The restaurant industry is highly competitive, with new restaurants opening every day and customers having a wide range of options to choose from. One of the key factors that can set a restaurant apart from its competitors is the skill level of its staff. Restaurant staff who are knowledgeable, skilled, and customer-focused can create a memorable dining experience for customers and help to build a loyal customer base.
To achieve this, it is important for restaurant owners and managers to invest in staff training. Effective training can improve staff performance, boost productivity, and enhance the overall customer experience. However, developing a strategic approach to restaurant staff training is essential to ensure that the training is effective and delivers the desired results.
A strategic approach to restaurant staff training means developing a comprehensive plan that is aligned with the restaurant's overall business goals and objectives. A strategic training plan takes into account the specific needs of the restaurant, the skills and knowledge of the staff, and the current industry trends and regulations.
Many restaurants provide some form of employee training, but it is often not a comprehensive or strategic approach. For many restaurants, training may solely consist of a brief orientation on the first day. In fact, a TalentLMS survey shows that 52% restaurant employees only received onboarding training on their first day at work. Some restaurants provide on-the-job training by a supervisor, and occasional refresher courses. However, this type of training is often not planned or well-structured, and it may be solely process-oriented, not be aligned with the restaurant's overall business goals and objectives.
This approach to employee training can lead to several issues. Employees may not have a clear understanding of their job responsibilities or the restaurant's expectations, leading to inconsistent or poor performance. In addition, training may not be targeted to specific skills or areas of improvement, leading to wasted time and resources. Furthermore, a lack of ongoing training and support can lead to employee turnover and a negative impact on the customer experience.
By contrast, a strategic approach to employee training involves developing a comprehensive plan that is tailored to the needs of the restaurant and its employees. This includes assessing the current skill level of employees, setting clear and measurable training objectives, developing engaging and informative training materials, delivering training through a variety of methods, and evaluating the effectiveness of training on an ongoing basis.
In this blog post, we will discuss how to develop a strategic approach to restaurant staff training. We will cover the key steps involved in the process, including assessing training needs, setting training objectives, developing training materials, delivering training, and evaluating training effectiveness.
1. Assessing Training Needs
Before developing a training plan, it is important to assess the current skill level of the restaurant staff. This will help to identify areas where training is needed and ensure that the training is targeted and relevant. There are several methods for assessing training needs, including surveys, evaluations, and observations.
Surveys can be used to gather feedback from staff on their training needs and preferences. For example, a survey could ask staff members to rate their current level of knowledge and skills in different areas, such as food handling, customer service, and sales techniques. Surveys can also be used to gather feedback on the effectiveness of previous training programs and identify areas for improvement. Getting responses from surveys can be a challenge in itself, and good survey tools such as Qualtrics, Typeform, SurveyMonkey, Jotform, and Google Forms can help with that.
Evaluations involve observing staff members as they perform their duties and providing feedback on their performance. This can be done by a supervisor or manager, or by a trained evaluator. Evaluations can help to identify areas where staff members are struggling and provide targeted feedback and coaching to help them improve.
Observations involve observing staff members as they work and noting areas where additional training may be needed. For example, an observation may reveal that staff members are not following proper food handling procedures or are not engaging with customers in a friendly and welcoming manner. Observations can be conducted by managers or supervisors, or by an external consultant.
2. Setting Training Objectives
Once the training needs of the restaurant have been assessed, the next step in developing a strategic approach to employee training is to set clear and measurable training objectives. Training objectives are specific goals that outline what employees should be able to know or do after completing the training program.
Effective training objectives should be SMART, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. This means that the objectives should be clear and specific, have measurable outcomes, be realistic and achievable, be relevant to the employee's job duties, and have a specific timeframe for completion.
Some examples of SMART training objectives for restaurant staff:
- Reduce food preparation time by 20% within the next 2 months through training on efficient kitchen processes and time management.
- Improve conflict resolution skills by 30% within the next 3 months through training on active listening, empathy, and effective communication techniques.
- Increase accuracy in order-taking by 25% within the next 6 weeks through training on active listening and double-checking orders.
Objectives can be quantified and later on measured accurately and automatically by using digital tools such as learning management systems (LMS). By setting clear and measurable training objectives, restaurant owners and managers can ensure that the training is focused, relevant, and effective in improving employee performance and achieving business goals. It also provides a framework for evaluating the effectiveness of the training program and making adjustments as needed.
3. Developing Training Materials
Developing effective training materials is an essential part of any strategic restaurant staff training plan. The training materials should be tailored to the specific needs of the restaurant and its employees and should be designed to effectively communicate the necessary knowledge and skills. Here are two important considerations for developing training materials:
When developing training materials, it is essential to consider the audience the training is intended for. The content should be relevant and applicable to the specific job roles of the employees, and cover a wide range of necessary topics such as menu processes, decision-making, operational processes, customer service, regulations, and more. The content should be presented in a clear and concise manner to ensure that the employees can easily understand and apply what they learn.
The format of the training materials should be appropriate for the intended audience and the content being presented. For example, visual aids such as diagrams, videos, and infographics may be helpful for demonstrating procedures, while written materials such as manuals and handbooks may be more appropriate for providing in-depth information. The format should also consider the accessibility needs of the employees, such as providing translations, closed captioning, and other accessibility features to ensure that all employees can access the necessary training materials. To make training more engaging, you can include gamification elements such as interactive training, videos, quizzes, leaderboard etc., which can be administered with learning management systems such as spoon.tech.
By developing effective training materials that are tailored to the specific needs of the restaurant and its employees, restaurants can help ensure that their staff are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to perform their jobs effectively.
4. Delivering Training
There are different methods of delivering training to restaurant staff, including in-person training where someone takes classes, more hands-on methods such as mentoring and shadowing, and digital and self-paced training where the training is accessible digitally, such as through videos, learning management systems (LMS), and games. Here are some important considerations when choosing a delivery method:
- Timing: Consider the time it takes for employees to complete the training and how it fits into their schedules. Self-paced learning can be beneficial as employees can complete the training at their own pace without disrupting their work schedules.
- Cost and Resources: Consider the costs associated with delivering the training, such as hiring a trainer or purchasing an LMS, and the resources needed to deliver it effectively, such as equipment and materials.
- Accessibility: Consider the accessibility of the training materials. This is an important consideration as most restaurant employees may not work in an office setting. Ensure that the materials are accessible on mobile devices and that they are available in different languages and with accessibility features like closed captioning.
When implementing the training plan, there are some important considerations to ensure its effectiveness:
- Feedback and Follow-Up: Provide opportunities for feedback and follow-up to ensure that employees have understood and applied the training. This can include assessments, surveys, and one-on-one meetings with trainers or managers.
- Clear Communication: Provide clear communication to the employees about the training plan, including individual training plans for each employee, and communicate regularly about their progress and any changes or updates.
- Continuity: Ensure that the training is continuous, regularly updated, and covers new and more advanced topics so that employees feel they are growing and progressing in their careers. This will help keep them motivated and engaged with their work.
By considering these factors when delivering training, restaurants can ensure that their staff are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to provide exceptional service to their customers and contribute to the overall success of the restaurant.
5. Evaluating Training Effectiveness
Periodically evaluating the overall training process and strategy is crucial to ensure its ongoing effectiveness. This evaluation should consider whether the training is meeting the needs of the staff, if it's aligned with the goals of the restaurant, and if it's keeping up with industry changes and best practices. Additionally, it's important to gather feedback from employees to understand what's working well and what can be improved.
One way to evaluate the training process is to conduct a formal assessment, which could include surveys, interviews, and focus groups. The assessment should focus on areas such as the quality of training materials, the effectiveness of delivery methods, and the impact of the training on employee performance. These can be conducted online or through the use of digital tools like survey software, video conferencing, and collaboration platforms.
Another method is to conduct a performance review of employees, which can provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of the training. This review should consider factors such as employee engagement, productivity, and customer feedback. Improvement of performance on specific aspects will help to show whether the training on those aspects were effective or not. If you use a Learning Management System (LMS), you can use its digital analytics tools to track employee progress and performance such as completion rates and quiz scores, which in turn will measure the effectiveness of digital training content.
By regularly evaluating the overall training process and strategy, restaurants can identify areas for improvement and make necessary adjustments to ensure that the training program continues to meet the needs of its staff and customers.
It's important to remember that training is an ongoing process, and periodic evaluation is crucial to ensure its continued effectiveness. By continually assessing the training process and making necessary adjustments, restaurants can create a culture of learning and growth, leading to improved employee performance, increased customer satisfaction, and ultimately, increased revenue.
In conclusion, a strategic approach to restaurant staff training is essential for building a strong and effective team. By investing time and resources in developing a comprehensive training plan that considers the needs of the staff and the goals of the restaurant, businesses can ensure that their employees are equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to provide excellent service and drive success. By following the steps outlined above and continually investing in the development and growth of their employees, restaurants can build a team that is capable of providing top-notch service and exceeding customer expectations. Ultimately, this can lead to increased customer loyalty, positive word-of-mouth recommendations, and increased revenue.
If you found this blog helpful and would like to discuss or learn more about how spoon.tech can help you manage your kitchen processes and quizzify them for your employees to learn, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.