The Essential Restaurant Employee Training Checklist

3 minute read

Even when it comes to businesses that offer similar if not identical goods or services, a difference in the quality of staff training that employees receive in Business A compared to B can make more than a mountain of difference! The Association for Talent Development (ATD) reported a difference of nearly 220% in generated income between companies with and without a comprehensive approach to training new hires; that includes everything from tech giants with triple-digit staff member counts to restaurants with just a couple dozen hands on deck.

No matter what kind of business is being run, investing in formalized staff training protects the most precious assets that you have; the preparedness, competence, and accountability of your team members. Well-trained employees more than make up the cost of their compensation by being valuable enough not only to play their roles well but also to mentor new hires and continually nurture the company's overall reputation.

If you want to make sure that your employees are most capable of hitting all the right bases with their talents, there are certain cornerstones of the ideal restaurant training process that can ensure your best chance at creating that ideal performance level. To create the most efficient learning process and optimistic long-term performance outlook for all your new hires, keep the following restaurant training program checklist in mind.

Restaurant staff training: Emphasize team communication and productive criticism.

While every restaurant has its own unique rules, there isn't a single one that makes it to the end of the year still in business without effective team communication. The restaurant training program's core set of takeaway points should not be considered complete without an insistence on constant engagement and feedback exchanges with other team members.

From staying alert about emergency situations to smoothly conducting closing time protocol, employees who were trained from the root to be communicative with their team members will be the kind that you can depend on most.

Employees who also keep other employees accountable for proper work create a culture of respect for competence. For every skill and concept that the staff training program teaches trainees to take to heart, there should also be a point made that they keep an eye out for their team members' successful application of the same thing. It doesn't mean to encourage unsolicited micromanagement or conflict, but to ingrain a sense of obligation in the new team members to be mutually invested in one another's competence.

Pop quizzes and preparation for periodic restaurant skill reviews 

A new employee's journey towards mastering their skills doesn't end on their first day of work. It requires consistent reinforcement and testing of their knowledge. To accomplish this, implementing pop quizzes in the training program can create a continuous "skill sharpening" process. By offering small bonuses and incentives for trainees to compete in a comprehension contest, you can make this process both effective and enjoyable.

Once the training is finished, it is important to continue reinforcing the lessons through regular team meetings. By revisiting the basics, new hires will be reminded to refer back to what they have learned. It is crucial to establish this policy of ongoing training reinforcement from day one, ensuring that new hires understand the importance.

Easy-to-follow guides for streamlined restaurant operational tasks

For operational tasks that take a very standardized order of operations to carry out properly, such running the POS system for specific transactions or highly inflexible food/drink recipes, you'll want to make sure the training program has memorable reference models for new hires to reference at a moment's notice quickly. Acronyms are excellent for making seemingly complex step-by-step processes more quickly digestible. As an extra measure, it's also a good idea to have these acronyms clearly visible on paper or notes next to the cash register or any other area where the most strictly step-based tasks take place. 

Diverse learning mediums for comprehensive knowledge absorption

Just like the music isn't made in the violin, the learner isn't made in the learning material! While one person might be most capable of learning from reading instructions in text, others might be more naturally adept at retaining knowledge from diagrams or verbal explanations. When it comes to a group of new hires with an unknown variety of different learning affinities, you'll want to make sure that each takeaway point in the training program is fully and clearly represented in multiple mediums.

Information that is not only written but also visually diagrammed and verbally communicated via recording (prior to hands-on practice) has the best chance at being fully and equally absorbed by every person in a group of people with variable ideal learning styles.


The reason that elite professional teams exist is because of countless hours spent designing the world's most powerfully comprehensive training programs to mold them. Even if you're just running a restaurant and not training a special ops squad to survive in the Amazon rainforest with limited rations, there will be a correlation between your training program's quality and the average standard of results you'll be able to expect from those who partake in it realistically!

No matter what your final employee training program design may look like from top to bottom, you'll want to make sure all these general aspects are ultimately checked off:

  1. A constant emphasis on communication and productive criticism between team members
  2. Incentivized pop quizzes and mental preparation for regular skill reviews on the job
  3. Simplified step-by-step models (such as acronyms) to reference for highly standardized processes and recipes
  4. Balanced learning medium representation to accommodate different learning affinities

In the current technological climate, every savvy manager on the planet today understands that embracing mobile is an unconditional law of success! Here at PlayerLync, our primary mission is to provide restaurants with top-quality mobile learning software that sets a higher standard for formalized training. To learn more about robust strategies for increased productivity and enabled employees, download our free guide on driving employee enablement with mobility.