What to Do When Hiring Restaurant Employees

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If you run a restaurant or another type of food service venue, it’s highly likely that you won’t be able to run it entirely by yourself and need to get a few more hands on deck. However, there are many different steps you need to take when you’ve decided to start hiring employees for your restaurant. And if you’re struggling to put these into place, this guide can ensure that you can hire the right employees without a hitch. 

Look at the Legalities 

The first step you need to take when you want to hire employees for your company is to look at the legalities behind this, or else you might find yourself on the wrong side of the law from the moment you recruit someone. 

For instance, the first step you’ll need to take to become an employer and not just a businessperson is to apply for an EIN or Employer Identification Number. This can help you fill out and file your taxes and allow you and the IRS to know who you are. However, applying for an EIN for free is relatively easy, and you can do this online from the comfort of your home or office. You’ll also need to make sure that you report each new employee that you bring on board to ensure that their taxes are correct. 

Create a Payroll Budget

However, one of the main concerns that you might have about employing new staff is whether you can afford to pay them. This means that before you take any further steps, you need to look at your budget and determine how much of it can be spent on your payroll. Generally, 15–30% of the money you make should be spent on paying your employees, and this will allow you to offer them a generous wage. 

It’s important that you have enough money in your budget to give them good pay as this will help you attract and retain the best staff and motivate them to perform at their best. This should be above the minimum wage and should be akin to the wages that other businesses are offering staff with the same skills and who are working at the same level in their careers. 

By determining your payroll budget, you can ensure that your business’s bank account isn’t drained as soon as payday comes around and that you don’t find yourself unable to pay your dedicated team members. 

Invest in Workwear

When you’re employing staff, though, you need to make sure that they have the right clothes to wear, especially if you’re implementing a specific dress code or a uniform policy. This is especially important in a restaurant as many of your team members will be customer-facing, and others will need to wear specific clothes for their own health and safety. 

For instance, your chefs might need chef hats that allow them to tuck their hair away and keep it out of their faces while helping to define their role in the kitchen. These chef hats also need to be cool and breathable, so they’re easy to wear in the heat of the ovens surrounding your chefs. This means that you should review the full range of black chef hats that are available online to find a smart and classic option for your employees that can make them feel good when they’re working. 

You’ll need to invest in these for your staff if you’re making them compulsory, and you might consider purchasing them anyway to make your staff feel valued in their profession. 

Start-Up an Excellent Recruitment Drive

If you’re determined to hire a team of excellent employees, you should make sure you put a lot of effort into developing an effective recruitment drive to help you secure the best possible team members out there. 

Firstly, you must write an accurate and comprehensive job description that sounds enthusiastic and lively and can help attract potential candidates. In short, you should make the job sound like a role anyone would be happy to perform and be excited about. 

Once you’ve done this, you then need to look for places to post this job advert. As well as physical locations, such as the doors of your restaurant, you should look at online job websites, including those that specialize in helping restaurants find staff. By posting your advert on these sites, you can improve its reach and easily find people with the skills you want across a wider area. 

Afterward, you need to browse through any resumes sent to you or use HR software to do this and look for the skills and background you require, as well as cover letters that make the potential employee sound dedicated and passionate. 

Next, you’ll arrive at the interview stage, where you’ll need to develop insightful questions that can get your interviewee thinking and help you understand each other better. You should also allow them to ask questions as this is a forum for them to work out if you’re a good employer, too. 

You should follow up any interviews quickly, either with an offer, an invite to a group interview, or a trial shift where you can see them work as part of your team. It’s important to do this promptly so that the best available staff members don’t get snapped up by your competitors. 

Create Workplace Policies

The next stage of becoming an employer involves creating workplace policies that can protect your employees and enable you to remain compliant. For instance, you’ll need to develop health and safety policies that can protect your team in the event of an emergency and prevent them from having an allergic reaction or getting injured. You should also consider discrimination, anti-bullying policies, and policies covering employee illness and parental leave so that all your employees know where they stand. 

You should then publish these policies where they can be readily available to your employees whenever they want or need to read them, and you might consider placing copies in your staff room or around your workplace. 

This will mean that your employees can always see your standpoint on certain issues and know what to do if they have a problem. You’ll also be able to use these policies as a guide for your actions in the future. If you’re finding it difficult to write these policies yourself, there are many templates online that you can use. 

Download Payroll Software

Sometimes, managing the payroll can be a pain, especially if you simultaneously have an assortment of other duties on your mind. You should consider downloading payroll software if you don’t have a dedicated finance department for your restaurant. This software can automate all the actions associated with payroll, such as creating a paystub, paying your team, and preparing for the end of the tax year. 

This will mean that you don’t have to constantly worry about whether your staff are being paid correctly or accurately, and you won’t have to oversee this element of your business yourself. 

There’s a lot of payroll software, so you should research before finding a good option. You should look for simple and cheap payroll software without all the frills that have a lot of good reviews to its name. 

Improve Your Working Environment 

Before you get a great set of fresh employees into your kitchen, you should ensure that the working environment you’ve provided suits them. A suitable working environment for employees might differ from what’s right when you run a business independently. 

For instance, you should ensure your kitchen is bright and always clean. You can do this by repainting the walls in a neutral color and hiring a cleaning company specializing in deep cleaning. 

You should ensure that they can operate the latest equipment that will help them fulfill their roles smoothly, and you should consider the workplace layout to ensure that everyone has enough room to move around in and that they don’t feel cramped when performing their duties. 

This will make sure that your restaurant is prepared for growth, that your employees feel positive when they’re at work, and that they’ll be able to produce their highest quality work in your kitchen. 

Create an Onboarding and Training Program

Before you start the hiring process, you should also have a well-developed onboarding and training program. This will ensure your new employees know what they’re doing and don’t feel overwhelmed when they start working for you. It will also allow you to boost their skills and knowledge so they can slot into your team without any problems, and you can fill any gaps in their expertise. 

If you can’t create an inspiring training program yourself, you should consider outsourcing this or using software that can help you make your employees feel comfortable in their first few days and weeks with your company. 

This training shouldn’t end once your employees are fully settled within your firm, though, and should be something that you continue throughout their time with you. This will help you and your employees have a great experience together from when you employ them until they retire. 


Hiring restaurant employees is a comprehensive process involving several crucial steps to ensure your business’s success and legal compliance. Each step is vital in attracting and retaining the best talent, from understanding the legal requirements and setting a payroll budget to investing in appropriate workwear and launching an effective recruitment drive. 

Creating clear workplace policies, utilizing payroll software, enhancing the working environment, and establishing a robust onboarding and training program are essential to a successful hiring strategy. 

By meticulously planning and executing these steps, restaurant owners can build a dedicated and skilled team capable of delivering exceptional service, setting the stage for business growth and a positive workplace culture.

I'm Allison Dunn,

Your Business Executive Coach

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