It’s no secret that running a great restaurant requires great employees, and that the best employees benefit from the best restaurant training. While it’s possible for restaurants and restaurant managers to execute great training without a standardized restaurant training program, such a program is the only way to ensure that’s the case.
A quality, standardized restaurant training program is an absolutely vital part of any successful multi-location restaurant business. Not only do they provide a ton of benefits, but they help you avoid a lot of consequences of poor restaurant training.
The Benefits of a Great, Standardized Restaurant Training Program
A well-thought-out, standardized restaurant training program will provide a whole smorgasbord of benefits to your organization.
An excellent restaurant training program improves employee experience and retention
With challenges in the labor market right now, hiring and then retaining good staff is necessary to ensure business growth. Implementing a quality restaurant staff training program is one of the top drivers when it comes to staff retention. A trained staff not only means happy customers—it also results in higher employee morale. Investing time into training communicates with your staff members that they’re valued, that you expect them to be around awhile, and ensures that everyone is on the same page.
Oftentimes when there’s not a set training plan, clear communication of expectations is absent and said expectations end up going unmet. This can lead to unfulfilled staff and a high turnover rate. When great training programs are set, consistent, and individualized your restaurant staff will better understand their roles and how to effectively execute them.
It improves customer satisfaction
A successful restaurant thrives on a repeatable system. The more the system is practiced and perfected, the more enjoyable the employee and customer experience becomes. Restaurants are fast-paced environments. Orders must be taken quickly. Customers want their food promptly. And when it’s time to pay, they don’t want to wait around.
Running a restaurant successfully can be a daunting task. There are so many working arms involved that it takes a specific system and structure to achieve a great customer experience. This is the basic idea of deploying a training program.
Your restaurant training, and system in general, must be created in a way that, when properly executed, leads to everything running like a well-oiled machine. The rewards of an efficient training system include satisfied customers, favorable reviews, a positive work environment, increased revenue, and an increase in your wait staff’s tips. However, failure to execute the system outlined in your training could potentially manifest disastrous results.
Standardized restaurant training programs increase efficiency across all locations
A good training program can help employees learn their tasks more quickly and efficiently, which can lead to increased productivity and profitability for the restaurant. This isn’t just true when employees first start working and need to get up to speed quickly, but continued training can help even seasoned team members to become more efficient, make fewer mistakes, and save time during shifts.
In addition, when implemented across all your locations, every employee is able to undergo the same training. Not all restaurant chains have policies that allow employees from one location to work in another, but those that do can see major benefits. When there is an emergency, an employee from one location can jump in at another location seamlessly, without skipping a beat.
A great restaurant training program enhances your reputation
One indirect but powerful benefit of a great restaurant training program is that it leads to a great reputation for your restaurant. While your employees are benefiting from a strong employee experience, your customers are benefiting from an enhanced customer experience as well. The combination of the two means that they’ll likely be back in your restaurant again, bringing their friends and family as well.
And, when people have a great experience, they tend to tell everyone they’re close to about it. This leads to more referral business, and can also become a source of potential employees as your team members will be happy to share their experience with others who might need a job. Especially today, when it can be a challenge to keep up with recent labor shortages, this just might be a powerful solution to ensuring that you’ll have quality employees to help keep business flowing.
A standardized restaurant training programs makes life much easier for enterprise HR managers
As you find success in your restaurant and expand to more and more locations, training and HR tasks become much more complicated. Managing employee onboarding, continued training, scheduling, and just generally making sure things are running smoothly becomes quite a task. But with a quality and standardized training program for all your locations, you can ensure that everyone knows the systems and procedures needed to maintain a quality experience in each location, and that includes the necessary administrative items that are needed to properly manage human resources tasks.
What Are the Consequences of Poor Restaurant Training?
The potential consequences are seemingly endless for a restaurant staff that doesn’t receive the proper training. However, the most common negative results include:
Poor Customer Service
The customer suffers the most without a uniform system for the kitchen and the front of the house. Training must outline the ideal customer experience from beginning to end. Poor customer service could mean a variety of things, including lack of check-ins/drink refills, extended waiting for a table or for food to be prepared, unsatisfactory food quality, an unsanitary environment, and more.
Inconsistent restaurant training programs result in inconsistent restaurant culture
Your restaurant culture is basically a reflection of the mindset of your restaurant business. This includes how employees interact with one another, the respect level present within your organization, and the overall environment, both away from the customers and while interacting with them. With no system to follow and no outline to adhere to, your restaurant culture is an unknown factor that will take a life of its own, and produce unexpected results. Your restaurant culture is vital to your business, and so it will always be best to deliberately outline and create that culture.
This is especially true when you have multiple franchises and locations, and you need the experience to be consistent across them all. If you don’t have a proper restaurant training program, then the teams at each location will all be trained differently, and the outcome is an inconsistent experience for both employees and customers. If an employee or customer has an amazing experience at one location, nothing will kill their loyalty to your brand faster than having a totally different, and negative, experience at another.
Inefficiency and mistakes
When your employees lack a repeatable system to follow, inefficiency and mistakes become a regular occurrence. Employees can’t be expected to operate flawlessly when no standardized practice or system is followed. You end up with a group of individuals freestyling, resulting in inconsistent work output. One shift might be good, the next might be just okay, and the next could be terrible. A general lack of consistency is a direct path to a failing restaurant 99% of the time.
High Employee Turnover
Employees you hire, especially those who have experience, will be turned off by a lack of organization and a concrete system in place. Regardless of what anyone says, almost all employees want to be part of something special. People take pride in their work when they know they’re providing a valuable service. Without something to take pride in and the frustrations of an inefficient system, get used to a constant cycle of hiring, quitting, and rehiring.
Potential Legal or Safety Risks
If your training program isn’t consistent across all your locations, you won’t know what policies, procedures, or safety measures might not have been covered in training, and that can cause significant risks for major mistakes or accidents. Not only is it vitally important for every team member’s safety, which is the top priority, it can also lead to potential legal challenges that might halt your success and growth in a big way.
The Characteristics of a Quality Restaurant Training Program
There are certain signs that identify the presence of a quality restaurant staff training program. Here are some of the most notable from our experts:
The best restaurant training programs implement consistent and regular training. While new employees will expect to have a significant block of training when they are first starting, the training shouldn’t stop there. Training should continue all the time, consistently improving your processes and the skills of your employees.
Not only should your core training be consistent from employee to employee, but the training should be consistent and standardized across all your locations as well. Yes, each location should also be able to train on things that are specific to their teams (which we’ll discuss later), but at its core your restaurant training program should be the same at each franchise or location.
Everything is documented and logged for a certain level of organization and efficient communication. Tasks and shifts are documented, in addition to any additional information vital to success. In fact, the only way a restaurant training program is able to remain consistent is to also be documented, usually in an easily accessible restaurant training manual.
While the training program itself should be documented, the progress of each employee as they work through the training program should also be recorded. This will help to ensure that every team member gets all the training available, and that nothing is missed that could lead to mistakes and accidents later on.
A restaurant with the proper training in place will feel complete. This means that the employees will have a clear understanding of what is expected of them, and how to do their jobs, without confusion. A “complete” training program doesn’t mean the training should end or that there isn’t more training needed, but that all the essential points for doing the job are covered and can be built upon through additional training.
Personalized, when needed
The best training, while consistent across your organization, isn’t entirely one-size-fits-all but should be personalized for each employee in your organization. While the general topics might be uniform across the organization for different roles, each person will learn differently, and will have different training needs than the others. To make the best use of your training program, managers and trainers should be able to adjust the training methods to best help the employee learn.
Your training system should be a continuing process open to changes and small adjustments. The last thing you want is to stagnate and for your employees to become complacent. Just because your staff is well-versed in your system doesn’t mean there’s no room for adjustments. And, just because your training program works doesn’t mean it can’t be improved upon. Always continue to look for new ways to improve on your training, and you’ll see the benefits in your organization.
As time passes, there should always be room for your organization to evolve. This means your training system will evolve over time as well. This doesn’t mean you should stray from the central points that made your success possible in the first place – you want to keep your winning formula. However, evolution is a part of business; you will slowly die without growth.
A standardized and well-thought-out restaurant training program is an absolute necessity for any growing quick-service or fast casual restaurant business. If you haven’t already, it’s time to buckle down and invest the time and resources needed to implement a quality program in your business.
Standardize an Improve Your Restaurant Training Program with HR Software for Restaurants
Restaurant HR software can 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 your training documents in your restaurant HR software, 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:
- Creating a Restaurant Training Manual
- 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