Increase Your Restaurant Success with Ongoing Training

Ongoing Training for a Restaurant

Posted: Nov. 12, 2018

With ongoing training, you can emphasize the values of your brand, share ideas, solve problems, and build a dream team.

A knowledgeable, highly-trained team accomplishes its responsibilities with expertise, confidence, and intelligence. In any industry, a business has a competitive edge when employees are given ongoing training sessions. Consider how the best doctors don’t stop learning once they receive a diploma; many continue their education throughout their entire career. Just like when visiting a doctor, a customer feels peace of mind when they are in good hands at a restaurant

Why Restaurants Should Continue Training Their Staff

There is no doubt that restaurants increase their productivity, customer service experiences, and more by simply having a knowledgeable, well-trained staff. With ongoing training, you can emphasize the values of your brand, introduce new cooking techniques or ingredients, share ideas, solve problems, and build a dream team.

What’s more, with ongoing training, your staff sees how invested management is in their ongoing development and advancement. Over time, this awareness combined with new knowledge gives team members pride and confidence.

Employee turnover rates can be high at restaurants; however, there’s evidence that supports the following: A significant number of employees turn a short-term gig into a lifetime career in the dining and beverage industry. According to the National Restaurant Association, 9 out 10 managers had beginnings in entry-level positions. 

Ideally, the employees you train stay with you for years, and they grow and develop alongside your business. This can be one of the most wonderful outcomes for a business; having a team that:

  • Lives and breathes the core philosophy
  • Is skilled in their areas
  • Meets and exceeds expectations
  • Cares about the success of their employer

Below, we present four styles of ongoing training to try at your restaurant or bar.

The 4 Most Effective Styles of Ongoing Training for a Restaurant

Although every owner or manager has his or her own unique style of teaching, there are four methods for ongoing training that can be applied to any restaurant.

  1. Short, frequent training sessions
  2. Competitions that really motivate
  3. Going off-site to learn in the field
  4. Engaging discussions

Short, Frequent Training Sessions

The most straightforward approach to ongoing training is to give 15-minute lessons during pre-shift meetings. Throughout November and December, this method is ideal as the numerous holiday celebrations will require vigilant performance reviews and teamwork.

Some important topics to highlight, especially as you ready staff for the winter holidays, are:

The pre-shift classes can be taught by any team member and should cover everything from cooking demonstrations to cocktail tastings.

Lavu Pro Tip: Don’t forget your management staff—everyone needs a refresher training course. Review what it takes to be an effective manager with your team leaders.

Employee Trips

It could be invigorating for your team to learn off-site. Plan a trip to another restaurant or destination to spark ideas. Whether it’s to find inspiration for a new menu or reinforce the values of good customer service, take a trip to give your staff a new perspective.

Motivating Competitions

It should be said that competition does not work for everyone. Depending on the group and environment though, competition can be a driver of great improvement. The problem is that many businesses make the mistake of either pushing their employees too hard, pitting people against each other (the result often being a fractious, hostile work environment), or forcing the staff into a lame competition.

The kind of competition you want to strive to create at your restaurant should have these qualities:

  • Ultimately, it’s fun and entertaining
  • Employees feel good participating, even if they don’t “win”
  • The competition pushes participants far enough outside their comfort zone to be exciting yet isn’t daunting

For example, famed NYC-based restaurateur Danny Meyer (the man behind Shake Shack) introduced the Barista Olympics after investing in Joe Coffee. Through the friendly competition, the coffee services were greatly improved—from menu selections to speed of delivery.

If it’s possible, develop your own competition to boost creativity or highlight a skillset.

Engaging Discussions

Part of ongoing training can also be hosting lively discussions. One great way to start an authentic and engaged discussion with the staff is to give employees a restaurant allowance to dine at your competitors’ restaurants. In exchange, have them give a full report of their meal at the next pre-shift meeting.

Ask questions, encourage detailed answers, and through this experience, your team gains a deeper understanding of their lessons with you.

If you’re not sure how to start or you don’t know how to put ongoing training in place, the National Restaurant Association, the Council of Hotel and Restaurant Trainers, and local speakers/trainers can be reached for help.

With the first major holiday just weeks away, start implementing ongoing training sessions as soon as possible and prepare your staff for a busy season.

Are you ready to take your operations to the next step too? See how a smart restaurant POS system can improve your business and boost revenue in the process.


Posted: Nov. 12, 2018 | Written By: Emma Alois

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