One of the biggest reasons that the restaurant industry has such a high turnover rate is because of poor training programs. Employees that aren’t properly trained for their responsibilities in the restaurant are going to be stressed out. When this happens, the quality of the service goes down, the reputation of the restaurant goes down, and
your team members are going to quit.
So what can you do as a restaurant manager?
It starts with having the right training program. There are many different aspects that go into it, but here are the 7 traits of a successful restaurant staff training program:
1. Well-defined processes in place.
Telling your employees what tasks to complete has to go beyond, “Hey, go rinse out the ice cream machine.” You need to have a checklist that breaks it down: “First, you take out this piece and scrub it, then you take out this piece, then rinse the filter, then refill dispenser, etc.” You really need to have defined processes in place so people know exactly what they're doing.
2. Good management in place.
Once you define your processes, you need to have good managers in place who are going to make sure the processes are followed. They should inspire your team members, practice the rules every day and back it up with their actions. A good manager is a champion of your training program so that people are excited to get on board.
3. Quantifiable Goals
Once you have the right people onboard, you need to set quantifiable goals. Employees want to know where they're at and you need to know how they’re progressing. By setting quantifiable goals, your employees will know exactly what they’re being measured on, which is important when it’s time to review their performance.
4. Progress Reports
Speaking of performance reviews, having regular progress meetings with your team members is critically important. Quite often, you’ll see that someone has low confidence in certain aspects of their job or you know they’re not quite where they need to be. That’s a great opportunity for further training. Recognize those moments!
5. Learning Opportunities
Research has shown that people learn and absorb information in many different ways. This could be a written manual, this could be video content, this could be you verbally telling them what to do and showing them how to do things. Give your employees different options because everyone's going to be learning in a different way. And of course, this is all going to lead to shadowing a veteran in the restaurant.
6. Gradual Responsibility
Don't overwhelm your employees, especially new hires. Give out the training materials as is needed. Don't give them everything they need all at once. Here’s an example of a common mistake: a cashier will be given all of these materials right away when in fact they're not going to be looking at some of those until their fifth day. So don't give it to them until their fifth day. Let them see what they need to do today on day one. Practice it, hone it in and don't overwhelm them.
7. Ask for Feedback
Training is a two-way street. Ask your staff for feedback and invite them to take ownership of the training process. While it’s important to have established practices and processes in place, a new perspective can bring some fresh ideas and changes. This is especially true once an employee completes the training process and has seen the program from end-to-end.
So to summarize, you want to have defined processes, strong management, set quantifiable goals, set follow ups after the fact, provide different learning options, don't overwhelm your employees, and ask your staff for feedback.