You walk into your restaurant one morning to find the place slightly…off. Nothing is out of place or mishandled, but you have the gnawing sense that something has been mishandled somehow. So, you get down to it. By the time your staff meanders in for the opening shift, you’ve noticed over ten points of disorganization, messily handled equipment, and more than a few service complaints in the feedback box you keep on the counter. Concerned, you hold an impromptu staff meeting, only to find that a number of your employees have been mishandling or outright ignoring restaurant policies. When you ask them why, they shrug and reply, “I thought we didn’t need to do it that way.”
Training is everything in a restaurant given that a food establishment dines or dies by its customer service. Consider these stats: according to HelpScout, a full 78% of consumers will opt out of a product they had intended to buy after a poor customer service experience. Moreover, 94% of dissatisfied customers don’t report their unhappiness – meaning that your establishment’s poor service could be driving away customers, and you would only know when your regular stream of consumers dried to mere trickle. To quote restaurant consultant and blogger Ryan Gromfin, “Bad restaurant onboarding is like throwing money into your oven and watching it burn.”
Needless to say, a proper training program is integral to a restaurant’s survival. Consider the following tips when preparing to onboard a new employee!
Set Expectations Early
Your new employee should understand your restaurant’s goals and expectations before they ever don a uniform. Sit down with them for a few hours on their first day to review the role. Outline in specific terms how a successful employee behaves and what they achieve on any given day. The more guidance your trainee receives early on, the less likely they are to perform poorly or lazily later on.
Make an Orientation Program
“Go do it” is not a workable training program. Take the time to sit down and write a full-blown, structured plan for employee training. Schedule formal training and recap sessions into their workday so that they have the opportunity to learn and put that learning into action.
Designate a Trainer
If you don’t have the time to onboard a new staff member yourself, choose an experienced employee to do so in your stead. Make certain that the person you select is up to speed on all aspects of training; it might even be worth taking the time to assess their performance before asking them to train others. The last thing you want is for one employee to unintentionally pass misinformation onto your trainee!
Check In Periodically
Continued training is a must, even for long-time employees. Periodically check in with each employee individually to assess their work performance and happiness. These one-on-one meetings serve as wonderful opportunities for applauding any recent successes or sharing positive customer service reviews. If you demonstrate care for your business and customers, your staff will follow your example!