Tips for creating a restaurant operations manual

Consejos para crear un manual operaciones restaurante

A restaurant operations manual is a text that directs your service in an orderly and optimized way. In addition, it will help you increase the quality of your service and, of course, will have a positive impact on its growth.

What is a restaurant operations manual and what is it for?

What is a restaurant operations manual and what is it for?

A restaurant operations manual is a guide that contains all the procedures that are put into practice within your business.

Therefore, it is an exceptional document to train new employees, providing them with all the relevant information about the company and its operations in an easy and direct way. In addition, you provide a place to consult in case of future doubts.

This manual is usually divided into chapters, each one dedicated to specific areas of your business. With a proper and exhaustive development of each one, you will achieve proper management and consistent quality in the restaurant.

Ideal structure for a restaurant operations manual

Ideal structure for a restaurant operations manual

Although the operations manual of your restaurant can have the structure and morphology that you deem convenient, it should follow a logical structure, in order to develop it much more easily. It is highly recommended to go from the general to the specific regarding the operations of your business.

The following is a suggested structure that you can use when writing a restaurant operations manual.

Welcome and Introduction

The welcome page is the title of the manual in capital letters, signed by you as the restaurant owner and the person responsible for human resources.

Next would be the introduction, which is nothing more than the history of the restaurant, but told in brief.

It details…

  • Year of foundation
  • Type of cuisine
  • History of the restaurant’s name
  • Changes implemented in recent years.

Thanks to this document, your staff can know the history of the business and answer the questions of any customer interested in the business.

Values, organization chart and explanation of positions

Here we will expose the vision, mission, values and objectives that your business has.

Then we will add a chart with the organization chart of your business, followed by the explanation of each position.

In the explanation it is necessary to specify the functions, the approximate working hours and the profile of the worker who should occupy it.

Management protocols

The chapter on administration includes the processes carried out by human resources, finance and accounting.

This includes everything related to personnel administration and payroll , payroll, expense control, taxation and commercial inspection of the restaurant.

Staff training

Every restaurant operations manual explains how staff training should be carried out.

First of all, it indicates the personnel selection process and the duration of the probationary period, as well as the type of training that the personnel will receive for the correct performance of their duties.

Service procedures on the premises

This chapter is especially aimed at waiters, bartenders, cashiers and cleaners.

It begins by detailing how to work in the dining room and at the bar, how to take orders without bumping into customers, and techniques for carrying products without spilling them.

Selling techniques are also detailed, with the objective of advising undecided customers and generating more revenue for the business. If you know what your “star dishes”(menu engineering) are, point them out here for employees to memorize for recommendations.

This section also details the restaurant’s cleaning protocol: after each service, at the end of the day and what to do in case of accidents.

Warehouse control

The warehouse control protocol is crucial, since it allows to know the availability of ingredients for the service.

This process consists of five steps: purchase, receipt, storage, inventory inspection and cleaning. Each of these phases must have its own section and explanation (main suppliers, how to inspect, recommended or authorized cleaning products, etc.).

Kitchen management

All parts of the manual are valuable, but kitchen management is one of the most important.

Within this chapter you should highlight the restaurant’s menu and the cooking and plating procedure for each product (if it is with a photo, all the better).

You can also add a sketch of the kitchen with the location of storage areas, freezers, cooking equipment and refrigerators.

Finally, explain how food should be handled to ensure food safety for customers and avoid cross-contamination(cold chain, food allergens).

Marketing and advertising

You cannot miss the chapter related to marketing and advertising of your restaurant.

There you will detail the strategy of the business with respect to promotions and marketing campaigns. It will also include the restaurant’s corporate identity and branding.


This section includes the maintenance protocol of the establishment of the premises, furniture and appliances.

It also indicates the frequency of the processes and the people in charge of maintenance, according to the organizational chart.

It should also mention that if outside labor is needed, it will be under previous consultation with the administration and the restaurant manager.

Advantages of designing an operations manual for your restaurant

Advantages of designing an operations manual for your restaurant

Having an operations manual for your restaurant has benefits for the internal management of the business.

But it also opens the door to new opportunities, such as having the work of outstanding chefs and possible investments to franchise your business.

Strengthen your brand identity

In addition to explaining the restaurant’s operations, the operations manual has a section for brand identity.

It explains how the restaurant was born, its mission, vision and objectives.

Detailing how your business has grown creates closeness with the staff, empathizing with the brand and feeling part of it.

The restaurant’s objectives are clear

A restaurant’s operations manual encompasses the restaurant’s objectives and explains step-by-step how to achieve them.

Likewise, it establishes guidelines for the correct operation of your restaurant, repeating the processes at each moment of the service.

Repetition is the way to achieve a constant experience, where the customer is always at ease with his order.

The value of your business is higher for investors

Investors interested in generating franchises look for organized businesses with excellent management.

Having a restaurant operations manual guarantees both aspects.

Another attraction of having it is that you have the guidance to instruct the staff of your premises and that the same quality of service is offered.

It conveys a professional image in the sector

Having a manual with the procedures for each area of the restaurant is synonymous with order, formality and competence.

A fundamental aspect that plays in your favor when hiring new personnel, since it offers a professional image of your restaurant.

In addition, it is a way to ensure that from their first day they will have clear tasks for the day.

Combat disorganization

The operations manual eliminates disorganization at the root.

Each position within the restaurant will have its roles and duties, so there will be no staff members out of work or confused about the tasks they need to accomplish.

Staff members will be consistent by having a defined routine and objectives will be achieved through teamwork.

Learn much more about other related terms in our Hospitality and Catering Dictionary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a restaurant operations manual?

It is the document-guide with all the procedures that are carried out in your business. It contains relevant information about the company and its operations. A place to go to when you have any doubts.

What are the advantages of designing an operations manual for your restaurant?

It allows you to strengthen your brand identity, define clear objectives, increase the value of your business for investors, transmit a professional image in the sector and combat disorganisation.

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