Employee Training 101: Common Mistakes To Avoid At Your Restaurant

By: Carrie McFarland on July 11, 2019


If you want your restaurant to remain competitive in the highly competitive industry, two things must happen: advance your staff selection process and your training programs.

Unfortunately, most restaurants overlook employee training, and some that don't, need to rethink their strategies. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employee turnover rate in the hospitality industry exceeded 70% in 2016. Lack of proper training is one reason for the dwindling performance. Solution?

Solid Employee Training Programs

Employees represent the face of restaurant establishments. They interact with customers, prepare, and serve food. Therefore, positive interactions and great service will go a long way towards growing your brand.

Since hiring the perfect employees isn't always realistic, introducing well-structured training programs can be the game-changer. Some programs to include in your training include:  

Food Handling

Food safety is crucial and sensitive in the hospitality industry. Just ask any establishment that endures an outbreak among its customers.

Employees must, therefore, know proper food handling practices to make sure food safety is never compromised. By including food handling courses in your training, you help employees to understand the importance of food safety and avoid cases of food wastage, poisoning, and spoilage.

Food Allergy

According to Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), over 15 million Americans have food allergies and are looking for restaurants that can accommodate their needs. Restaurants that train their employees on food allergies can tap into this market.

Customer Service

It may seem obvious but great customer service is essential for customer satisfaction. Well trained employees speak to clients courteously and offer great services.  Remember that most customers go to back restaurants where they have fond memories.

Quality Consistency

Brand consistency is important to every restaurant. Customers tend to return when they see you maintain high-quality standards and serve them courteously all the time. As such, brand consistency training reminds your employees about your principles, policies, and procedures.

Other training programs to consider include:

  • Food safety
  • ANSI Food Protection Manager Certification
  • Restaurant operations

So how do you know your restaurant needs a new training program?

Decreased Productivity And High Turnover Rates

When employees are not sure about something or what's expected of them, they will stop being productive. Some will even start quitting. If you notice your top employees are no longer as productive as before, it's time for refresher training.   

Frequent Accidents And Safety Concerns

If high numbers of accidents, food spoilage or contamination start occurring in your restaurant, refresher safety, and food handling training may be needed. For example, when employees forget how to store food properly, more wastage and contamination occur.

Lower Customer Satisfaction

When customers start complaining, take them seriously. Remember the hospitality industry is competitive, and repetitive mistakes can damage your brand forever.

Renewed Policies And Technology Updates

When you introduce a new technology or update an existing one in your restaurant, it's important to train your employees. Don't assume all your employees are tech savvy. In addition, if you update policies, you may need to train your employees about them.

As you purpose to train your employees, here are mistakes to avoid:

Paper Pencil Approach

The days when restaurant workers were desk-bound are gone. Most of them spend are on their feet, using their hands and moving around. Relying on paper pencil approach is ineffective and not engaging.

In addition, paper pencil approach doesn't guarantee every employee receives consistent messages. And that can hurt your brand culture, consistency and service standards.  The best approach would be investing in a mobile learning solution.

High Training Frequency

Training your employees is great but too much training can hurt your bottom line in many ways. For example, spending long hours on ongoing training can stress your employees, waste time and resources, and lead to loss of interest. The best approach would be to avail the training materials on mobile devices so that they can access them whenever they want.

Overlooking Cross Training

You might train your staff to do other jobs in your restaurant. For instance, train a cashier on how to be a wait staff. That way, they will know exactly what to expect from co-workers in different positions.

Restaurants that don't cross train often suffer when they have a staffing shortage. For example, if staff calls in sick, across trained employee can fill in.

Not Investing In LMS

Restaurant employees work in high-energy and continuously mobile environments. It only makes sense to ensure their training is mobile too. Investing in learning management software (LMS) can make that possible.

With a good LMS, employees can access learning materials on mobile devices at any time. Restaurants that leverage mobile LMS tend to have high employee engagement, increased productivity and realize brand consistency. Read this post to find out how a restaurant grew its brand by leveraging mobility.

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