Developing a comprehensive file management system for your restaurant helps you manage employees and business. Dual filing systems are effective, particularly if files are stored online. Files may be stored in an easy-to-find location, like an office file cabinet, and sensitive personnel and financial files can be safeguarded. A physical hard copy filing system should be selected based on the volume of information filed, while an online filing system has more options.
Select a Filing System
Files stored online may be divided into confidential and open categories. Password protect sensitive information such as financials or employee files. Files that need to be accessed on a regular basis by employees may be stored in a shared folder under specific headings such as vendors, suppliers and maintenance. Files stored in a cabinet can be alphabetized by subject, or for large-volume files, by subject with a sub-division per category. For example, a vendor file may have individual alphabetized files that identifying vendor names or their companies.
Developing a filing system that allows for easy access to financial reports is essential for everyday operations as well as monthly, quarterly and annual accounting reports and year-end and tax preparation. Financial information should be stored in a secure location such as a lock-box or in a password-protected computer file. Documents include accounts payable and receivable, payroll, loans and credit lines, internal and external audits and tax records and daily receipts. Categorize files in timelines so the ones you reference regularly, such as daily sales records, are within easy reach, and those you review periodically, such as quarterly reports, are in the back of the cabinet.
Organize blank and completed employment applications, orientation and training materials, work schedules and written accounts of employee reports, complaints or reprimands. The latter is helpful if an employee files a grievance in regard to termination, discrimination or harassment. If an employee files contain health records and Social Security numbers, categorize the files in numerical order and store the number key in a different location.
Divide vendor files into food, beverage, beer, liquor and restaurant supply categories. Include individual files for current vendors and prospective vendors. Files should include copies of contracts, order forms, receipts, pricing structures, delivery schedules, contact names and phone numbers. You may store vendor files close to a delivery door or in the manager's office for easy reference.
Insurance files should include copies of policies and the name and contact information of the insurance agent representing each policy. Include a renewal chart to indicate when policies need to be reviewed. Store a copy of insurance files off-site in case of an emergency.
Building and Maintenance
Whether the restaurant facility is owned or rented, maintain a file for maintenance and repair records. Include a list of cleaning, trash removal, recycling, general maintenance, plumbing and electrical repair service providers. Store the information for maintenance of video games, juke boxes or vending machines. Much like vendor files, maintenance and emergency contact numbers should be located in a place where any employee can quickly access them, such as a hostess stand, cashier desk, behind the bar or in the kitchen.
Health and Safety
Maintain a file devoted to health and safety documentation. This includes a copy of the restaurant’s health department reports and citations, written rules about employee health measures such as hand washing, use of gloves and hairnets and detailed equipment sanitization instructions. Also include documentation of procedures related to food handling, preparation and storage. Make copies of pertinent rules and regulations and post them in appropriate places where employees are sure to see them.
Injury and Incident
Create a file to include reports of employee and customer-related injuries. Document witnesses to each event and provide as many supporting details as possible, including the cause of the injury, the action taken following the injury and the outcome. Include copies of police reports if authorities are called to the restaurant for any reason.
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.