Don't Survive, Thrive: Overcome Challenges of Training in Your Restaurant

What we do in the restaurant business isn’t a science. Sure, there are techniques and systems that we’ve implemented over the years, but no shift is ever the same. The day-to-day of working in a restaurant presents a kaleidoscope of challenges that we carefully negotiate around: something is 86'd but no one told you, you have campers and are running late on reservations, no one brought silverware out to the floor and you have to mark your table, a guest complained that the plate their salad is served on is too cold… But, we’ve got this. We’ve done it before; it’s just another service and we love it.

Now throw in another variable into the mix: Training

All restaurants have training, but to have a training program is another story. Regardless of whether your training is formal or you're just sort of winging it, new staff members have to learn how to do what you do and your veterans have to keep up with your ever-evolving menus.

It's safe to say that training isn't easy for anyone involved. The new hire is new, and they know nothing. While a formal training program guides them step-by-step through exactly what they need to know, many restaurants have a much more informal process.  That's because creating a training program takes a lot of time: the one commodity that we don't have excesses of in the restaurant business.

There is another major piece of the training puzzle that we tend to overlook: Ongoing training. How do we make our staff better? How do we teach a busser to be a server? How does a server become a bartender? And when it comes to menu changes, managers don’t have time to update training materials, if they exist at all.

Without the right tools and support, executing a training program can be tough!

For those of us working in the restaurant business (or those in the business of dining in them), we can tell who trains their staff and who doesn’t. I believe that every restaurant should be able to execute a high-quality training program with ease. With the right tools and support, executing a training program can be easy!

Better training = better service = happy guests = higher sales

I’m lucky to have been a trainer and to have received training, good and not so good, from the rigid and structured Big Corporate step-by-step style to the “here’s a copy of the menu, figure out the rest” wing-it kind of places. Along the way I’ve learned techniques and tricks that can help you overcome challenges of training in restaurants. I’m looking forward to sharing them with you in weekly postings of Ambition.

TrainingDana Koteen