Creating a training manual will be a completely different process from one organization to the next. However, the outline generally remains the same, with different specifics depending on your brand. Your restaurant training manual is often the very first real exposure a new employee has with your brand and organization, so it should be developed and delivered with consideration and care.
Why a Restaurant Training Manual Is Vital
Your restaurant training manual is the go-to resource for everything your employees need to keep business running on a day-to-day basis. While your store and shift managers will be the leaders in your teams, unfortunately the knowledge and experience they have will only be available for as long as they are. Your restaurant training manual is absolutely vital to the long-term success of your employees and your organization.
Here are some of the most notable reasons why your training manual is vital:
- Clear and consistent training: It gives your team a clear structure to your restaurant training program, especially during onboarding. It helps new employees feel more secure and confident in the choice they made to work for your company. This makes your training more consistent and standardized for each employee, across all of your locations.
- Reference and repetition: It contains documented material that can be referred to at any time, and ensures that essential training topics and steps aren’t overlooked. Just like at school, some things won’t be retained after the first teaching. The training manual allows repetition and reference for training employees.
- Communicate your brand: The training manual is also a great opportunity for you to clearly state what is important to your brand, and makes your expectations, rules, and processes uniform across all your locations.
- Improve customer service: It helps to improve customer service by ensuring that all employees are knowledgeable about the menu, the restaurant’s policies, and the expectations for customer interactions. By having a clear and comprehensive training manual, restaurants can help to ensure that their employees are well-equipped to provide high-quality service to their customers.
What to Include In Your Restaurant Training Manual
The specific information provided in the training manual will of course be unique to your organization, but the following areas are usually outlined in restaurant training and have a powerful effect on your team. Each point should be carefully considered by the leaders of your organization, and compiled into a resource for sharing your vision with new and existing employees.
How did your restaurant start? What’s your brand story? Including this information gives your employees the building blocks of company culture to rally around.
What’s the overall goal of your restaurant? What is the primary focus of the business, and what experience are you looking to create for your customers?
Guest and Customer Service Principles
This includes how you expect your guests to be treated. How do you want them greeted? Make a list of principles and values to focus on when your staff interacts with customers.
Not every restaurant has uniforms. However, at the minimum, there’s a set of expectations outlined regarding the expected attire. This includes specific styles, shoes, and color coordination. It’s important you also create a list of items that are never acceptable under any circumstances.
Food and Kitchen Safety Requirements
This section outlines anything regarding the safe operation, food preparation, and proper use of any equipment. Protocols for knives and other sharp instruments are included, but a heavy focus should be placed on safe food storage, proper heating temperatures, and cold storage.
HR Procedures and Policies
This gives employees information regarding how to conduct themselves and where to turn if there are any issues between employees or management. HR-related matters normally include time off, emergencies, conduct amongst the workforce, and general conduct/participation expectations. This should inform your team what to do and how to go about handling any issues they have and the HR process.
General Pay and Benefits Information
Styles of pay (shift, salary, hourly, etc.) should be listed here. You don’t have to go into specific amounts – just touch on general options based on roles. If your restaurant includes insurance, 401K, stock options, or other benefits, this should be included in this section. This section also includes specific information regarding compensation for your servers. For instance, many new wait staff members will ask, “Are tips taxable?” It’s important to provide a clear answer to this inquiry.
Revising and Updating Your Restaurant Training Manual
It’s important for the growth of your restaurant business to continue to make updates and changes to your training manual as your team grows, new processes are implemented, and new ideas or problems to solve appear through the experience of running your restaurant locations. Here are a few tips to ensure that your restaurant training manual is up-to-date, and continues to provide additional benefit over time.
Regularly review and revise your training manual
Set aside a specific time on a regular basis to sit down and review your restaurant training manual. Our recommendation is to gather your team together at the very least once per year to read through the materials in the manual, and note where changes are needed. As your organization grows to expand to more and more locations, you’ll gain a lot more feedback and experience and may need to revise things more frequently, like every six months, and your HR department may need to make adjustments on an ongoing basis.
Ask for feedback from employees
The best source of inspiration for updating and improving on your training manual is to actively seek feedback from your team. This is especially true in the case of onboarding new employees and getting them up to speed, as the training manual will be something they are reading through and referencing all the time. If you haven’t already, make sure that your onboarding process includes a step that specifically asks about how well your training manual answered the questions of your new hire, and if they have any feedback for improving it. You may even want to let them know at the beginning of training to watch out for things that could be improved.
Utilize restaurant HR software to manage your training manual
While there’s nothing inherently wrong with an ink-and-paper printed training manual, you can save yourself a lot of time and effort by utilizing a digital version through restaurant HR software. This software can be incredibly useful for keeping updated versions of your manual, or even specific chapters or sections of your manual individually, in a place that can be accessed and referenced from anywhere and at any time.
Not only that, but restaurant HR software can also help you create onboarding and training documents and checklists that will ensure that each employee is up-to-date on their training, and that no important topics are missed. This can be especially useful when you are managing the training of new employees across a large number of locations, saving your HR department a lot of time and energy in tracking the progress of each new employee.
By regularly reviewing and updating the training manual, managers can help to ensure that all employees have the most current and accurate information, which can help to improve the overall operation of the restaurant.
Additional Topics for Your Restaurant Training Program
Your restaurant training program will likely cover a wide range of topics, and can be implemented in just as many ways. Check out more of our training program resources to make the most of your restaurant training program:
- Methods for Training Employees in Restaurants: Pros, Cons, and Tools
- Restaurant Employee Onboarding: How-to and Common Topics
- Role-Specific Restaurant Training in Quick-Service and Fast Casual Restaurants
- Continuing Restaurant Training After Onboarding
- Additional Training Topics for Restaurant Employees