Restaurant Management Training


30 JULY 2019


Effectively managing a restaurant is no easy feat. While some people are born leaders, leadership traits are only one asset required to run a restaurant.

The best restaurant managers are also adept at resolving conflict, can perform precise financial and inventory management, and aren’t scared to take on every role in the business. A trained restaurant manager is a jack of all trades and an accountable leader, an asset to any restaurant business owner.

The most successful restaurants seek leaders who have proven restaurant management training. Statistics points out that restaurant managers with experience and formal training or certification tend to land the best opportunities because they are in high demand.

The National Restaurant Association reports that 90% of restaurant managers started at an entry level, which means training and experience molded them into the successful leaders they are today. Learn more about restaurant management training, what it offers, and why it’s essential to your restaurant business.

What Does it Take to Manage a Restaurant?

Nearly anyone can be a restaurant manager in the short-term, but their ability to learn, challenge themselves, and build rapport with staff, vendors, and customers is the real mark of a born leader. Management candidates should be:

While this isn’t an inclusive list, these traitsand others have been identified as the most valuable for current and prospective restaurant managers.

What Does Restaurant Management Training Offer?

Managing a restaurant is difficult. A well-rounded manager must be able to multitask, think quickly, and consistently maintain a calm demeanor despite “putting out fires” or dealing with difficult people. Additionally, restaurant managers need to be fluent in all aspects of restaurant operations, including front and back of house functions. Restaurant management training offers formal instruction and practical exercises designed to enhance a leader’s hard and soft skills.

Types of Restaurant Management Training

Leaders can obtain formal restaurant management training in a classroom setting, through coursework and certifications, or via e-learning curriculums. The type of program you choose will depend on your leadership’s current skill set and your goals for training.

Restaurant Management Certifications & Courses

Restaurant management certifications offer courses designed to teach new and developing management staff about revenue, forecasting, administrative tasks, and leadership skills needed to run a restaurant. Course examples include:

Restaurant Server Training


30 JULY 2019


By putting some thought and effort into a restaurant training program, you can immediately emphasize your workplace culture for every new hire and lower the turnover rate for your business. The following guidelines for restaurant server training will help you establish an effective, knowledgeable staff. Choose any of the steps below to read the section that most interests you:


  1. Create a Server Handbook
  2. Hold a Server Orientation for All New Hires
  3. Set Goals for Server Training
  4. Cross Train Your Servers
  5. Shadow an Experienced Server
  6. Hold a Menu Tasting
  7. Perform Testing and Roleplay
  8. Ongoing Training
  9. Create Incentives

1.   Create a Server Handbook

Restaurant server presenting a wine bottle to seated guest

If you don’t have a server handbook yet, it’s a good idea to get one created. This restaurant training manual will serve as an important resource for new hires learning how to be a server as well as the rest of your established server staff. Provide a handbook to every server and keep one or two copies in the restaurant so anyone can reference it in times of need. A server training manual should include the following:

Server Etiquette Guidelines – The scope of your etiquette may vary depending on the type of restaurant you own. For instance, fine dining has very specific guidelines that dictate every aspect of service. But on the whole, any type of restaurant customer service should emphasize politeness, humility, and the ability to anticipate the needs of your guests.

Server Uniforms – Outline all dress code requirements in your guide, including expectations concerning uniforms, hair, jewelry, facial piercings, and finger nails. Some of these details are small, but they should be a large focus for any waitress training program. Make it a priority to discuss these things at length during servers’ training and ensure the appearance standards are clear.

Server Scripts – How do you want your servers to introduce themselves to each new table? By providing a script for your serving staff you can help them to remember to share specific information about your establishment.

How to Upsell – Not everyone is a salesperson, but upselling is a skill that can be learned. Share tips that will help your servers encourage guests to order appetizers, desserts, and upgrade cocktails with top-shelf liquor.

Safety Policies – A busy restaurant is full of hazards and you can make sure your staff is safe at all times by outlining all of your safety policies. Stress the importance of wearing non-slip footwear and explain safe methods for carrying trays, ice buckets, bag-in-box sodas, or other heavy items. You should also include emergency procedures and fire exit routes.

2.   Hold a Server Orientation for All New Hires

As a busy restaurant owner, it can be tempting to skip this step or delegate it to your managers. However, holding an orientation and meeting your new servers face to face goes a long way to building a workplace culture that encourages employees to work for you long term. These are some topics that you can discuss:

Mission Statement and Company History – As the owner, this is your chance to share the mission statement of the restaurant with your new employees. By passing on information about what your business stands for and the values that you want to uphold, you can create a trickle-down effect. You would be surprised how often servers get questions from customers about when the business started and who owns it. This is your chance to make sure your servers are sharing your vision with your customers.

Restaurant Concept and Culture – You probably put a lot of creativity and thought into your restaurant concept, but your new employees will need an introduction into your theme and how they can help support it. For instance, if your restaurant specializes in locally grown produce, you’ll want your staff to be educated about regional fruits and vegetables. If you own a BBQ restaurant with a blues music theme, you’ll want your staff to have some knowledge and appreciation for blues music.

Tour the Building – By giving your new staff a tour of the restaurant prior to their first shift, you can help put them at ease. When they arrive on their first day, they’ll know which entrance to use, how to find the time clock, and where to keep their belongings.

3.   Set Goals for Server Training

By setting training goals, you can create a standard that you’d like all servers to meet. This ensures that your program is consistent and every server gets the same level of restaurant training.

Provide a Training Schedule – Before each server gets their own tables, they should complete your serving training program. Create a set schedule for your trainers to follow so that your new servers are hitting each step in the program. A sample schedule might last one week or two weeks, depending on the type of restaurant and style of your service.

Create Benchmarks for Training – Make sure your training schedule has built-in benchmarks or small goals that each server should meet along the way. For example, after their first day of training they should be able to recite the permanent beer list, recount the company history, or memorize the table numbers.

4.   Cross Train Your Servers

Plated sandwich on a kaiser roll and a cup of hot tea

Cross training with other employees provides valuable insight into how a particular restaurant operates. Before new servers start working with your waitstaff training team, it can be very helpful to have them train with some other key positions first.

Cross Train with Hosts / Hostesses – The host team are experts on the layout of your dining room, how to use your reservation software, and how to rotate tables so guests receive the best service possible. By spending a couple shifts working with the host team, a server will quickly learn the dining room sections and the numbers of each table. They’ll also be capable of attending to any guests that walk through the door, in the absence of a host or hostess.

Cross Train with Food Runners – The next training session should be with a food runner so that your new servers can apply the knowledge they just learned about the dining room in a different application. They should know where each table is and be able to deliver food to the correct guest. This training session is also an introduction to your menu and what the different food items look like.


5.   Shadow an Experienced Server

Before completing the training program, your new servers should perform a few shadowing sessions with your most experienced servers. You can designated a certain number of required training sessions, or rely on your trainer’s judgement as to how many are needed. During these sessions, the new server is essentially an assistant and any of the tips that are earned go to the trainer. The trainer should go over the following topics:

How to Take Orders – After completing a training session with the food runners, your new servers will have a better sense of the most popular food items on your menu when it comes time to interact with guests. They should practice taking orders for each table, with the trainer acting as a guide if any questions pop up.

How to Use the POS System – A big part of transitioning to a new restaurant is learning how to use the POS system. Trainers should show the new server how to use the system, then give them hands-on experience entering all the orders for the shift.

Sidework Rotation – In addition to serving guests, servers also have sidework duties that must be performed during every shift. These duties usually consist of prep work like cutting lemons, stocking the salad bar, or stocking beverage stations. At the end of the shift they should make sure all the tables in their section are clean and that condiments are full.

Learn Where Items are Stocked – Servers will need to retrieve various items from dry and cold storage during a shift. It’s very helpful to point out the location of items like glass racks, ice buckets, and take-out containers so they can be found quickly.

Restaurant Layout – During waiter or waitress training, be sure to identify key routes to the most important parts of the facility. Additionally, your staff will always want to be aware of the surroundings, so point out potential problem areas as well. This can include high traffic locations or places which could contain one or two “blind spots” for servers carrying full trays of food.

How to Close Out – The close out procedure includes everything a server needs to do before they can end their shift. To close out of the POS system, a server needs to print their sales for the shift and turn their cash into a manager. They’ll also need to use their sales to tip out any bartenders, bussers, or food runners. Sometimes a server will be designated as a sidework checker and will have to sign off on each servers’ sidework.

6.   Hold a Menu Tasting

One of the best parts about server training is trying out the menu items. Servers can’t answer questions or make recommendations if they’ve never tasted the food. At the conclusion of server shadowing, the trainer should sit down and do a menu tasting with the new server(s). This is a great time to sample a variety of the most popular food items, go over the most commonly asked menu questions, and discuss allergen information. It’s also a celebratory moment because training is almost complete.

Even the most descriptive of menus still require clarification from time to time, and your wait staff should be as familiar as possible with the menu. The best serving staff should be able to not only explain in detail each menu item, but also provide suggestions, recite any daily specials with ease, and answer a customer’s questions.


7.   Perform Testing and Roleplay

Restaurant table with written tests at each seat

The last step before a new server can work independently is to pass a final test. For some restaurants, this test might be very lengthy if there is a lot of memorization involved, as with extensive wine or beer lists.

Written Test – This test could cover everything from menu knowledge to policies in your handbook. It should include everything you think is vital for your servers to know.

Roleplay – Require the new server to wait on a manager before their training is complete. With this method, a variety of common interactions can be touched on, all within the span of just a few minutes. In addition, this method can prepare new staff members with the proper responses to complaints or upset customers.

8.   Ongoing Training

Several of these guidelines, such as your restaurant layout and the menu, may change over time, so it’s important to use all of these teaching points as part of ongoing training sessions for all your servers. By implementing an ongoing training program, you have the opportunity to increase productivity, update policies to comply with new industry regulations, and improve job satisfaction in a work area that’s often high in employee turnover. Some specific things to make part of long-term training include:


    Learning which menu items are most popular, least expensive, most expensive, etc.

    Acquiring knowledge of weekly or daily specials

    Successfully selling guests on appetizers or desserts

    Finding the right balance between too much and too little interaction with guests at their table

    Improving awareness and multi-tasking skills

    Reading personalities/attitudes and determining exactly which kind of service the guest desires

9.   Create Incentives

Make sure your serving staff stays engaged by offering incentives for performance. You can reward servers that participate in ongoing training sessions with free meals, preferred parking spots, or raises. Keep track of server wins like the highest alcohol or appetizer sales and give out a gift card to the winner each week. There are many ways to incentivize performance and create a fun work environment for your servers.

Single-event training can often be forgotten or seem overwhelming for a new employee on the first day. By creating and following a detailed training program, you can set your new employees up for mutual success. Ongoing training allows for employers to evaluate and follow-up effectively in order to get the most out of their staff. This type of restaurant server training can help propel your operation to the next level of professional, award-winning service.

Restaurant Training


24 JULY 2019


In today’s restaurants, your restaurant servers need to be highly trained. As a restaurant owner or manager, you cannot afford to provide only average service to your guests!

Average customer service means that only 16% of customers will recommend your restaurant to other people. When your servers provide average, run-of-the-mill service, they fail to encourage customers to rave about your restaurant to others.

The restaurant server training manual will help you transform your service staff into knowledgeable servers. The most important part in the restaurant server training manual is the server steps of service. Basically, the process begins when the guest arrives through your front doors all the way up to when the guest departs the restaurant. The steps of service will teach servers how to wait on customers, communication, ordering, deliver food (standard check times), etc.

What are the steps of service?

Step 1

  • Greet the Guest – Immediately upon the guest entering the Restaurant.
  • Have a sincere, friendly smile.
  • Hi, Welcome to “Your restaurant’s name” how many in your party.

Step 2

  • Seat the Guest – Immediately when there is an open table.
  • Stay within arm’s length of the guest as you are seating them.
  • Senior Citizens – guest with walkers & canes seat up front if possible.
  • Tell servers how many guests and the table number.

Step 3

  • The server greets the table with a sincere smile within 2-Minutes.
  • Place silverware on the table so other employees know the server greeted the guests.
  • Server introduction to the guests by his/her first name.
  • If you don’t recognize the guests, then ask them if they visited here before.
  • Talk about the features and specials.
  • Start with the drink orders & suggestively sell an appetizer.

Step 4

  • The server places the drink orders and appetizers in the POS system.
  • Drink Orders are delivered within 4 Minutes to the guest.
  • The server takes the guest order from left to right.
  • Enter the entire order into the (POS) system within 2 Minutes.

Step 5

  • Entrées are delivered to the guest within 15 Minutes.
  • Check back after 2 bites to ensure everything is okay.
  • Automatic refills and remove any dirty dishes.

Step 6

  • Suggest desserts within 2 bites of the guest finishing the entrees.
  • Deliver the desserts within 7 Minutes or less / suggest coffee or milk.
  • Drop off the check, and if servers are managing their own checks (server banking) then the server reminds the guest that you will take the payment when they are ready.
  • When receiving credit card payments, process and close the check out immediately, otherwise if you don’t your table turn times will be affected.
  • Please thank the guest with a warm, sincere smile and invite them back
  • Reset the tables immediately after the guest leaves.
  • Reset the table per standard and wipe the seatsbooths and clean the floors before the next seating.

Restaurant Server Training Manual Sample Images



18 JULY 2019


A restaurant’s employees are integral to its success. Even more important, though, is how management trains its employees. This is because as employees are the face of your business, they’re interaction with customers can make or break your restaurant. Properly trained employees will create an experience for the customer that entices them to come back. Poorly trained employees will create an experience that repels customers from patronizing your restaurant. As a result of this, training, teaching, reinforcing best practices, and spending time observing your employees are critical in the success of a restaurant.

Part 1

Teaching Your Employees

1.   Hold an orientation. Perhaps the first step you’ll need to take in training restaurant staff is to hold an orientation. In an orientation, you or your trainers will present basic information about your business, your practices, and everything relevant to your staff’s basic performance of their job. More specifically the orientation will include:

  • Human resource related information, payroll information, and any formalities staff will have to complete before they actually begin working.
  • Your restaurant’s history and philosophy. This should include your philosophy on customer service.
  • A brief tour of your restaurant’s facility.
  • An introduction to your management and other key staff such as trainers.
  • An overview of the menu (and other services offered) and perhaps a tasting.
  • An outline of the training process.[1]

2.   Instruct and educate your staff. After orientation, restaurant staff should begin the training process. In the training process, you or your trainers will instruct and educate new staff about important elements of their day-to-day work. Ultimately, instruction and education is the foundation of your employee’s training and will provide them with the tools they need to go forward and succeed. This is your opportunity to focus on the particularities of different roles in your restaurant, including:

  • Food prep work.
  • Chef and cook work.
  • Bartending.
  • Dishwashing and busing.
  • Hosting and greeting.
  • Waiting.

3.   Make your staff observe and assist experienced employees. One of the best ways to teach your staff is to have them observe and assist the most experienced staff in your restaurant. This way, not only will your experienced staff be able to train and teach your new staff, but the new staff will be able to see common practices and less-used practices that your trainers might not typically teach them.

  • Pair your new staff with seasoned staff and have the new staff follow, observe, and assist the seasoned staff for a period of time.
  • The observe and assist period can last anywhere from a few days to a week or more.
  • Instruct your seasoned staff to go about their work as they typically do.
  • Instruct your new staff and the seasoned staff to engage in dialogue throughout the shift and at the end of the shift. New staff should ask as many questions as possible and seasoned staff should answer without hesitation.
  • If time permits, have them shadow employees in other important positions to give them a better understanding of how the whole restaurant team works.[2]

4.   Communicate with your staff. No one will be better able to understand what’s most important for a new restaurant employee to know than your veteran staff members. Take advantage of their experience and talk to them about different and innovative ways of training new hires. Ideas can include:

  • Problems staff sees with current training programs.
  • Suggestions staff have for new training approaches.
  • Any other suggestions the staff has to improve organizational effectiveness.[3]

5.   Teach new employees about all positions. Give new restaurant employees training in all the positions in the restaurant. Have them spend time on the food line, behind the bar if legally permissible, with the dishwashers and working with the host or hostess to greet and seat diners. This will help them become more flexible in their duties and give them a better understanding of what it takes to run the restaurant successfully.

6.   Prioritize safety. While there will be a lot of important information to cover with your new hires, food and occupational safety should always take top priority. Emphasize these areas as they pertain to the new hires’ positions and the restaurant as a whole. Review safety procedures and rules throughout the training process to ensure they’re understood. Make sure to cover:

  • How to handle food.
  • How to store food and clean preparation items.
  • Safety precautions when using machinery or food preparation equipment.
  • The way to properly move around the restaurant (i.e. don’t run).[4]


Part 2

Reinforcing Best Practices

1.   Set a good example. Train restaurant employees by setting a good example for them with your own behavior. As the boss, you’re always being observed by employees, and new hires will especially look to you for the right way to conduct themselves. Keep this in mind when you work with other members of the wait staff, vendors and diners and conduct yourself courteously and professionally.

2.   Hold regular training refreshers. Training should not stop soon after an employee joins your staff. In order to reinforce best practices, you should hold training sessions regularly. This will not only help your staff recall everything you’ve covered before, but will act as an opportunity to train seasoned staff in new techniques and approaches.

  • Use regular training events as an opportunity to train staff on new techniques and changes to your restaurant. This will be especially important if you have a menu change.
  • Use regular training events as an opportunity to bring in outside trainers who utilize different techniques than you have used in the past.
  • Use regular training events as an opportunity to retrain and refresh seasoned staff who are becoming set in their ways or even careless.[5]

3.   Hold meetings with your employees. Holding meetings with your employees – whether it be a group meeting or individual meetings – is one of the best ways to reinforce best practices. Meetings don’t necessarily have to address staff weaknesses or bad things. Use meetings as an opportunity to lead by example and to highlight what you want your staff to do to improve your business and the customer experience.

  • Focus on your staff’s strengths, and encourage them to live up to these strengths and emulate each other’s positive qualities.
  • Hold semi-regular group meetings every 2-3 months, at a minimum.
  • Hold one-on-one meetings with employees you think are falling behind. Use this as an opportunity to discuss performance evaluations and to encourage them to live up to their abilities.
  • Hold one-on-one meetings with employees you think are doing a great job. Talk about their good qualities and let them know that their work has been noticed.

4.   Recognize your best employees. Reinforcing best practices is not just about training and teaching, it is also about recognizing your employees who do outstanding jobs. By recognizing these employees, you’ll send the message that you are paying attention and that their efforts are being noticed. Consider:

  • Recognizing your top employees at regular meetings.
  • Recognizing top employees in a private meeting.
  • Recognizing top employees through social media.
  • Giving top employees awards or cash bonuses. [6]


Part 3

Observing Your Employees

1.   Watch your employees. While you had your new staff shadow seasoned employees earlier in the training process, now it is time to watch your employees to see how they’ve internalized all of the training they’ve gone through. Spend some time every day watching or overseeing different members of your staff. When doing this:

  • Inform staff in advance that this might be done as part of a schedule or even randomly.
  • Don’t spend too much time. Fifteen minutes or less might suffice.
  • Consider positioning yourself at a central location to watch or shadow your employees.
  • To be less obvious, simply slow down your normal rounds of the restaurant. Walk slowly, greeting customers who are dining, and observing how your staff is interacting with each other and the customers.[7]

2.   Use mystery diners. Mystery shoppers, diners, or customers are frequently used in the restaurant and retail industry as a way of collecting information about customer service and employee efficiency. In the restaurant industry, mystery diners are people who are employed to eat at a restaurant and evaluate the restaurants service, food quality, and overall experience without employees knowing that they are being evaluated. Mystery diners will give you important information about the efficacy of your training program and your restaurant’s overall customer service.

  • Hire a third party business that specializes in evaluating businesses like your own. They will send mystery diners and then provide you with detailed feedback.
  • Have a friend or family member patronize your restaurant and evaluate it without your employees’ knowledge.
  • Use mystery diners on a regular but random basis so you can continually gather feedback about your training success and customer service.

3.   Conduct performance reviews. Performance reviews are an extremely important way of tracking an employee’s progress toward becoming a valued member of your restaurant staff. When conducted by a manager or senior trainer or staff member, performance reviews can be used to evaluate everything from efficiency, attitude, customer service, and other strengths and weaknesses.

  • Consider conducting performance reviews or evaluations every 6 months to a year on seasoned employees.
  • Conduct performance reviews or evaluations on new staff members 1 to 3 months after they’ve completed training.
  • Rotate the senior staff and managers who conduct performance reviews on any one individual.[8]

4.   Keep records based on your observations. While observations are extremely important, keeping records of your observations will help you when it comes time to implement staff changes and new training approaches. As a result, always keep well-organized records of everything having to do with your employee observations. Consider:

  • Logging tardiness and missed work.
  • Creating a file for each staff member and filing all relevant information there.
  • Take brief notes periodically about your employees’ weaknesses and strengths. This might help when training comes around or when it’s time to discuss performance reviews.[9]

Click Here – How to Train Restaurant Employees