 3 - Create an employee handbook.

Along with feeling welcome and wanted, new employees should also feel like they are taken care of, and that they are given the proper tools to do a good job, while having autonomy. Consider creating an employee handbook for your new hires that include these 8 chapters for them to reference: |

A restaurant employee onboarding manual might include: 

  1. Table of contents and structure
  2. Company culture
  3. Clearly defined tasks and roles
  4. The rules
  5. Company goals
  6. Encourage collaboration
  7. Accessible and attainable training
  8. Resources for if they need help

Digging in deeper to the handbook, here is an outline of each chapter we recommend:

1 - Table of contents and structure.

Make your employee guide easy to navigate. Organize it in a professional way, in a binder with clearly defined sections. You want it to feel easy, professional, and you also want them to feel special. Creating a document that is easy to navigate will contribute to their understanding of your requirements. If they don't understand the guide, or their role, that could be a symptom of a poor training guide.

2 - Company culture.

During the employee onboarding process sharing company culture and value is key.
The employee training guide is the perfect place to share the company’s culture and help them understand the important company values.
You can share the culture in the guide itself, or even consider a  welcome package as part of onboarding to give with the guide.
Remember that the first few days with onboarding can make all the difference in employee engagement and ultimately retention with your company, so make it count.
Also, giving your new hire the opportunity to understand the culture will help them succeed and show up in an appropriate way.

3 - Clearly defined tasks and roles.

It is important to define clear expectations in your training program and how they align with your company’s primary purpose. In addition to the expectations, it is important to define the purpose of training using clear learning objectives. It is also important to have a clearly defined role identification section so employees know what they are responsible for, and what now. Ensure that there are process guides for each department and active roles.
This will help new employees understand each department and better demonstrate how each department functions together.

4 - The rules.

Setting staff up for success means sharing the rules. Sharing rules and systems up front with the employee will make them feel comfortable and aware of how to do the right thing.
If this is something you do in person as well, make sure whoever shows them the ropes is someone who thoroughly knows the company rules, policies, and culture.

5 - Company goals.

Employees who feel they are part of a larger mission will thrive better than those who don’t. Make your company’s mission statement known. Share goals with your employees and help them create their own personal and business goals. Working at a dispensary can be an exciting opportunity to learn, grow and set personal targets - encourage them to own targets that align with the bigger picture, and cheer one another on as a team.

6 - Encourage collaboration.

A successful training guide will be inclusive and comprehensive and promote cross training. Promotion opportunities may not be written in an employee guide but make sure employees know that the opportunities are there. After all, growth is a huge driving factor in employee retention! Allow training to be fluid and make it a point to seek help from existing employees for mentorship and training opportunities.

7 - Accessible and attainable training.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but creating a training program that is accessible, attainable and personable to employees is key. This helps employees feel valued in the training process. Also, having employees who have up to date licenses is the law, and something that you should help them stay on top of, and keep track of as a team, be it by using your HR system, or keeping detailed notes.

Shadowing can be another helpful component. Pairing new employees with existing employees for shadowing opportunities is most effective if the employees are certified trainers in their areas or have successfully met certain knowledge guidelines.

Direct demonstration and hands-on training with supervision are two other ways to incorporate successful training programs. The key is to have a variety of opportunities to invite learning.

Remember that training never officially ends. Starting your training program with a manual helps decrease the time required by others to train new employees and increased consistency in training programs. By providing ongoing professional development and training opportunities, employees will continue to be successful long after their initial training phase.

Allow for continuous mention of company goals and collaborate with employees on setting and meeting certain goals.
Remind them of the mission statement and encourage your team to professionally develop by creating cross-training and promotion opportunities.

Creating a great employee training guide and program takes careful consideration and allows for a wonderful return on investment.

8 - Resources and the tools they need.

From log-ins to uniforms, make sure your employee is set up for success on their first day and doesn’t have to ask you for anything.  
Your new team member should feel like you are excited for them to join the team, and have anticipated their every need.  This leads to feeling valued and appreciated, another key to retention.  Consider including links or operations around how they can go about connecting with you if they have a concern or request.

Step 4- Employee self-serve onboarding, ready to go.

Along with the handbook, consider software that allows employees to onboard themselves, getting all their paperwork and back end documents organized on their own time! Having this software set up and ready to go is another way to make the process easy and seamless. Not to mention it saves your administrative team hours!

Step 5 - Get feedback.

Check in regularly with your employees to see how they are doing with their training. With new hires, spend time after every shift to ask their trainer - who should be a model employee - how it is going. Find out what they are doing well and what they are struggling with. Look for gaps in training, or areas in which they can improve, and then help train them to be better.

The onboarding process is an essential factor in employee retention. Failing to onboard successfully leads to higher turnover and will also result in poor guest experiences. Your employees should provide quality service as they represent your restaurant. Make sure all new employees understand what is expected of them, who they are working with, and how you want them to do their job.


During a time when restaurants are hiring more than ever before, it pays to have systems in place that can help you with the process. Push is here for applicant tracking, interviewing, hiring and onboarding! Plus we integrate with your entire employee life cycle, a one stop shop you don't want to miss.

Want to learn more about recruiting, hiring, onboarding and retention? Download our free guide below!

restaurant onboarding


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