Restaurant Training 101

Restaurant Training 101

Training restaurant staff can be a costly and time-consuming job. It becomes even more so when considering the high turnover rate involved with restaurant employees. Oftentimes in the restaurant business, training is too brief for the employee to really grasp their day-to-day role.

When I was 16 and working in a fried chicken restaurant (not the one you’re thinking about), my training consisted of going over the food items that came in each combo and how to press the little buttons on the register that corresponded to those combos. I wasn’t told that certain combos go in certain containers until after I made several mistakes and was scolded on top of the fact that I was never told we charged for extra sauces, so I had been giving them away. This seems like it’s not a big deal, but if I was supposed to be charging even .10 per extra sauce, and I gave out 10 of them per hour, I was losing the restaurant $1 for every hour I worked there.

On the other hand, you can’t afford to train staff for weeks on end. This is compounded by the fact that over 60% of employees leave within a year.

So, what do you do? How do you make sure your people know how to do their jobs so they can take care of your guests without wasting that precious time and money?


Create a Restaurant Training Plan

The best tip I can provide any restaurant owner is to take the time upfront to develop a training plan for each position in your restaurant. That way, it’s always at the ready when you begin to hire. A new cashier might need to be paired up with a seasoned cashier for the first week on the job, but a busser really only needs one night with a seasoned busser to learn how to clean tables properly and where put the dishes. One of my favorite tricks is to make sure that everyone in the restaurant knows and understands the menu. Diners will ask anyone questions regarding the menu. A basic understanding of offerings goes a long way with guests.


Assign a Staff Trainer

In order to implement any good training plan, you’ll need someone to help you perform the training itself. If you have a new server shadowing a seasoned one, make sure you find a way to reward that seasoned server for helping you train the new staff member. This doesn’t have to be money unless you’re so inclined. When I was a server trainer, we were given a special pin to wear on our uniforms to symbolize that we were trainers. When people asked me about it, I got to share my role and I had a sense of pride in getting to do that.

Anyone who isn’t willing to put the time into a week or two of quality training with you, isn’t likely to stick around. So if your training plan ends up taking that long, yes, they may leave. That’s a good thing. You want someone who wants to work with you. Training them properly is a great way to test that dedication and also their ability.


For more information about how to keep staff engaged, read our blog post on how to keep your employees happy and restaurant profitable.

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