From Blunders to Breakthroughs: a Guide to Handling Restaurant Employee Errors

Daniil Klubov Founder & Ceo of spoon.tech
Nikita Radchenko
February 1, 2023
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Restaurant Customer Service Training

Running a restaurant can be a challenging and complex business, and one of the most difficult aspects of it can be dealing with employee mistakes. Mistakes happen, and it is important to have a plan in place for how to react and ensure that everyone learns from those mistakes. In this blog post, we will discuss some strategies for dealing with restaurant employee errors, including how to react, how to ensure that people admit their mistakes, and how to prevent them from happening again.

Preface: Errors Are Inevitable!

We are not perfect; we have many shortcomings as a society and as individuals. It is important to recognize that you are simply unable to always be perfect, and never make any mistakes.  

Making mistakes is a natural part of the learning process, and it is how we grow and improve. Yelling or becoming angry will only create tension and make the situation worse. Instead, focusing on finding a resolution to the problem and moving forward is a more responsible approach.  


So, how to handle the mistakes? There are three essential practices we recommend:

1) React To Employee Errors In A Positive Way

Mistakes will happen, and it is your responsibility to react in a way that promotes learning and accountability. Any other sort of reaction will result in a much more negative outcome and will be worse off for everyone involved.

How could you go about reacting to an employee's mistake?

  • Stay calm. When an employee makes a mistake, it can be easy to get frustrated and/or angry, however, it is important to stay calm and approach the situation in a constructive way.
  • Understand the mistake. Before acting, take the time to understand what happened and what went wrong. Ask the employee to explain in their words what happened and what led to their error.
  • Address the mistake. Once you have a clear understanding of what went wrong, address it to the employee, and discuss how the mistake can be prevented in the future.

2) Hold Your Staff Accountable

An important aspect of dealing with employee mistakes is holding people accountable. It may seem like a topic that is difficult to bring up, but it is in fact particularly important, and essential.

Holding others accountable is the only way for the employees to know that they have made an error, and what the consequences of that may be.

Taking ownership of your mistake and being there, and ready to make up for it is the best kind of attitude to have. Understanding what you did wrong, and actively trying to restore the situation is the most mature and professional manner of action. Encourage all your staff to have this kind of mindset.

How can you establish taking ownership of mistakes, and holding your staff accountable in your restaurant?

  1. Create a culture of transparency and open communication within the restaurant, this will enable your team to be honest and say what they mean. This is also the most effective method of communication. This in turn will allow people to admit their mistakes, this is usually quite difficult as people are reluctant to share their shortcomings, but it is crucial for the learning process. It is also important to mention that the team will be transparent only if they are assured that they will not suffer any financial penalty for their mistakes.
  2. Establish clear expectations, clearly convey to your employees what kind of expectations you have of them, and what you require of them. This will promote consistency and will help with preventing misunderstandings. For example, a staff member does not realize what they must do, and thus will make assumptions and will perform the wrong tasks.  
  3. Implement regular evaluations, this point will help convey to you as a restaurant manager or owner that your employees are knowledgeable and have what it takes to perform their duties well. Employees can be tested on a regular basis through methods such as:
  • Online Quiz/Questionnaire
  • In person test on paper
  • Quarterly review of employee’s performance

This will give you tangible proof of which level your employees stand at, and which areas still need improvement. Constantly following up with your employees in person, asking what they have learned since the last time, and what key pieces of information they took away from the last evaluation is also a good method of regularly evaluating your staff.  

3) Provide Training And Learning Resources To Your Employees

This can include everything from basic training on how to use the equipment to more advanced restaurant staff training like management, alternatively, providing language classes for people from abroad would be very practical, as well as very thoughtful.  

How could you go about implementing such training and learning opportunities?

  • Gamify your learning material, this will increase your staff’s focus while completing their restaurant training.
  • Utilize simplicity and minimalism, this will help your staff to focus on the material that really matters.
  • Consider using a Learning Management System (LMS), for example spoon.tech 😉, this will significantly simplify creation of restaurant employee training, by enabling you to easily define processes in a visual manner as well as to gamify them automatically for your staff.

By utilizing an effective restaurant staff training manual and onboarding program, you can simplify your restaurant processes and elevate your staff's understanding of their role. This can be achieved by incorporating visually appealing, gamified learning experiences into your restaurant employee training resources. Providing your staff with the necessary tools and knowledge will not only help them avoid mistakes, but it will also lead to improved performance and reduced the need for addressing mistakes.

In conclusion, to deal with restaurant employees’ mistakes you should first accept that the mistakes are inevitable. Then learn how to react to employees' mistakes in a positive way, hold your staff accountable, and provide training and learning resources to your employees.

If you found this blog helpful and would like to discuss or learn more about how spoon.tech can help you to bring your staff to the next level and reduce the number of errors in your restaurant operation, please fill out our contact form, alternatively, you can reach out to us via phone at (+43 670 655 56 82) or email us at hello@spoon.tech.

Daniil Klubov Founder & Ceo of spoon.tech
Nikita Radchenko
Author Bio

Hi, I am Nikita, a Vienna-based chef who has been successfully leading and teaching restaurant teams for the past several years. I am passionate about both cooking and people development and love to write on both topics. Get connected with me on Linkedin, and I will be happy to chat!