The Top 5 Challenges of Restaurant Training
By Monica Parpal on July 15, 2015
The Value of Training
For new employees and seasoned workers alike, quality employee training sets any restaurant apart. A quality training program assures that all employees, whether they are servers, fry-cooks or dishwashers, have the tools they need to succeed. This not only maximizes overall efficiency of restaurant operations but also encourages a culture of constant progression and learning in a dynamic industry.
That being said, the path to quality training can be challenging. Below are five situations restaurant managers and owners may face, accompanied by general guidelines to manage these situations effectively.
Challenge 1: Time Constraints in a Fast-Paced Restaurant Environment
In a dynamic commercial kitchen or restaurant environment, finding enough time to spend with a new employee may seem out of the question. It may seem easier to let the new employees figure things out on their own.
Try This: Assign a Mentor
- Make sure all employees are well-trained from the very beginning.
- Consider assigning a peer training mentor to every new employee. A peer mentor will take some of the strain off the manager.
- Make sure the mentor training the employee is an expert in his or her area and will train the same way every time.
- Research shows that taking the time to teach a new employee leads to better employee retention and improved productivity, which in turn leads to increased profits overall.
Challenge 2: High Rate of Turnover
In the restaurant business, new employees come and go on a regular basis. Keeping all new employees updated and skillfully trained often challenges any operation.
Try This: Maintain Consistency and Expertise
- Make training mandatory.
- Always compensate all employees for time spent training.
- Create or implement a consistent training program, and maintain this program by training every staff member the same way.
- Keep procedures consistent and up-to-date.
- Employees who know their responsibilities and know how to perform them with a sense of safety and attention to detail will benefit any business, no matter how long they are employed.
Challenge 3: Prioritizing Information
When faced with new employees, there is a plethora of information to communicate. The sheer amount they do not know can be daunting. It is difficult to know where to start.
Try This: Put Safety First
- Make safety the core of the training program.
- Emphasize the fact that food safety behaviors like preventing cross contamination can positively affect public health.
- Take the time to fully explain commercial kitchen equipment and machines in order to avoid injury.
- Make sure the new employee is aware of hazards in the commercial kitchen and how to avoid injuries like slips and falls.
- Communicate procedures for emergency situations like fires or robberies.
- Add on new or updated information, such as minor menu changes, at the end of the training session after core subjects have been taught.
- Always give employees concrete reasons why food and equipment safety is important to learn.
Challenge 4: Inexperienced Employees
Employees in the quick service restaurant industry are often young and inexperienced, perhaps even working a job for the first time. Not only does the employee need to learn about the restaurant skills, but needs to adapt to a work environment in general.
Try This: Set The Expectation
- Give sufficient time and energy to employee orientation. Thoroughly introduce the new employees to the foodservice environment.
- Clearly communicate expectations and objectives.
- Be a role model. Let others see the managers and experienced workers acting with respect, patience, and integrity.
- Do not assume the employee has any past training, and make the training they do receive as thorough as possible.
- Incorporate training mentors in the training process, especially when it comes to hands-on training.
- Provide feedback and verification of work accomplished.
Challenge 5: Learning Styles May Vary
Different learning styles can challenge any educator. Some learn best by visual representation, while others learn best with hands-on, tactile experience. Additionally, inexperienced employees and employees who speak English as a second language may face deeper struggles than others. It may appear impossible to accommodate these differences.
Try This: Incorporate a Variety of Training Techniques
- Assure that every employee receives a variety of training techniques, such as visuals as well as hands-on training.
- First, tell the employees how to do something. Then, show them how with step-by-step instructions. Finally, supervise them while they give it a try.
- Allow time for repetition.
- Keep training upbeat and fun. Games or competitions are often good motivators.