Restaurant Training: Make your own mix

Restaurant Training: Make your own mix blog header image

Understanding how to best train new employees (and provide ongoing training to those with longer tenure) can feel like an endless buffet. It’s hard to know what to choose and what will be best for your employees. But the good news about restaurant training is that just like building your menu, you can make your own training mix for best impact.

First things first, what kinds of training should you consider? While there are a virtually endless combinations of training styles, some of the main methodologies are:

1. On-the-Job Training

Just as it sounds, this is when you assign a new employee to shadow a current employee and learn by observation and experience.

2. Elearning

Training delivered in an electronic format, whether that’s at desktop computer, a phone or other electronic device.

3. Instructor-led training

Also called classroom training, this typically involves a group of new hires being trained in a group by a company-provided instructor.

4. Gamification

Regardless of how it’s delivered, gamified training uses the principles of gaming to motivate and incentivize employee interaction and information retention.

5. Self-Guided Reference Materials

This type of training allows employees to learn on their own and go back to reference the training materials whenever they need a refresher.

6. Microlearning

Like gamification, microlearning is a format independent of how it’s delivered. The goal is to help avoid cognitive overload by breaking up the training into small pieces that are easy to understand and absorb.

What do we think is the best methodology to use?

In an ideal world, employee training would be a combination of methodologies. There's no substitute for on-the-job training shadowing other employees, but it's time intensive and doesn't allow the new employee to review what they learned very well.

That's where things like one-page reference sheets and videos of specific processes come in to fill in the gaps. It gives your team something to reference when they're feeling unsure, without the resource strain of pulling a more experienced employee away from whatever they are doing. Those kinds of microlearning assets are also great reinforcement when employee shadowing leads to information overload.

If you have a budget that allows you to outsource training or a stellar internal training team, gamification can be a great addition to more traditional methods, but developing a gamified training can be a resource hog. See how Domino’s used gamification to get new employees up-to-speed and accurate more quickly.

What makes good employee training in restaurants?

Personalization and digestibility are key components of good training. That's why we favor a combination of training methods. On-the-job training gives the new employee a personal experience, while the other supporting methods give small, easily understood lessons that are easy to consume as needed.

Don’t make the mistake of assuming that, just because an employee was shown something once, they will remember it. Cognitive overload is real, and if you don't make sure they know they can ask questions, you're setting them up for failure when they realize they don't remember something but don't feel comfortable asking someone about it.

Why should you bother investing in finding your perfect training mix?

We know it can be difficult to feel like it's worth investing in good training with the high rate of turnover in restaurants. However, you not only reduce turnover rate with good training, because employees are happier when they know they're being successful, you also increase customer satisfaction when they get good food and good service. Ultimately, good training can be the difference between failure and success.

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