Training Restaurant Staff Doesn't Have To Be Hard, Anymore

I recently posted this question to LinkedIn:

"Why do we start from scratch with training when "that manager" leaves?"

Between the restaurants I've worked in and the ones I now work with to support, training is often a process attached to a specific person. When that person leaves, chaos ensues, and what worse place to have a vacuum than in the one process that literally touches every employee, is the key driver in producing revenue, and is one of the most complex to manage?

There are few of these processes like this left in our industry, except for specific nuances of beverage programs or coffee, for example — and even those have standard inventory or ordering processes, but let's not go too far off track. I hear all the time that a potential client of Restaurant Reason can't start using the platform because "::insert name of manager here:: just left us and they were in charge of training." That's sort of the point, friends. I know first hand how hard it is to run a restaurant, but think about how much harder it would be without the technology that supports us.

Imagine running a 200 cover night with handwritten paper checks... you can't, because it makes your brain melt a little, the stuff of nightmares. POS makes it possible to service more guests more effectively than ever before. And think about reservations: OpenTable made it possible to manage a book with greater efficiency and accuracy, enhancing the quality of relationships we have to our guests and with more of them. You could run a restaurant without a reservation system, but why would you (with the exception of smaller establishments)?

All employees in a restaurant need training, and with a 73% rate of turnover as the standard in our business, we need a system that can help us manage this better. Until Restaurant Reason, arguably no learning management system (LMS) for hospitality effectively served the needs of full-service restaurants. That's because we focused on optimizing the actual workflow of training in restaurants, specifically in Front of House because that's what drives revenue. If a server or bartender doesn't know about the product, they can't sell it — everyone knows that. We built a system that takes what you already do (or in many cases know you should) and makes it possible to be more efficient and effective with an optimized workflow.

Word problem: If a single server that takes care of 200 covers in a week were to increase their per person check average by only $2, that single server would drive an additional $19,200 to your top-line sales.

How many servers do you have, and how much is that $2 worth to you?

Training affects so much of what we do, from sales to the culture and feel of our businesses. When there is a disruption in the development of that culture, everyone feels it — I hear this often from non-industry friends when they talk about their dining experience almost as much as I hear it from industry people that share their war stories with me. With a system in place that is designed to support the training process, you're saving a lot of lost time and money by making sure that whoever takes over for ::insert name of training manger here:: can hit the ground running. A former colleague shared a quote with me, "Manage the systems, and the systems manage the restaurant." 

So, let me ask this again: Why do we still start from scratch with restaurant training programs when managers leave? 

TrainingDana Koteen