Restaurant server and employee training can be very complex, depending on the type of food service being performed and the expectations of the establishment and customer. Providing the necessary training materials, including a restaurant training manual and hands-on training related to health and safety and job performance can ensure that your employees are well-informed and capable of completed tasks related to their position.
Restaurant server training may differ drastically from back-of-the-house employee training; the end goal is the same: better trained employees to create the best customer experience possible. Employee training typically includes several components that work together to create the overall program; the employee handbook, health and safety procedures, and hands-on job performance all work to ensure that the establishment runs smoothly.
Provide a Thorough Employee Handbook
An employee handbook is an effective management tool in any industry, but especially in the restaurant industry. This is an essential tool when educating and enforcing employment laws, safety procedures, dress, and code of conduct. Any/all information related to rules and regulations for which employees are held responsible should also be included and readily available. Providing this restaurant training manual is a great way to ensure that all employees are aware of expectations both of state employment law, the employer, and the requirements of their specific position.
Specific information typically included in an employee handbook may include: company philosophy, expectations of employee conduct related to harassment of any/all nature(s), payment procedures, paid time off (PTO), overtime policy, employee benefits, on-the-job requirements, workplace safety, and “housekeeping” forms that employees would need to access. Restaurant handbooks may also include information related to the reporting of tips or how money is handled and reported by employees. Creating a clear policy for establishment procedures will ultimately work towards streamlining the work being done and foster understanding and accountability throughout the organization.
Explain All Health and Safety Procedures
Health and safety procedures and maintaining Health Department regulations are essential parts of the restaurant industry. Failure to comply with Health Department regulations can lead to fines, other penalties, and in the most serious of cases, the closing of the business by the Health Department. To ensure that all health and safety expectations and regulations are being met, it is important to make all expectations clear and readily available. This may be done with the inclusion of health and safety procedures in an employee handbook and though active accountability and reinforcement.
To ensure that all employees are made aware of health and safety procedures, posters and other reminders may be prominently displayed around the restaurant. For example, an employer may post a reminder in the restrooms, reminding the staff that the law requires all employees to thoroughly wash their hands after using the facilities, prior to returning to work.
Step-by-step instructions on how to breakdown and/or clean food service equipment is also important when ensuring that all proper procedures are being followed. It is the responsibility of the employer to provide the resources necessary for employees to meet these expectations; that includes the provision of sanitary cleaning solutions and equipment. Making these cleaning materials readily available will encourage each employee to take the initiative to take care of their workspace and leave little room for negligence.
Training new employees on all health and safety, and food safety preparation will also go a long way towards maintaining the expected quality of the food prepared and served. Hand washing, proper grooming, sanitary food preparation, and equipment maintenance are all aspects of the food service industry that can be taught and developed with repetition and reinforcement.
Give Hands on Training
Hands-on training provided by an experienced member of the food service team is also an effective way to reinforce employee training materials covered in the workplace. This can be done in several ways: demonstrating, shadowing, supervised job performance, and simulated event exercise. Each of these methods is different and which is most beneficial is subject to the format of an existing employee training program, the preference of the training staff, and the nature of the job position for which the employee is being trained to perform.
Demonstrating:Performing a job task while the trainee observes is a common employee training method. It allows the person to ask real-time questions and observe proper technique and procedure.
Simulated Event Exercise: This “role-playing” technique engages the trainee and trainer in real-life job scenarios and can be particularly effective during restaurant server training. During this exercise, a training manager or, in a larger group, another trainee will play the role of a customer, while a trainee practices learned employee training concepts to solve a posed problem.
Shadowing: Following an established and well-trained employee; especially a front-of-the-house employee, such as a servers, host/hostess, or dining services manager, allows the trainee to observe a service without engaging. They soak it all in to be put into practice later, during a supervised job performance exercise.
Supervised Job Performance: Once an employee has completed the majority, if not all, of a training program, a supervisor or trainer may allow the employee to complete their job-related tasks on their own, under their active supervision. This allows the trainee to actively participate in the job training, performing tasks as required, with the supervisor on-hand to correct any technical or procedural errors and provide clearer instruction as to how to correctly perform a given task. This also allows the trainer to identify areas in which further training is needed.
Hands-on training as to how to maximize and record tip earnings can also be beneficial, as customer interaction is often a learned process in which employees and trainees can learn from each other in order to improve a guest’s experience, possibly resulting in a larger tip. The paperwork required when reporting and recording tip earnings should also be a hand-on process, as failure to correctly complete the may have tax implications.