Sample Restaurant Employee Handbook: Where To Get It Free Online
By Jerome Chiaro

As you may already know, a restaurant employee handbook is important in running any food service business from a full service restaurant to a simple family diner. Some restaurant owners prefer to pay others to create their policy manuals. However, small business owners may not have the luxury of money to spend for a custom employee handbook.

A good solution is to write the handbook yourself with the help of a secretary or executive assistant who has excellent research and writing skills. Find a sample restaurant employee handbook that you can use as basis for your own. Although many websites sell a sample of an employee handbook applicable for any business in any industry, many still provide a free sample restaurant employee handbook, which you can download from the following kinds of websites.

1. Company Websites

Some company websites, such as and, have published samples of their handbooks online in PDF form. Although you cannot copy these documents, you can glean some ideas on how to format your restaurant’s policies in various areas of your operations. For example, Hoss’ Steak and Sea House have different policies on employing workers for different states.

2. Government Websites

Government websites, such as the Department of Labor of a certain state, provides a sample of an employee handbook, which businesses can use. Blank fields for the name of the company and other unique information are marked. Designed to follow the state’s labor laws for a specific industry, these sample handbooks serve as a starting point for creating a policy manual for your restaurant business.

3. Professional Organizations and Resource Groups

Downloading a sample restaurant employee handbook is free from websites of restaurant associations in your state or county. You may also request a copy of a generic handbook from some members of the association. However, since they are professional organizations, they require restaurant owners to register and pay an annual membership fee.

Aside from professional organizations, you may also download a sample restaurant employee handbook from a resource group, such as SCORE, which is a mentoring community for small business owners and entrepreneurs.

4. For those who have the time and energy to search through piles of junk online, then you should check out websites that provide links to freeware. Some free software out there can help you create a restaurant employee handbook.

Freeware has zero cost, but they also lack the quality and accuracy that an important document as a handbook should possess. If you do find reliable websites that have legitimate freeware listings, then be sure to scan each file you download from the Internet to protect your computer.

More importantly, when you create your own restaurant employee handbook, make sure you have it verified with your lawyer before publishing and distributing it to your employees. Even if you have customized it from a sample restaurant employee handbook, there is no excuse from letting disgruntled employees exploit loopholes in your company policies.

Jerome Chiaro is a Restaurant Owner & Consultant out of Orange County, CA.

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