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The importance of regular training

3 min read

Restaurant and Foodservice

SmartPulse — our weekly reader poll in SmartBrief on Restaurants — tracks feedback from restaurant owners and managers about current trends and issues.

Last week’s poll question: What kind of training do you offer employees?

  • Nothing beyond the initial training to familiarize them with the restaurant and its operations — 31.17%
  • We hold regular meetings where we update and train staff — 55.84%
  • We periodically host offsite training to keep staff up to speed and engaged in the company — 7.49%
  • We employ other methods of training — 5.19%

The inspiration for last week’s poll question came from an article from The Courier-Journal, which we summarized in Restaurant SmartBrief. The article describes how some upscale Kentucky restaurants make sure their servers are up to snuff. Some restaurants require servers to attend a pre-shift meeting, which can be as basic as going over ingredients in the daily specials or as intense as a written quiz. As consumers become more educated about their food and where it comes from, it’s important for restaurant owners and managers to train their staffs to make sure they are adequately educated about the origins of a menu item and, more importantly, the ingredients. If a server doesn’t know what ingredients are in a dish, how can they give diners with food allergies and intolerances the information they need?

Training isn’t limited just to food, though. Training in service is equally important, whether you work for a quickservice restaurant, a coffee shop or a fine-dining establishment. Here are some tips for training your restaurant staff:

  • Be clear about your expectations. Either in an orientation or initial meetings with a new employee, you must explain what your restaurant’s standards for customer service are.
  • Give your staff the resources they need. Whether this is an offsite training session, an employee handbook or manual, or materials for memorization such as menu ingredients or wines, you must give your staff the tools they need to succeed. QSR Magazine showcases how restaurants such as Wingstop and NexCen ensure their employees have adequate training opportunities.
  • Offer feedback. Give constructive criticism or praise when appropriate.
  • Establish an incentive program. Do you offer monetary rewards for exemplary service? Gift cards, plum shifts, time off? Whatever you choose, make sure your staff knows so they have something to work toward. This Pizza Marketplace article describes how managerial incentives have shifted from luxury gifts to extra cash.
  • Continually offer training opportunities. Employees will be more engaged if they feel they continue to grow or learn in their position. Fast Casual highlights how companies such as White Castle and Del Taco keep employees engaged with evolving opportunities.

Do you offer incentives for your employees?

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