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Creating an Effective Employee Training Program: 10 Key Factors for Restaurants

By Alicia Beharry
Published on January 25, 2024

Many restaurant managers have a preference for hiring employees who have prior experience. They believe that these individuals will require less employee training. However, it is important to note that each restaurant operates in a unique manner, and no two establishments are the same. For a seamless transition into the new workplace, it is crucial to provide proper training to all restaurant employees. Here are 11 key factors to consider:

1. Don’t Overlook the Importance of Orientation and Employee Onboarding

It is essential not to overlook the significance of providing a comprehensive orientation and employee onboarding session to newly hired employees. During this training, make sure to provide clear instructions on various aspects of the restaurant, including its menu, clientele, any unique staff traditions, and expected conduct. Cover all necessary information, such as relevant restaurant details (cuisine type, popular dishes, peak hours, head chef information) and operational guidelines (staff roles and responsibilities, team dynamics, menu selection process, etc.).

2. Familiarize Them With Your Restaurant’s Learning Management System (LMS)

An effective approach to training restaurant employees is to introduce them to your restaurant’s learning management system (LMS) through the use of instructional videos. These videos, created by you or obtained from other sources, can be highly beneficial in providing visual examples of your expectations. An LMS is an ideal platform for delivering these training modules as it offers convenience, cost-effectiveness, and ease of use. With the help of SkyPrep LMS, you can also evaluate your employees’ understanding through testing and monitor their progress and quiz results.

3. Enhance Interpersonal Skills through Training

The importance of interpersonal skills in the workplace cannot be emphasized enough, especially in service industries like restaurants. Building strong relationships with co-workers and customers is vital for a smooth and harmonious work environment. The restaurant industry, retail industry, and human resources industries benefit greatly from employees honing their soft skills. Investing in training programs that focus on interpersonal skills, such as business etiquette, ethics, adaptability, and time management, will provide immense value to your employees. Whether you choose to conduct this training in-house or utilize your  learning management system (LMS) for a comprehensive online course, do not underestimate the power of enhancing interpersonal skills in your workforce.

4. Implement Regular Performance Assessments and Daily Team Briefings

Effective communication is crucial in the restaurant industry, with collaborative efforts from all staff members, including chefs, servers, bussers, and hostesses, contributing to the success of the establishment. To ensure seamless coordination, it is essential to establish a culture of open and transparent communication. Regular performance evaluations conducted by managers, along with daily pre-shift meetings, can greatly facilitate this process.

5. Ensure Responsible Alcohol Service through Employee Training

To maintain a safe and compliant establishment, it is essential for restaurants and bars holding liquor licenses to provide their bartenders with alcohol-safety certification. Prioritize the well-being of your business by implementing training programs that educate employees on responsible alcohol service, the identification of fake IDs, and meeting public safety expectations.

6. Make Equal Treatment for All guests a Non-negotiable

Ensuring that every guest receives the same level of respect is crucial for maintaining a positive reputation for your restaurant. Train your staff to provide consistent service regardless of a customer’s appearance, race, or ethnicity. By emphasizing fair treatment, your restaurant will not only benefit from improved customer satisfaction but also enable servers to earn better tips.

7. Establish and Communicate Safety Protocols

Ensuring the safety of employees should be a top priority in any service training program. It is crucial to provide clear instructions and guidelines on how to handle various situations to minimize accidents or potential hazards. Whether it’s explaining where to store equipment after use or outlining the proper protocols to follow during emergencies in the kitchen or bar, make sure to communicate this information at the start of the employee training program, either through verbal instructions or as part of a Compliance Training course on your Learning Management System (LMS).

8. Strike a Balance Between Guidance and Autonomy

When it comes to training new hires, it’s important to find the right balance between providing guidance and allowing for independent work. While it may be tempting to micromanage in the initial days, this approach can overwhelm your new hire and hinder their learning process. Instead, consider creating a flexible training plan that starts with basic tasks and gradually introduces more complex assignments as the week progresses. By providing structure without overly controlling their tasks, you can empower your new hires to learn, grow, and contribute effectively to the team.

9. Provide Comprehensive Training on Server Etiquette for Your Staff

The importance of proper server etiquette cannot be overstated when it comes to delivering exceptional customer service. To ensure that your staff represents your restaurant in the best possible manner, it is crucial to provide them with comprehensive training in server etiquette. However, it is essential to keep in mind that different types of restaurants may have varying expectations when it comes to etiquette. For instance, a casual modern restaurant may prioritize creating a friendly and welcoming atmosphere, while a fine-dining establishment may require a more formal approach. Therefore, tailoring the training to align with your restaurant’s theme and values is essential to ensure that your waitstaff provides the appropriate behaviour and respect to your valuable customers.

10. Enhance Staff Training with Restaurant Games

Incorporating gamification into the restaurant industry may not have been on your radar, but it has become a top eLearning trend in recent years. Restaurant training games offer a unique and engaging way to educate new hires while simultaneously polishing the service skills of your more experienced staff members. By gamifying their training exercises, you create an enjoyable and professional learning environment that keeps participants interested, attentive, and better able to retain the knowledge they acquire.

Training your restaurant staff is crucial for the success of your establishment. Proper orientation training, familiarization with your learning management system, and enhancing interpersonal skills are all important aspects to consider. Additionally, responsible alcohol service, equal treatment for all guests, and establishing safety protocols are essential for maintaining a safe and compliant environment. Balancing guidance and autonomy, providing comprehensive server etiquette training, and incorporating games into training can further enhance the learning experience. By prioritizing employee training, you can ensure your staff is well-prepared to provide exceptional service and contribute to the success of your restaurant.

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