A restaurant’s or a bar’s employees are the most crucial factor affecting its success. Even more important, though, is how management trains its employees. This is because as employees are the face of your business, their interaction with customers can make or break your foodservice facility. Properly trained employees will create an experience for the customer that entices them to come back. Poorly trained employees will create an experience that repels customers from patronizing your business. As a result of this, training, teaching, reinforcing best practices, and spending time observing your employees are critical to the success of a restaurant.

Let’s review now some tips for successfully trained employees.

Hold an orientation. 

Perhaps the first step you’ll need to take in training restaurant staff is to hold an orientation. In an orientation, you or your trainers will present basic information about your business, your practices, and everything relevant to your staff’s basic performance of their job.

Instruct and educate your staff.

After orientation, restaurant staff should begin the training process. In the training process, you or your trainers will instruct and educate new staff about important elements of their day-to-day work. Ultimately, instruction and education is the foundation of your employee’s training and will provide them with the tools they need to go forward and succeed. This is your opportunity to focus on the particularities of different roles in your restaurant, for example, food prep work, chef and cook work, etc

Make your staff observe and assist experienced employees.

One of the best ways to teach your staff is to have them observe and assist the most experienced staff in your restaurant. This way, not only will your experienced staff be able to train and teach your new staff, but the new staff will be able to see common practices and less-used practices that your trainers might not typically teach them. Pair your new staff with seasoned staff and have the new staff follow, observe, and assist the seasoned staff for a period of time. The observe and assist period can last anywhere from a few days to a week or more. Instruct your seasoned staff to be typical with the rules and procedures of their work just as they typically do. Instruct your new staff and the seasoned staff to engage in dialogue throughout the shift and at the end of the shift. New staff should ask as many questions as possible and seasoned staff should answer without hesitation. If time permits, have them shadow employees in other important positions to give them a better understanding of how the whole restaurant team works.

Teach new employees about all positions.

Give new restaurant employees training in all the positions in the restaurant. Have them spend time on the food line, behind the bar if legally permissible, with the dishwashers and working with the host or hostess to greet and seat diners. This will help them become more flexible in their duties and give them a better understanding of what it takes to run the restaurant successfully.

Set a good example.

Train restaurant employees by setting a good example for them with your own behavior. As the boss, you’re always being observed by employees, and new hires will especially look to you for the right way to behave. Keep this in mind when you work with other members of the wait staff, vendors, and diners and act courteously and professionally.

Hold regular training refreshers.

Training should not stop soon after an employee joins your staff. In order to reinforce best practices, you should hold training sessions regularly. This will not only help your staff recall everything you’ve covered before but will act as an opportunity to train seasoned staff in new techniques and approaches. Use regular training events as an opportunity to train staff on new techniques and changes to your restaurant. This will be especially important if you have a menu change. Use regular training events as an opportunity to bring in outside trainers who utilize different techniques than you have used in the past. Use regular training events as an opportunity to retrain and refresh seasoned staff who are becoming set in their ways or even careless.

Hold meetings with your employees.

Holding meetings with your employees whether it is a group meeting or individual meetings is one of the best ways to reinforce best practices. Meetings don’t necessarily have to address staff weaknesses or bad things. Use meetings as an opportunity to lead by example and to highlight what you want your staff to do to improve your business and the customer experience. Focus on your staff’s strengths, and encourage them to live up to these strengths and mirror each other’s positive qualities. Hold semi-regular group meetings every 1-2 months, at a minimum. Hold one-on-one meetings with employees you think are falling behind. Use this as an opportunity to discuss performance evaluations and to encourage them to live up to their abilities. Hold one-on-one meetings with employees you think are doing a great job. Talk about their good qualities and let them know that their work has been noticed.

Recognize your best employees.

Reinforcing best practices is not just about training and teaching, it is also about recognizing your employees who do outstanding jobs. By recognizing these employees, you’ll send the message that you are paying attention and that their efforts are being noticed. Consider: Recognizing your top employees at regular meetings. Recognizing top employees in a private meeting. Recognizing top employees through social media. Giving top employees awards or cash bonuses.

Watch your employees. 

While you had your new staff shadow seasoned employees earlier in the training process, now it is time to watch your employees to see how they’ve internalized all of the training they’ve gone through. Spend some time every day watching or overseeing different members of your staff.

Conduct performance reviews

Performance reviews are an extremely important way of tracking an employee’s progress toward becoming a valued member of your restaurant staff. When conducted by a manager or senior trainer or staff member, performance reviews can be used to evaluate everything from efficiency, attitude, customer service, and other strengths and weaknesses. Consider conducting performance reviews or evaluations every 3 or 6 months depending on the experience of the employees.

Keep records based on your observations.

While observations are extremely important, keeping records of your observations will help you when it comes time to implement staff changes and new training approaches. As a result, always keep well-organized records of everything having to do with your employee observations.

Employee training is designed to equip your staff with the skills and knowledge needed to become better professionals in their own careers. But it ultimately benefits your business more than any other party. An investment in a robust training program is an investment in your future. Is that an investment you’re willing to make? This is a situation where the benefits can far outweigh the costs.


How to Train Restaurant Employees: 14 Steps. (2017). Retrieved on May 12, 2017, from http://www.wikihow.com.

5 Tips for Developing an Effective Employee Training Program …. (2017). Retrieved on May 12, 2017, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com.