Do you remember your first day in the restaurant business?
If you’ve never worked in the business before, it seems so simple: Take someone’s order, cook it, put it on the table, and collect the money.
Then you get there, walk into the kitchen or the backroom, and the place is chaos. It’s terrifying. There are hot stoves, ovens, knives, yelling people, cranky customers, servers who just got stiffed on a tip, and more. So what could you count on that first day? If you were lucky, great training. Hopefully, the managers spent a couple of days teaching what you needed to know to get started on your role.
After someone leaves the restaurant business, you often find out that they quit because they weren’t trained well. Servers weren’t making good tips, kitchen staff is constantly getting yelled at, bartenders slowing everything down, or host staff stressed out.
The fastest way to lose your staff is to not train them or train them poorly. This is doubly true for the new generations of employees. They’re smart enough to know that they don’t know enough. Many will ask for more training if they need it. If they find that they’re not making money, they’ll simply quit.
While the recent pandemic has made things very difficult for restaurants and put millions out of work, the employment situation before and the likely situation afterward aren’t great for a business that still pays some staff $2.83 an hour. The best thing you can do as a restaurant manager and/or owner is train your staff well.
Be sure to not simply train them on the things you need them to know, like menu knowledge or how to make certain drinks. Teach the front of house staff how to upsell and ideas on how to make great tips. Train the kitchen staff on different stations so they don’t get bored and will feel more valuable. Help the host staff start training to serve. Servers often want to become bartenders, so make a clear path for them to learn those skills.
In other words, add value to your staffs’ lives.
Bonus: You’ll end up with a stronger team. Do you have a comprehensive training and advancement plan for your staff?