HR in the Restaurant industry

While HR tasks have many overlaps from industry to industry, there are also needs and concerns specific to each industry. We’d like to...

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While HR tasks have many overlaps from industry to industry, there are also needs and concerns specific to each industry. We’d like to address the HR needs relevant to the restaurant industry which tends to have high turnover, and more EPLI (employment practices liability) claims as well as workers compensation safety concerns due to its fast-paced environment.

HR needs in the restaurant industry

HR experts are extremely important for restaurants and their employees. Some of their responsibilities include:

  • Recruiting, onboarding and termination
  • Performance management
  • Training
  • Payroll and benefits
  • Time tracking
  • Compliance with employment, alcohol and food-handling regulations
  • Knowledge of and experience in industry practices
  • Processing EPLI and Workers’ Compensation claims


HR is in charge of the recruitment and selection process. This means writing job descriptions, advertising for open positions, sorting applications, interviewing and processing new-hire paperwork.


HR creates orientation and on-boarding programs for new employees. This includes explaining workplace policies and service standards.


HR staff may train managers on how to handle HR situations that can be resolved without the help of the HR team. They may also train managers and employees on how to avoid harassment and other personnel issues.

Performance management:

HR is in charge of tracking and monitoring employee performance.

Benefits and payroll:

HR staff must decide on wages and benefits for different levels of employees. They also handle payroll processing and benefits administration.

Time tracking:

Restaurants have a lot of hourly employees which means the need to choose and manage a time tracking system.


When an employee is terminated, it is a good idea for an HR representative to be at the exit interview so they can explain the reason for the termination. Typically, this means explaining why the employee’s actions are in violation of company policies.

Compliance with Hawaii labor laws and the FLSA:

HR must ensure that the restaurant stays in compliance with Hawaii labor laws and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Compliance with these laws is extremely important to preventing an EPL claim.

Alcohol/food-handling certifications in Hawaii:

HR is in charge of keeping track of local, state and Federal regulations plus organizing training and verifying alcohol and food-related certification. In Hawaii, there is no state jurisdiction for alcohol serving requirements. Each county/city has its own regulations that may or may not require a server or bartender to be licensed in order to sell alcohol. Anyone serving food in Hawaii, however, does need training for proper food handling. The State of Hawaii provides a food safety education program at no charge. Restaurants are legally required to have at least one employee on-site during normal operating hours that has a formal food handlers training level certification.

Partnering with Makai HR

At Makai HR, we like to see ourselves as a true HR partner. Our three tiers of PEO service plans are tailored to the size of your business and specific needs.


We help prevent liability issues by tracking compliance, eligibility, hours, wages, leave, unemployment claims and more. We offer an e-Risk EPL helpline to provide guidance on tricky employer decisions and policies.



We carry $1M in Employment Practices Liability (EPL) coverage for all clients, which acts as a second layer of protection against wrongful termination or harassment claims.

Workers’ Compensation

Makai HR offers a hassle-free, comprehensive workers’ compensation solution starting with securing coverage at competitive rates all the way through claims management.


We have a team of expert labor law attorneys to review claims and provide guidance, and pre-negotiated fees for local external labor attorneys when needed.

Time tracking:

Our plans include time-in/time-out systems.


Our plans include payroll processing and convenient pay options.

What are you waiting for? Companies who partner with a PEO benefit from 7-9% faster growth, 10-14% lower employee turnover; and they are 50% less likely to go out of business. Contact us today to get started!

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