Jul 14, 2022
Creating a Restaurant Training Program that works in the ‘Real-World’

If you are a restaurant owner, you may already have a restaurant staff training plan in place. Almost all your employees have a copy of the restaurant training guide but despite all of this many small mistakes are happening. These mistakes may have already cost you some really valuable customers. Maybe your employees never went through the restaurant training guide you gave them. So the question here really is how to create a restaurant training program that is effective and won’t be locked away to dust.

In an ideal world, things will always work as you have planned them on paper. However, in the real world things always don’t work as planned. Even the most detailed restaurant training program or any training program for that matter is a work-in-progress. It will have to be tweaked and modified to meet the changing needs of your restaurant business. 

What to expect?

The objective of this guide is to help you create an effective restaurant training program for your employees.

  • It will enable you to evaluate and organize tasks such that the effectiveness of your restaurant training program is maximized. 
  • It will help you identify areas in your existing training plan that can be modified to make it more effective or even create one from scratch.

Steps to create a restaurant training program that makes an impact in the real world

  • Identify the purpose, do not lose focus

Ask yourself, what is the purpose of designing this training program? In most cases training programs are designed to put people on a schedule and not the other way round. It helps you analyse if your employees are capable of handling stress, and whether or not they are a good fit for your work culture. Designing a restaurant training program with this thought in mind becomes relatively easy. It helps you identify employees that are the right fit, and you do not tend to lose focus on the end goal.

  • Baby steps for the win

Don’t aim for a 100 page restaurant training guide from the get-go. When starting out, have a basic training plan or employee handbook that essentially gives an overview of the restaurant, its vision, and service standards. As you get deeper into the day-to-day nuances of running a restaurant, you will identify areas that require training and also the kind of training you should implement. Aiming for a detailed manual for every position from the get-go can be a roadblock in your restaurant seeing the light of day, so start small.

  • Inclusive training program

You will always have a mix of experienced and freshers in your team. The experienced team-members will have preconceived notions and ways of doing things. A fresher may not know the nuances and technicalities of the job, but they may sure have a great attitude or leadership spirit. When creating a training plan, be open to include certain good practices your staff may bring to the table based on their past experiences. Design it in a way to include different personality types (visual learners, auditory learners, and kinesthetic learners) in the mix. Design a training plan keeping all these learners in mind. This helps your employees feel valued and heard, and they tend to easily adapt to your working style.

  • Varied learning methodologies

Make sure to include both active and passive learning styles when creating a training plan. Reading manuals, watching training videos, and classroom lectures are all passive forms of training. On-the-job practical work, shadow training, group discussions, and team-building exercises are all active styles. Try to have the right mix of both active and passive elements to make a restaurant training program truly engaging and effective.

  • Have certified trainers on-board

Getting your employees trained by someone not qualified to train can be more damaging than no training at all. Get certified trainers on-board to set the tone right. For a new hire, trainers are the brand ambassadors of their new workplace. They look up to them as a beacon of excellence. The trainers set the right example for new hires. They also set the standard on how employees need to show up at work. A good trainer must welcome and greet them well, be focused on excellence, be appropriately dressed, and be well prepared with all the necessary paperwork. Most importantly, they must have the willingness to train and identify the positives in every trainee.

  • Make learning enjoyable

Handing over a restaurant training manual on the first day and doing shadow training does not qualify as an engaging training program. Going through pages after pages of instructions, and observing your buddy day-in and day-out go about his routine tasks can be both boring and intimidating. Being too strict can cost you the loss of good employees. Training programs need to be interactive and fun. They should help form bonds between the team members, facilitate an open and safe work culture, and instill a sense of pride, joy and belongingness towards their job. 

  • Writing a training manual

Having a training manual alone is not enough, but it is an important part of your restaurant training program. The purpose of having a training manual is to give your restaurant staff a ready reckoner to refer to as and when required, learn and revise what they learned during the entire day. When creating a restaurant training manual make sure to include:

  • An overview of duration of the training
  • Modules to be included in the training plan 
  • A step-by-step walkthrough of the training course

To know more about what all to include in your restaurant training manual, read here. 

An effective training program is an investment

A training program is not an expense, it is rather an investment. An untrained staff will lead to poor service, poor customer experience, and a bad reputation which will eventually lead to loss of business and in some cases closure of business too.

You might have often heard the saying, “you sow what you reap.” This particularly holds true for a restaurant business. A good training program ensures well-trained employees, a low attrition rate, and a healthy work environment. All the other outcomes like stellar service, memorable customer experiences, and a good name in the market, follow naturally when the foundation is set right in the form of a training program.

Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read our thoughts. Do let us know your ideas on what makes an effective restaurant training program.

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