How Restaurant Training Improves Your Bottom Line

restaurant training
How Restaurant Training Improves Your Bottom Line

Have you ever asked yourself, “Why invest time and money in training new employees when I have no guarantee they’ll stick around?” You’re not the first to question the value of spending a lot of resources training new employees. BUT training is incredibly important to keeping your turnover low, which has a major impact on your restaurant’s bottom line. In fact, I would dare say one of the reasons you're experiencing high turnover is a lack of training, a lack of proper supervision, and you're not an employer of choice. Here is how you can easily turn this around.

Maybe you don’t know this, but most employees who leave their jobs in the first 90 days of employment do so because they don't know what their job is, how to do it, how well it should be done or by when. They also probably have a manager above them that doesn't know either. Then, to make themselves feel superior, that manager then does their best to make the new hire feel really small so they won’t guess the manager doesn’t have the answers.

How do you stop this situation? It starts with a job description. I know we're talking about training, but bear with me. The job description is the critical piece to a great training system.

When you start creating a job description, you need to take the time to understand what the responsibilities of the position are and what qualifications a person needs for that position, so you can accurately explain what the job is, how to do it, how well it should be done and by when it should be done.

What the job is: Let's say the job description is for a server. The job of a server is a bunch of processes, such as taking food and beverage orders, delivering the order, closing out a ticket.

How to do the job: For a new server to do each process well and to your satisfaction, you must explain the steps to doing it well. For example, taking food and beverage orders after accurately listing and explaining the specials, suggesting items and upselling when appropriate. Now, you'll have a whole list of those processes of what a server is expected to do in a day-to-day process.

How well it should be done and by when: Next, you're going to define the performance standards for each process. And this is incredibly important because the job performance standards are the core of your job description.

Once you have a great job description, you'll have the foundation of a great training program. The new training program is the list of all the steps for each one of those processes for each new hire and what they need to learn to do that job.

For example, for a server, let’s go back to “what the job is,” which was taking food and beverage orders after accurately listing and explaining the specials, suggesting items and upselling when appropriate. Here's what you might list out as your steps. Well, let's say there are four steps for taking the food and beverage order, starting with listing and explaining specials, making recommendations and upselling. The second step would be writing the order. The third step is entering/submitting the order. And maybe the fourth step is the expectation of what happens from there, such as marking tables and so on.

The performance standards measure how well each of those steps in the process are executed. Do you expect each server to ask specific questions of the guest, such as, “Do you have any questions about the menu?” Also include important things like, “Start with the ladies and children, ending with the men at the table.” You have to train people to these kinds of standards and protocol. You can include steps such as suggesting accompaniments for each menu item ordered and repeating the order back to the guest.


The next step in the process is writing up the order, which includes table number and positions for accurate food running and placement.

No one should ever have to assume how you want the job done or what process to follow. You don’t know where people are coming from and what kind of training they’ve had in the past. Their standards could be way below yours, and you need to make your expectations very clear.

Once you’ve documented all the processes, the next step is to break them up into lessons so you can teach all the steps that need to happen in as many days as you want your training program to be. It may take two weeks. It may take three days. It should be as long as you need to test them through the processes. This ensures each person is going to learn what needs to be done. But to make that happen, you've got to make sure you train the trainer. Each manager needs to understand each of the positions and their processes to properly train a new employee.

I don't care if they're the best server in the world or best cook in the world, the managers must understand what the job is, how to do it, how well it should be done and by when. This gives you consistency in management, which puts you on a path to becoming an employer of choice. When your managers know the job standards, and they're all making sure people are doing the job the same way every single time, you have a positive work environment, which reduces turnover.

When you have a great training program in place, not only will your employees stay longer because they like where they work. Productivity is going to increase because when you keep people longer, you can have better efficiencies.

Toxic workplace culture is what's killing our industry right now. We've had too many years of people abusing line employees and not treating them like people and understanding their importance to the business. A great training program creates a safe workplace where expectations are clear. This leads to lower turnover, consistency in food preparation and service and a stronger bottom line. It’s up to you to make it possible.

If you would like to learn how to own a restaurant that doesn't depend on you being in it to be successful, watch this free video course that teaches you three key principles to running a successful restaurant. If you're ready right now to make some serious changes in your restaurant, you can also book a 60-minute call with me where we talk about your challenges and figure out exactly what is holding you back from having a restaurant that doesn’t depend on you being in it to be successful. 

Be sure to visit my YouTube channel for more helpful restaurant management video tips.

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