I have seen different types of training techniques for restaurant staff. Some restaurants send new hires to their corporate training school; others hire experienced staff thinking they already know how to work that position. I think all new staff members should receive quality training regardless of previous experience.
Each role in a restaurant is important for the restaurant’s success!
Management must be able to work in every position. Their knowledge of each job is vital. Managers must step into those other roles to maintain customer service. Some reasons could be if there is a call-out, or if the sales are higher than projected.
If people tell you that managing a restaurant is easy, they are dead wrong. In-fact it is the most difficult position in the restaurant. Running a restaurant is challenging; management needs to be able to multitask, give direction, and follow-up on that direction. Managers must be able to retain large amounts of information and make quick decisions and be ready to step into any position.
Managers are not born to run a restaurant; they are developed into that position. The same goes for the rest of the staff. Train the management staff, then the trainers. Management will oversee the trainers as they train the rest of the staff.
The most effective restaurant training techniques are:
- Show-Do-Review: The trainer shows the staff member how to do the task. Then the trainer observes the trainee actually doing the task. After completion, they review the task together and the trainer gives feedback to the new hire. The Show-Do-Review technique is especially effective in learning recipes, kitchen duties, cleaning tasks, or service tasks.
- The Memory Game: Once the new hire has some understanding of their new job, the trainer shadows the staff member and helps the new hire remember different key components of the job. Periodically the trainer will ask the trainee a question. If the trainee does not answer the question correctly, then the trainer will provide the answer. The trainer will continually repeat the question all throughout the day or night until the trainee answers it correctly. The purpose of the exercise is getting the staff member to retain the information. The Memory Game can be used to remember important food time and temperature, menu and recipe knowledge, service steps, or even manager responsibilities.
- Role-Playing: Role-playing is one of the most effective training techniques to use in creating top-notch performers. Existing staff members and new hires experience real life situations and “learn by doing”. The trainees will experience “real life” situations in a simulated and controlled environment. This technique allows the trainer to evaluate the trainee’s strengths and areas to improve. This also helps to develop an action plan so that the trainee can overcome any obstacles to their success. “Practice make perfect.” This technique allows the employees to see different perspectives, build confidence, and form good habits. The trainer will observe the role-playing and my correct the staff members periodically to ensure they on the right path. Role-playing is a great technique for service staff and managers to learn the proper way to handle customer questions or complaints, how to approach a table, and the steps of service.
- Shadowing: The trainee shadows the trainer, and the trainer shows the trainee the correct procedures in completing the assigned task. The trainer should ask open-ended questions in reference to the task. Once the trainee is more comfortable, then the trainer will shadow the employee. Communication between the staff members is crucial in developing the trainees. Shadowing could be used for nearly any role, especially on the first days and last days of training.
Once the trainer evaluates the staff member and determines that the employee has mastered that position, then that person is ready to work independently.
Management should observe or be involved in the training process to ensure that employee is receiving quality training. The general manager/owner oversees the managers. The general manager/owner may have the final say in whether a new employee is ready to work solo.
Utilize any tool available to help achieve the training goals. During the training process using feedback or assessment forms can help track the quality of the training. Documenting the progress of the training and reviewing it with the employee will help the employee to know your expectations. It also gives you a paper trail of that particular employees training.
Using a variety of training techniques for your restaurant is useful in getting all your staff on the same page. It also is more interesting than sitting down with someone and reading a scripted presentation. It will help you retain staff, because too many people are thrown into their jobs without the proper training and get frustrated and quit. Having a training program that is easy and effective is important in your restaurant’s success.