How to Design and Implement a Restaurant Training Program that Works

Posted on: December 12, 2018 by RMS Hospitality

For restaurants and cafes that want to run smoothly, having the right training program in place for new and seasoned employees is imperative. From understanding the need of the customers to knowing what to do during downtime or rough times, employees should be informed by great leadership to be proactive and constantly learning. But if you’re a restaurant owner, where do you start? It’s important to look at a number of different factors to be able to create an effective training outline.

Where to Start

Some restaurant owners may not know where to begin when implementing new or updated training plans. All training plans are works in progress and need to be adjusted depending on the work environments, size of staff and restaurant, and customer base. As restaurant owners develop a plan, keeping the goal of training employees in specific skill sets in certain time frames should be priority number one.

Too often there is employee development that is put off because it can be time consuming in the beginning, but it’s a necessary effort that will help boost efficiency and limit liability issues that can befall any restaurant.

Set Clear Goals

This may seem like a basic step, but having a clear goal in mind when writing a training plan is often overlooked. Writing down upfront tasks will help kitchens avoid common pitfalls of getting stuck in the same motion of processes, such as not tending to customers in a timely manner or even cutting corners in food preparation.

For example, after nearly 600 people reported feeling ill following trips to Chipotle throughout Ohio, the popular fast-casual burrito chain was hit with multiple foodborne illness lawsuit claims. Some of this had to do with the food itself and some of it had to do with how it was prepared. Keeping restaurant insurance in place will protect a restaurant financially here, but it could arguably be avoided if training plans were updated and communicated more effectively.

When designing a plan, restaurant owners should break down each role into a set of task and design their training around instructing the employee in each of the needed tasks. Having goals written down as well as expected outcomes will keep communication open and expected outcomes transparent.

Food servers may have a list of goals that includes completing orientation, staying on top of restaurant policies and procedures, greeting guests, cleaning workstations, informing guests of specials, and entering orders through a POS system, among others.

Who Needs Training?

Restaurant owners and managers should move on to identifying what areas the employee actually needs training in. Some positions require staff that has some form of experience, and some roles require none at all. If someone is very learned in food service training methods, it still pays to go over expectations with them to make sure they know how to handle and react to certain issues.

Shift managers and supervisors can take time to work with new employees, shadowing them to make sure they are going over all tasks in the correct way, and offering advice on how to adjust afterward. There are also periodic performance reviews that can be used to determine areas where employees can improve their performance and know-how.

For employees who show great promise, offer up opportunities where they can lead or take on new responsibilities that possibly lead to higher roles. Either way, cross-training is always a good way to keep things fresh and offer learning moments for staff.

Solving Problems on the Job

As mentioned, it’s possible that some employees will get into a system and consider their work very repetitive. While running a smooth ship is great, it doesn’t mean there aren’t moments where employees need a little inspiration. Employees can become bored with their job and with training, especially if that training consists of handing them a manual and making them watch training video. Now, training is best done on the job itself as staff can learn along the way.

Restaurants must create a workplace that is fast-moving, exciting, engaging and educational. This begins at training and onboarding for new employees. Restaurants can find ways to make this early tenure of an employee an effective one that promotes learning through hands-on activities and great support from fellow employees. This will help staff to be agile and adaptive, which in turn will help to eschew boredom and downtime and keep things moving and fresh.

About RMS Hospitality Group

At RMS Hospitality Group, our expertly crafted policies are written specifically for the hospitality industry. We offer custom tailored solutions to meet any venue’s specific needs. For  more information, contact our knowledgeable experts today at (888) 359-8390.

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