How to train restaurant staff properly

Trained staff is a restaurant’s biggest asset. At the end of the day, a restaurant business is a team effort so each member has to pull their weight. If one member of staff is not performing as they should, the team and customers can be affected by it. As a restaurant owner, you need to understand that your staff members are the face of your business. Your servers, bar staff, and front of house hosts directly interact with your customers, which can make or break their experience in your restaurant.

Obviously, restaurant managers cannot expect restaurant staff to do everything perfectly right off the bat, which is why regular training is so important. It’s important to keep in mind that restaurant staff are often younger individuals who are studying, so they do not always have the relevant experience. It’s essential to provide basic training for restaurant staff to make sure that the service goes as planned and that customers are satisfied.

What is staff training?

Staff training is a process that teaches employees how to do their jobs properly. It usually involves short courses that explain how to perform specific tasks or responsibilities within a role. 

For example, during training programs, restaurant servers, learn how to take orders, how to use the POS system, how to process payments, etc. The length of the training process varies depending on each establishment. 

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What are the benefits of training staff in the restaurant industry?

Businesses in the restaurant industry often fail to provide training for staff members as they do not think it will benefit their business. However, this generally results in unmotivated staff members that provide poor service. 

Higher staff retention 

Staff are happy at work can drastically improve the success of a restaurant business. Training keeps employees engaged and opens up opportunities for advancement, which ultimately helps businesses achieve higher employee retention rates. In the restaurant industry, a turnover rate that is under 50 % means that most of your staff is happy to be working for your establishment.

Training shows employees that you care about them and their professional development. Trained employees keep customers happy and a higher level of staff retention means that you can cut down on hiring costs. Do you know how expensive high turnover rates are? 

Losing an employee can cost a restaurant owner 1.5 to 2 times the employee’s salary. Depending on the position of the employee, this cost can fluctuate but it generally involves thousands of dollars.

Improved customer service 

This is the most obvious benefit of restaurant staff training. If staff members know how to do their job properly and efficiently, it will make the dining experience for customers far more seamless and enjoyable. Trained employees can upsell and give recommendations to customers when it comes to the menu or wine pairing. 

Within the training process, customer service is a key training topic for food service employees. Your team will therefore learn how to properly interact with customers, learning how to greet them, how to create more customized experiences, etc. A more positive customer experience helps optimize customer retention, which has the capability to improve profits anywhere up to 95% (source).

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Respect health and safety standards 

It is extremely important that your employees are fully aware and compliant with all health and safety measures. There are specific standards within the restaurant industry that restaurant operators need to respect. Businesses are subject to regular health and safety checks and if your business fails to meet these standards, you could be in big trouble. It is therefore essential that you train your employees on food safety and food hygiene. 

Better inventory management 

The importance of staff training in restaurants cannot be overlooked as it has the potential to improve all areas of your business. Training staff in the front of business is important but it’s also key to know how to manage your operations effectively in the restaurant industry if you want to stay afloat in today’s competitive environment. 

Restaurant owners have to invest in technology and train their staff to use POS systems and inventory management apps if they want to cut down on costs and optimize their operations. After all, restaurant inventory management software is the perfect tool to drive your efficiency. With RapidBar, you can: 

  • Save up to 80% on time spent on restaurant inventories
  • Reduce food waste
  • Go paperless and eliminate transcription errors when managing your restaurant inventory
  • Find opportunities with detailed variance reports
  • Spend less time on restaurant supply management so you can focus on creating an outstanding experience for your customers

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How to train restaurant staff the right way 

Make a plan 

It is a good idea to devise a plan for staff training before you get started. This way you will have a framework of everything you want to include (food safety, customer service, inventory management, etc.). Creating a checklist of everything that each staff member needs to learn will make your life easier and make sure you don’t forget essential points. 

Orientation 

It is a good idea to have some kind a small period of orientation to introduce everyone to your business. Every business is run differently so it’s important to lay out what your mission, value proposition and company culture is like. This will make new employees more comfortable and also give you the opportunity to highlight the ethos of your business and emphasis your core values. It is a good idea to do this as early as possible, as it will help you identify if new employees are a good fit for your company. 

Shadowing 

Having a shadowing system in place is an excellent idea for different reasons. It’s basically a way of learning your job in practice. By watching how an existing employee performs the tasks required by his/her role, new employees can see what they learned in training in practice. Moreover, it helps to create bonds and friendships amongst employees. It can often be intimidating and daunting for new employees to join a restaurant team, so pairing them up with someone will make them feel more comfortable. 

Technology training 

In today’s modern day and age, the restaurant industry is becoming more and more technological as restaurant software makes life far easier for restaurant owners, restaurant employees and even customers. The need for technology has been highlighted by the pandemic, which has allowed many businesses to stay afloat by offering online ordering and delivery services. 

Restaurants that want to scale their operations and increase profits have to invest in an inventory management system. It’s important for managers to know how to use this app to their advantage in order to track menu items, reduce food costs, optimize stock levels, place supplier orders, minimize food waste, etc. 

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Update training  

Although the initial training stage is important, you should periodically update your employee training program. After all, restaurant operations adapt to customer behavior and technological trends, which often change. The way you do things now will most likely not be the way you do things in the future. Legistlations in the food industry are also subject to change so it’s important to stay on top of things. 

Team building 

Integrating team building activities into your training program will strengthen your company culture and help employees develop healthy relationships with each other. A happy working environment can be felt by customers, as can an unhealthy one so it’s in your best advantage to make sure your employees get along and provide great service. 

Cross-training

Although you should focus on the role that each employee has been hired for, it can also help to provide cross-training. Not only will this help employees better understand the mechanisms of the restaurant and how it is run, but it might also just come in handy in the future. For example, if a server can’t make it to work one day, you can rely on someone in a different position to cover for him so that it doesn’t impact service.

Employee evaluation 

By carrying out regular employee evaluations, you will be able to see if your training program has been successful based on how well employees are performing in different aspects of their job. Also, if you identify areas where multiple employees are underperforming, you can adjust your training program.

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