How to Create and Use a Restaurant Employee Evaluation Form

How to Create and Use a Restaurant Employee Evaluation Form
Vahag Aydinyan

By Vahag Aydinyan

Think about the best job you've ever had (hopefully it’s the one you have now!). Perhaps you loved that job because you were good at it, because you clicked with your coworkers, or maybe because your supervisors made you feel appreciated. Because you were invested in your work, you probably enjoyed showing up and were willing to go above and beyond the call of duty.

Did you know that highly-engaged restaurant employees generate almost 1.5x more sales than their less enthusiastic colleagues? While some job performance metrics, like sales, are simple to measure, others, like engagement, are less quantifiable. Thankfully, restaurant employee evaluation forms help make these performance indicators easier to compare.

A restaurant employee evaluation form is a great tool for recording a staff member's quantifiable performance and measuring their qualitative achievements during a performance review. We’re going to teach you everything you need to know about these handy forms, including:

Bonus: Don't miss our downloadable employee evaluation form template at the end of this article!

What is a restaurant employee evaluation form?

A restaurant employee evaluation form is used by restaurant managers during performance reviews to assess how well staff members do their jobs. Managers use this form to make note of things that employees do well, and areas in which they can improve. Most evaluation forms also give employees a chance to reflect on their own performance.

Why should restaurant managers use employee evaluation forms?

Restaurant managers should use employee evaluation forms during performance reviews because they help make subjective evaluations more objective. Employee performance can’t always be quantified. However, an evaluation form makes it easier to quantify qualitative characteristics, like the ability to work well with others, by grading them against a scale.

Restaurant employee evaluation forms are also helpful in making sure supervisors and staff members are on the same page about where employees shine and where they need to improve. For example, if an employee isn't aware that they need to improve their customer service skills, then an evaluation form can be used to open a discussion about sharpening them. And because evaluations give employees the chance to evaluate themselves, employees are more likely to hold themselves accountable than if they didn't have the opportunity to tell their supervisor how they think they're doing at work.

Additionally, restaurant employee evaluation forms serve as written records of staff performance. Managers can refer back to these forms to see who has grown the most to make promotions accordingly, or to see whose progress has stagnated if they have to make the difficult decision to let team members go. Employees can refer to evaluation forms to track their progress and set professional development goals.

How to use a restaurant employee evaluation form

An employee evaluation form is a critical tool to use while conducting performance reviews. Here’s how to successfully incorporate an employee evaluation form into your performance review process:

1. Familiarize staff with the evaluation form

Staff should first encounter the evaluation form during the onboarding process so that there are no surprises as to how they’ll be evaluated during a performance review. During onboarding, explain how performance reviews work, why they’re important, when staff can expect them, and how they are scheduled.

Give employees access to blank evaluation forms so they understand how you will measure their performance. When employees know what you consider a job well done, they'll be better able to work towards that standard.

2. Explain why your restaurant uses employee evaluation forms

Don’t forget to tell staff why you use employee evaluation forms: to track their performance, point out areas for improvement, and make decisions about promotions and pay raises.

3. Schedule performance reviews

Give team members several weeks' notice that performance review season is approaching. This courtesy gives them the chance to boost their efforts and show you how they can shine.

If you evaluate all of your staff at the same time, publish an announcement in your team communication tool to let employees know that it's a performance review season. Create a digital sign-up sheet for scheduling performance reviews.

If you evaluate employees individually based on their tenure, remind them that they have an evaluation coming up during a one-on-one meeting. You can also use this meeting to schedule the review.

Encourage employees to review their past evaluations prior to their reviews to reflect on their progress and remind themselves of their goals.

4. Ask employees to evaluate themselves

Several days before their reviews, give staff members blank employee evaluation forms. You can send them digital copies or paper copies: whatever is most convenient for you.

Your evaluation form should include sections where employees can comment on and grade their performance. Ask them to fill out these sections, and then give you, their manager, the form.

Self-evaluation is an important exercise because it allows employees to vouch for their progress, set goals, and hold themselves accountable.

5. Evaluate employee performance

Now it's time for you, the manager, to judge your staff members’ performance and fill out their employee evaluation forms. Consider the following factors while filling out these forms:

  • Personal experience managing the employee in question: Are they pleasant to work with? How do they handle feedback?
  • Feedback from colleagues about the employee: Does this person get praised by team members, or are they constantly arguing with them? Are they a team player?
  • Feedback from customers about the employee: Does this person get compliments on comment cards, or have they been called out by angry customers in Yelp reviews?
  • Attendance: Is this person always on time, or are they always late and ask to drop a lot of shifts?
  • Sales: If the employee works a front-of-house role, review their upselling efforts in your POS.
  • The self-evaluation: Take the employee's comments into account.

Consider both qualitative and quantitative metrics when measuring an employee’s performance.

6. Share completed evaluation forms with staff before their reviews

Share the filled out forms with employees before their reviews so that they can process your feedback calmly (in case of bad news) and prepare questions for you.

7. Review employee evaluation forms during one-on-one meetings

Use the one-on-one performance review meetings you've scheduled with team members to go over their evaluation forms. Explain why you gave them the scores and feedback that you did. Answer all questions that employees pose during these meetings.

8. Encourage employees to create professional development plans

Discuss next steps with employees during their reviews. Poor performance could lead to probation and extra training, while outstanding performance could lead to promotions. Help them create goals to accomplish before the next review season.

What to expect after a performance review

You may choose to take one of several actions after a performance review, based on an employee’s performance.

Best case scenario outcomes

  • Performance continues to excel: After a performance review in which you recognize an employee for their good performance, they’ll most likely continue to excel in their role.
  • Promotion or raise: If an employee consistently performs well, you may decide to promote them or give them a raise based on their most recent evaluation.
  • Performance improvement: Sometimes employees don’t notice what needs improvement. Evaluations can help them find out their weak spots and address them. However, feedback given on the evaluation form shouldn’t come as a surprise. You should be giving staff feedback during regular one-on-one meetings, rather than just during formal performance reviews.
  • Fixing issues: Evaluations are also good ways to identify and solve problems in the workplace. Performance reviews are an opportunity for employees to share problems. You, the manager, should take employee input and use it to create a better workplace culture.

Worst case scenario outcomes

  • Giving negative feedback: If a team member is performing poorly, you may have to provide a negative feedback to the employee. Start by praising them for things they’ve done well; this tactic helps soften the blow. Then let them know where they need to improve. Again, these difficult conversations shouldn't come as a surprise. You should be communicating concerns during one-on-one meetings.
  • Probation: If an employee is constantly underperforming, you could decide to put them under probation. If they don’t improve during this time, you could decide to terminate the employee.
  • Termination: You may have to fire someone after several poor evaluation forms. Be transparent about why you’re doing it and point to evidence of poor performance.
  • Quitting: If an employee is constantly underperforming, they may no longer be interested in working with you. Look for signs that they’re going to quit, like tardiness, so that it doesn’t come as a surprise.

Whether they’re used to deliver good news or bad news, evaluations should lead to some kind of action.

How to communicate with restaurant employees after a performance evaluation

Employee evaluation forms should not be filled out once a year and then ignored. You should reference them during one-on-one meetings to ensure that employees are working towards their goals.

Provide feedback when you have concerns outside of review season. These types of conversations shouldn't be reserved just for formal performance evaluations.

Note that sharing positive feedback is just as important as sharing concerns. Hard-working staff may feel unappreciated and leave if they don’t hear good feedback from time to time. Consider implementing an employee engagement program, like an employee of the month initiative, to keep your most engaged staff performing at a high level.

Don’t forget to share positive reviews that customers write — either about the team as a whole or individual team members — during all-staff meetings or via your team communication tool.

How to put together a restaurant employee evaluation form

If your restaurant doesn't already have an evaluation form, you can create one easily. Here are the key components to include in your restaurant employee evaluation form:

Employee information

Include basic employee information like:

  • Name
  • Date of hire
  • Supervisor’s name
  • The date of the performance review

Evaluation categories

Include all of these evaluation categories, or choose just the ones that are important to your restaurant:

  • Work ethic
  • Overall skills
  • Customer service
  • Teamwork

Include definitions for each category to ensure that management and staff are on the same page.

Grading system

Create a grading system to use for your evaluation categories. Consider using letter grades (A-F), percentages, or a number scale (1-5).

For example, if you choose to use a number scale of one through five, one could stand for “significantly below expectations,” three could mean “meets expectations,” and five could signify “outstanding.”

Checking on previous goals or feedback

Include a section in which to display scores from past evaluations, or simply attach a copy of an old review to the current evaluation form.

It’s important to compare past performance to present performance to see if the employee’s skills have improved, plateaued, or worsened.

Evidence

Whether you have good news or bad news for your staff member during a review, it’s good to back it up with proof. Include documentation like attendance, timesheets, and POS reports. Show employees feedback from customers in the form of Yelp reviews or comment cards, whether they were praised or need to improve.

Signature

Both the manager and employee should sign off on the employee evaluation form to show that they reviewed it together.

Don’t have time to make one? Download 7shifts’ Employee Evaluation FormIf you don’t want to start from scratch, you can use or customize the 7shifts employee evaluation form. Download our template to save time. Fill in your restaurant’s name and customize the form with your restaurant’s branding. Then, print paper copies, or store employee evaluation forms in the cloud.

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Vahag Aydinyan
Vahag Aydinyan

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