Restaurant Onboarding Checklists You Need For Every New Employee

Restaurant Onboarding Checklists You Need For Every New Employee

Onboarding new restaurant employees can be challenging. In this guide, we cover a few restaurant onboarding checklists to make sure your team always gets it right.

Client Experience & Support


  • Studies show great employee onboarding can enhance employee retention by 82%, making onboarding an asset to the operations of any restaurant.
  • To build a well-rounded onboarding process, you’ll want to cover the 5 C’s: compliance, clarification, confidence, connection, and culture.
  • Breaking up your onboarding process into phases across pre-boarding, welcoming, training, and full transition can help you develop a well-rounded onboarding process.
  • The following checklists are to be used as a tool to assist you in building an onboarding program for your restaurant.

Congratulations! You’ve hired your newest employee, but the work isn’t over just yet. After you’ve found the right person for your restaurant position, you’ll need to properly welcome them into your workplace.

Guidelines for onboarding differ depending on each restaurant's needs, so it’s important to build your own onboarding process in a way that's most efficient for you.

Studies show great employee onboarding can enhance employee retention by 82 percent, making onboarding an asset to the operations of any restaurant. This is especially important considering total employment in the restaurant industry is still 750,000 employees below pre-pandemic levels.

To build a well-rounded onboarding process, you’ll want to cover the 5 C’s of onboarding:

  • Compliance — completing the paperwork needed when new hires join. Even if you don't have a fixed onboarding plan, you likely have employment contracts requiring signatures from new employees.
  • Clarification — providing new employees with instructions and expectations for their new roles. For the employees to perform their best, they’ll need guidance into the processes and structures of your restaurant during the first few weeks.
  • Confidence — helping your new employees feel self-assured in their role. Focus on instilling confidence in your employees so they can have confidence in themselves by celebrating their improved performance.
  • Connection — introducing and integrating new employees to the team and work environment. Employees feel safe and more comfortable when they feel accepted at work, and creating this environment starts with your onboarding processes.
  • Culture — understanding workplace rules, policies, and ways of working. Educating your employees about your work culture is a top down strategy. Eventually, new hires will become senior employees with strong influence, making it important to establish positive guidelines during onboarding.

It’s helpful to split the onboarding process into four separate phases to better cover the demands of the five C’s. These phases include pre-boarding, welcoming, training, and full transition.

The following article will provide restaurant onboarding checklists for these four phases so you can establish a streamlined onboarding experience for you and your new employees.

Pre-Boarding: Restaurant Onboarding Employee Checklist

The pre-boarding phase is the time between when a candidate accepts your offer and starts their first day. Even though they haven’t officially started yet, you can use this time as an opportunity to make a solid first impression.

Since the employee doesn't know you and your restaurant at this point, minor miscommunication can easily happen. You can avoid this by staying connected, sending periodic updates, and making yourself available if they have any questions about the role or any pre-boarding paperwork.

While you want to be available, you don’t want to be overbearing. Remember, to be respectful of your employees and their other commitments, like if they are in the process of handing off work within their current employer.


The pre-boarding stage mostly focuses on paperwork, aka the fun stuff. Handing over a stack of paperwork can feel daunting, especially since important tax paperwork can easily get lost or filled incorrectly.

If streamlining the paperwork processes sounds enticing, then HigherMe can help. HigherMe lets you send a digital offer letter with all the tax forms and other required documents needing signatures like handbooks, policies, or any documented procedures. You can also see the progress of each employee in the onboarding stage from your dashboard.

Regardless if you streamline with software or onboard with old fashion pen and paper, your new employee needs to fill out the following documents:

  • Offer letter
  • Form W-4 for federal income tax purposes
  • Form I-9 to make sure that the candidate is authorized to work in the country
  • State tax paperwork, if applicable
  • Banking information or payroll records
  • Employee handbooks
  • Training materials

Devices and Equipment

If your restaurant requires the use of any devices or equipment, then you should issue them in the pre-boarding stage. If any account or system set up is required, you can use the first few days of employment to make sure they’re caught up with the inner workings of your restaurant.

Depending on your businesses operations, here’s a checklist of possible restaurant devices and equipment your new employee may need:

  • Identity badges to access buildings
  • Uniform and name tags if these are used in your restaurant
  • Laptop or other electronic system
  • Access codes to required software
  • Any required software training

Mentor & Training System

Assigning a veteran employee to mentor and train your newest hire is an efficient way to get them acclimated to their new work environment.

As the boss, new hires don’t want to annoy you and may be timid to ask you particular questions. You can break down this barrier by introducing an open door policy, which helps normalize new hires going directly to you to ask questions.

This also causes a trickle down effect in the training of your new hires. If all staff—veterans and new—are encouraged to go to you for training guidance, then everyone on your team will know your preferred processes. This helps keep communication strong and helps more experienced team members mentor new hires correctly from the start.

The responsibilities of mentors vary by each restaurant and their unique operations. Regardless, this foundational checklist is a great place to start:

  • Meet the new employees on their first day
  • Introduce new employees to other employees
  • Answer their initial questions about the job role and the company
  • Make sure they are familiar with the workplace
  • Train new hires on their daily tasks
  • Clarify the guidelines, unwritten rules and the culture
  • Track weekly performance and give them initial feedback

Download these onboarding checklists for future reference.

Week 1 to Week 4 Onboarding Checklists

Week 1 Checklist: Welcoming New Hires Phase

The next phase of onboarding is the welcoming phase. There’s an overwhelming amount of information for new employees to learn, so this phase is to help make the transition as easy as possible.

The best way to tackle initial training is to keep the first days simple and not provide overly excessive information. In most cases, they’ll forget a portion of their training so remember to re-explain important tasks throughout the first few months. You may even want to consider making your training information accessible to new hires later, so they can review and re-learn on their own time.

Restaurants tend to be fast-paced, so as your new employee gains experience, they’ll learn through action and have more questions as they progress.

To make this transition easier, here’s a checklist to help you welcome your new employees during the first month of their employment:

  • Send them a welcome email with clear information about the location and start time, as well as who they’ll be working with throughout their first day.
  • If a lot of reading is required, spend some time reading through a portion of the employee handbook with them.
  • Create a small onboarding kit with samples of the product, merchandise, and small gifts.
  • Provide a full tour even if the employee will only work in one section of the restaurant.
  • Introduce new hires to as many new employees as possible and encourage current employees to welcome new hires.
  • Clarify initial doubts regarding the job role and mention the expectations during their first weeks.

Week 2 and 3 Checklist: Training Phase

After welcoming your new hires, training them is the next big step to support their long lasting success at your restaurant.

The onboarding process can be overwhelming to say the least, so checking in with your new hires is crucial.

Now is a great time to revisit the handbook and make sure the employee understands all the rules after their first month. And, if any rules weren’t respected, this is a great time to address it.

Reviewing expectations is an effective way to keep your team connected to your company culture. You can do this by completing the following training checklist:

  • Schedule periodic meetings to ensure expectations are clear and new hire is satisfied
  • Track progress on training tasks
  • Train for job-specific tools that might have not been covered during the initial month
  • Present their team's KPIs and how their role can have a great impact on the restaurant
  • Provide thoughtful feedback regarding onboarding
  • Boost their confidence by praising their successes so far

Week 4 Checklist: Full Transition Phase

Once your newest employee has started to master their role, there are a few steps to help them transition from feeling like new hires to full-fledged employees. It’s important in this phase for supervisors and managers to ensure these employees are setting good examples for the new employees to follow.

Here’s a checklist to help complete the full transition to employee and maximize each hire’s contribution to the team:

  • Set new expectations. When they join as new hires, they are not expected to do everything they come across. At this point they should be able to do much more.
  • Keep tracking their performances every month and help them feel challenged while continuously improving their performance.
  • Create a successful vision and help them plan for growth within the restaurant.
  • Plan for the employee to begin training and mentoring new team members.


Simply put, your onboarding process should not be overlooked. How you get your new employees set up in their new role and how you guide them towards success will influence their attitude, overall work ethic, and length of employment.

The onboarding process, like the hiring process, is lengthy and time-consuming. So, if you want to streamline and save yourself some time, then HigherMe can help by keeping track of all your onboarding tasks in one centralized dashboard.

To learn more about HigherMe software, watch our 5 minute demo video or contact our sales team.

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