Waiters have to learn an immense amount of rules, procedures, and menu items before they can provide the level of service their employer expects, so the training period is a crucial investment for a restaurant’s success.
Too many employers in the restaurant business go about this area with the wrong attitude, or even overlook certain aspects completely. Here are five tips that will shed some light on training servers in a positive, effective manner.
1. Make Your Restaurant’s Goals Clear
First and foremost, you should introduce your employee to your restaurant’s overall theme and attitude. Things like philosophy, workplace standards, and customer demographics are all great places to start. If applicable, tell them a brief history of the restaurant.
3. Ease Them In
Throwing your new waiter or waitress to the wolves in the hopes they will learn faster is just going to make things tough on everyone. Your employee will definitely not like it, customers may get annoyed, and you as a business owner will suffer as a result of both of these.
Instead, ease them in by making them a host for a bit - they can learn table numbers, meet customers, and it will ease their nerves on customer service.
If your new employee needs help getting used to waiting tables, have them “shadow” a more experienced employee for a while. This way they can see firsthand what it’s like dealing with customer demands. After a week or so, your employees can switch roles so that your new employee can take the wheel.
4. Avoid Overloading Information
Many restaurants begin by giving new employees a book of corporate rules, complete with lists of what not to do. This, added with dress-code, service, and task expectations becomes just a big memorization game for the employee. It also sets an impersonal, don’t-screw-this-up tone for your employee’s new job: not the best foot to start off on.
Consider a more hands-on approach to teaching your employee, like actually showing them the dress code, or how to phrase things in a way that will please customers.
5. Free Meals
Because your employee will have to be able to recommend his or her favorite dishes to customers, it is important they know your menu by more than just item names. Consider offering them free or discounted meals for a while, until they have tried everything. Ask them what they liked and did not like about each dish, or what stuck out in their head the most about a particular item.
By training your servers with an optimistic and hands-on approach, you can be sure you are on the same page when it comes to service. You will also start off on the right foot - to ensure a pleasant workplace experience for both you and your employees.
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