A restaurant is a stressful and often dangerous working environment.
Servers have to deal with the chaos of the lunch rush, complicated orders and endless stacks of dishes. Meanwhile, kitchen staff have to navigate serious hazards at every turn, from knives to spillages to searing hot pans.
And then of course, there are hygiene standards to uphold. No restaurant wants to be known for outbreaks of food poisoning - they may say “all publicity is good publicity,” but we’re sure Chipotle would disagree.
No wonder the turnover rate in the restaurant industry is 73%!
The best way to make life easier for your teams is, of course, by giving them proper training. And in an industry with such a high turnover rate, that training needs to be thorough, regular, and easy to understand.
Here are our top 3 tips for equipping your staff with a training programme that will serve them well.
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1. Tailor it to your teams’ specific needs
Restaurant staff have a lot of information they need to retain. Health and safety regulations alone, important though they are, can be overwhelming.
What’s more, the information an employee needs to know varies significantly depending on their role. Bar staff don’t need the same kind of training as kitchen staff, and neither of them need the same as serving staff.
Safety regulations, for example, are top priority for back-of-house employees. There are so many hazards in a restaurant kitchen, and it’s essential for workers to know all the procedures for avoiding accidents, as well as first aid skills in case they do occur.
Then, of course, there are an abundance of food hygiene regulations to be maintained - failure to do so can result in foodborne illness outbreaks and even customer deaths, so this one should be at the very top of the list.
Health and safety is vital for front-of-house staff too, but they also have to know the menu inside out, remember all the relevant information on allergens and be able to properly communicate it to customers, and demonstrate impeccable customer service skills.
Like we said - it’s a lot of information.
And the only way to actually digest and be able to use all of it is through short bursts of regular training.
2. Make it bite-size
In such a hectic environment, restaurant staff are simply too busy to dedicate a significant chunk of their time to training.
Say a party of 12 comes in and orders half the menu, asks for various different substitutions, demands to know where every ingredient was sourced from and then wants to split the bill 9 ways, having already forgotten who ordered what.
On a day like that, sitting down to read a chapter of dense text on employee hygiene just isn’t an option.
In fact, that kind of traditional training-manual approach isn’t really an option even on a quiet day. Restaurant employees are on their feet all day long jumping from task to task, so anything involving long periods of silent concentration isn’t compatible with their work environment.
That’s where microlearning comes in.
Being given tasty morsels of training on a regular basis, rather than huge indigestible chunks once in a blue moon, keeps teams at the top of their game without compromising their agility.
3. Entertain and incentivize
As we already mentioned, those working in the hospitality industry have a lot on their plates. To keep them motivated to actually complete their training, it’s important to make it enjoyable.
Rewards and incentives are great ways to achieve this.
Using a gamified learning platform means you can create a points system based on who has done the most training or gotten the most correct answers in a quiz. Those points can then be consolidated and displayed on a leaderboard, encouraging friendly competition between colleagues.
You might even want to reward top-scorers with small gestures, like a free coffee or even just being able to leave work early one evening, as recognition for the time and effort they’ve put in.
This may also encourage employees to stick around for longer - a Gallup study determined that businesses with highly engaged employees could experience 59% less turnover.
Working in the service industry is no picnic, but with the right amount of training and support, you can keep your restaurant staff happy, engaged and informed.
YOOBIC Boost is a gamified training solution which helps motivate your teams with targeted microlearning and evaluates their performance and progress. Find out more here.