A restaurant’s employees are integral to its success. Even more important, though, is how management trains its employees. This is because as employees are the face of your business, they’re interaction with customers can make or break your restaurant. Properly trained employees will create an experience for the customer that entices them to come back. Poorly trained employees will create an experience that repels customers from patronizing your restaurant. As a result of this, training, teaching, reinforcing best practices, and spending time observing your employees are critical in the success of a restaurant.
1. Teaching Your Employees
Hold an orientation. Perhaps the first step you’ll need to take in training restaurant staff is to hold an orientation. In an orientation, you or your trainers will present basic information about your business, your practices, and everything relevant to your staff’s basic performance of their job. More specifically the orientation will include:
- Human resource related information, payroll information, and any formalities staff will have to complete before they actually begin working.
- Your restaurant’s history and philosophy. This should include your philosophy on customer service.
- A brief tour of your restaurant’s facility.
- An introduction to your management and other key staff such as trainers.
- An overview of the menu (and other services offered) and perhaps a tasting.
- An outline of the training process.
2. Instruct and educate your staff.
After orientation, restaurant staff should begin the training process. In the training process, you or your trainers will instruct and educate new staff about important elements of their day-to-day work. Ultimately, instruction and education is the foundation of your employee’s training and will provide them with the tools they need to go forward and succeed. This is your opportunity to focus on the particularities of different roles in your restaurant, including:
- Food prep work.
- Chef and cook work.
- Dishwashing and busing.
- Hosting and greeting.
3. Make your staff observe and assist experienced employees.
One of the best ways to teach your staff is to have them observe and assist the most experienced staff in your restaurant. This way, not only will your experienced staff be able to train and teach your new staff, but the new staff will be able to see common practices and less-used practices that your trainers might not typically teach them.
- Pair your new staff with seasoned staff and have the new staff follow, observe, and assist the seasoned staff for a period of time.
- The observe and assist period can last anywhere from a few days to a week or more.
- Instruct your seasoned staff to go about their work as they typically do.
- Instruct your new staff and the seasoned staff to engage in dialogue throughout the shift and at the end of the shift. New staff should ask as many questions as possible and seasoned staff should answer without hesitation.
- If time permits, have them shadow employees in other important positions to give them a better understanding of how the whole restaurant team works.
4. Communicate with your staff.
No one will be better able to understand what’s most important for a new restaurant employee to know than your veteran staff members. Take advantage of their experience and talk to them about different and innovative ways of training new hires. Ideas can include:
- Problems staff sees with current training programs.
- Suggestions staff have for new training approaches.
- Any other suggestions the staff has to improve organizational effectiveness.
Remember, boss manages their employees, while a leader inspires them to innovate, think creatively, and strive for perfection. Every team has a boss, but what people need is a leader who will help them achieve greatness.