Methods of Training


12 JULY 2019


Restaurant server training is very important as it helps to equip the employees with outstanding customer experience. Furthermore, it motivates them and instills best practices through the entire team.

Here are 10 steps that will guide you when training your restaurant staff.

  1. Start with orientation
  2. Create and upgrade your training plan
  3. Guidance and observation
  4. External training
  5. Implement upskilling
  6. Train your staff to use the latest technology
  7. Recognize your top employees
  8. Perform employee evaluation
  9. Implement team building exercises
  10. Keep employee records


1. Start with orientation

Let’s face it. When hiring employees, restaurant managers will always request employees have a few years of experience. The reason employers do so is to ensure that they don’t spend so much on training.


The employee has already worked in a restaurant and so, they should be ready to fill the position and begin serving customers.

What most restaurant managers and owners forget is that each restaurant is unique. Not only in terms of objectives and goals but also in terms composition and service.

Yes, customers will arrive at the establishment and order food and drinks but at the end of the day, your establishment has competitors. To stay ahead, it is imperative for the manager to offer his or her employees the best restaurant training possible whether they are experienced or not.

The first step in employee training is orientation. Orientation helps employees familiarize themselves with the restaurants best practices, goals, history, philosophy and the facility.


2. Create and upgrade your training plan

As a new restaurant owner, your objective is to ensure that the new establishment thrives to be a renowned brand. The only way to ensure this is possible is to keep training new staff members. For this to be achievable, you must create a training plan.

Since you already completed orientation, your training plan will encompass the different departments in your restaurant. They include the bar, dining, kitchen, hosting and serving among others.

As the manager, you need help training the new staff. Using your experienced employees, you can assign them supervisory roles so that they can help train the new staff in different departments.

Some of the areas your experienced staff will focus on include hosting, greeting customers, waiting on customers, bartending, food preparation, serving, dishwashing and cashier among others.

There are thousands of restaurant employee training templates available online. You can also create your own by working with your experienced employees. Remember to upgrade the manual as time goes by.


3. Guidance and observation

It is important to know that training your staff does not end with the provision of instructions and orientation. Restaurant managers are advised to ensure that the experienced staff especially department heads continue guiding and observing the actions of both the new and current staff.

You may be wondering why this is important. Well, guidance and observation helps to ensure that the new employees are practicing what they have been taught. That is providing services to the customers according to the best practices described in the training manual.

Small restaurants may lack the number of employees that will ensure each new employee is paired with an experienced staff member.

The best way to ensure continued training for employees is by placing new employees under one supervisor. Not only will this eliminate time wastage but it will ensure better management and guidance.


4. External training 

While training manuals and shadowing of new staff is part and parcel of server guidelines and best restaurant training plans, it is not enough. The world is changing and as a result, it is important to keep up with new and emerging trends.

The only way to do so is through external training. External training is where your restaurant hires or partners with an external training company with the sole purpose of training your staff. The trainers can do so onsite or via online classes.

The best option for a small restaurant is via online classes.

This method may seem to be expensive but in the long run, it’s a good investment. For starters, it’s the best option if you are short on time. Secondly, your employees are equipped with new skills and knowledge.

5. Implement upskilling

As said earlier, external training may appear to be expensive but when combined with upskilling, it will ensure efficient management and better service provision to customers. Not only that. It will encourage your employees to continue working for you for several years to come.

Upskilling is where employees are taught additional skills. This helps to broaden their skillset.

You may be wondering where upskilling will be implemented in your restaurant. Imagine this, your bartender is ill. Without upskilling, it would mean hiring a part time bartender who is not familiar with your restaurant’s goals, objectives and best practices.

Through upskilling, you can train other employees how to bar-tend so that in case the bartender is ill, one of the employees will simply cover for him or her.

It is important to understand that upskilling makes your employees feel like they are progressing. As a result, they will stay motivated finally becoming the most valuable employee. Remember to accompany upskilling with an incentive for example a bonus or pay rise.

6. Train your staff to use the latest technology

Technology helps to make work easier and as such, it plays an important role in all industries and establishments. A restaurant is no exception. Restaurants have advanced past touch screen Point of Sale systems.

Today, customers can make orders via mobile apps and request delivery right to their homes or offices. That is not all. When it comes to submitting orders, the kitchen staff is able to do so via available technology.

As you can see, technology has crept into major restaurants departments apart from dishwashing and busing among others.

Teaching your staff to use the latest technology gadgets in your restaurants is a plus. This is because it helps to improve how your staff interacts with the customers. Furthermore, it helps the staff learn how to resolve critical issues for example handling voids.

7. Recognize your top employees

Providing the best restaurant training to your new staff is not enough. You need to start recognizing your top employees. Doing so will motivate your employees which is an added advantage to you because productivity will improve.

One of the best methods for recognizing top employees is by implementing the “Employee of the Month” reward program. I know this may sound like a cliché but it helps to boost your employees’ morale.

To make the program more rewarding, accompany the program with awards or cash bonuses.

That is not all. You can take the recognition program much further by recognizing the employees at regular meetings and even on the restaurants social media pages.


8. Perform employee evaluation

A performance review is an important exercise. Not only does the program help to track the employee’s progress but it helps to determine if the employee is a valued member of the team. Furthermore, a performance review evaluates the employee’s attitude, efficiency plus their strengths and weaknesses.

There are two ways of approaching this.

  1. You can request customers to leave a short comment about the food, hosting and serving after they are done with their meal. These comments can be submitted via on-site gadgets provided by the restaurant.
  2. Supervisors can also provide employee performance reports which contain data and information collected daily, weekly and monthly. From this data, you can create a performance review of each employee.

Don’t forget to create a proper schedule for your performance review program. It should extend past daily, weekly and monthly reviews.

9. Implement team building exercises

By now, your new employees are well integrated within the team. Not only are they going about their duties as part of the team but they are socializing outside the restaurant too.

You can motivate your employees further by implementing team building exercises

Team building should be included in your training plan for employees. Why? It helps to create opportunities for the employees to socialize outside the work environment. There are many activities employees can do during team building exercises.

Some of them include competitions, parties and retreats among others. Doing this will not only help to motivate the employees but it will help employees build better relationships thus improving productivity and team work.

10. Keep employee records

As a restaurant owner or manager, it is important to know that keeping employee records is very important. Yes, some of the staff members will continue working at the restaurant for many years to come while others will opt to advance in their careers and seek opportunities in other establishments.

Despite this, it is important keep track of what your employees are doing. Record keeping helps you learn more about your employee.

Some of the records you can add in the file include resumes, training progress and brief notes detailing the employee’s strengths and weaknesses. Use modern record keeping softwares for efficiency.

Final Thoughts

As a restaurant manager or owner, you need to know that your employees are the face of the business. Not only do they come into contact with the customers during serving or hosting but they do market the restaurant through other means for example food preparation, food delivery, dishwashing and busing.

To ensure that your employees are able to provide top services to your customers, train them. The 10 steps you can use to effectively train your employees include carrying out an orientation, creating training plans, observation, external training and upskilling.

Others include training the staff to use the latest technology, recognizing the top employees, performing employee evaluation, implementing team building exercises and finally, keeping employee records.

Have you been inspired by the above 10 Steps to train your restaurant staff effectively? Leave a comment and share the article with your peers.