Create a handbook that includes:

  • Your restaurant’s story and history

  • Its mission and vision

  • Dress code

  • Conduct and behavior

  • Specific rules and policies

  • Kitchen safety and sanitation

  • Emergency guidelines

  • Pay and benefits

And train them on:

  • Staff and roles

  • The specifics of your menu and dishes

  • The restaurant’s layout and set-up

  • Selling tactics

  • Skills needed to get a promotion

  • Anything specific to your restaurant, such as how to serve a special dessert



There’s more to training than just a handbook and a few days’ shadowing. Going beyond the basics can prep staff to upsell, be productive and efficient, de-escalate problems, and improve guests’ experience.


Create an atmosphere where communication is early and often, from servers communicating with customers to kitchen staff speaking up when they’re in the weeds. Praise them when they do — the sooner they bring up concerns, the sooner the situation can be fixed.

- Have regular check-ins, staff meetings, and one-on-ones with employees, both on a scheduled basis and spontaneously, and foster open communication.

- Create an open-door policy to emphasise that employee input is valued and you’re open to hearing their perspectives.

- Use a scheduling app for both BOH and FOH, like Homebase(opens in a new window), Toast(opens in a new window), or 7Shifts(opens in a new window).


A new poll suggests nearly half of Canadians are living paycheque to paycheque as the cost of living crisis continues to squeeze household budgets, and young people are more likely to say their finances are in poor shape." Good pay is the most important to staff, but they also value a good working environment and career opportunities — optimizing your work environment is crucial for getting them to stay.

  • Provide better wages and benefits: Retaining good staff means offering them more than your competitors, like staff meals and discounts, reward and recognition programs, and training and development opportunities. These will foster appreciation among staff and empower their growth.

  • Make their pay available directly on payday: Making sure you’re not late on pay is essential.  Your staff should be paid promptly on payday – if not before. Restaurant-specific payroll systems like Gusto(opens in a new window), Paycor(opens in a new window), or Square(opens in a new window) can help track shifts, tips, and OT payments across locations.

  • Be a supportive leader: Rather than a “boss”, be a leader who understands their goals by providing training, mentorship, and professional development. Delegate responsibilities and ownership to your staff and trust them to make the right decisions.

  • Be respectful of their needs: Being kind and fair to your people is mandatory, both on and off the clock. Put yourself in their shoes and understand their unique situations with empathy. Maintain manageable and realistic amounts of work to avoid void overloading individuals.

  • Offer praise and incentives for milestones: Be aware of what your team is trying to achieve, and reward them when they achieve these goals. Track progress and take time to acknowledge their hard work.


Foster trust, initiative, and even risk-taking. If your crew knows they have each other’s backs, they’ll be more willing to go the extra mile. One great way to get them together — and talking — is the “family meal,” where they can try new menu items, share tips on upselling, or a yet-undiscovered efficiency in the kitchen. It also allows them to rest, refuel, and reduce stress levels.

 Other ideas include cross-training, having employees train in each other’s roles, or a mentorship program. Also, consider a  “shout-out board” for employees to recognise each other and off-site team-building events. 


Only 19% of restaurants offer online training to new hires, which is a huge miss—especially when working with Millennials and Gen Z². Turn your handbooks into videos, a PDF, or if you have the skills, a simple website to let them learn on the go. 

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