5 Great Restaurant Staff Training Ideas

 In Restaurant Tips

A major challenge to restaurants today is retaining the right staff. And yet how easy is it to neglect a careful restaurant staff training process? Things are insanely busy. Turnover is quick. What strategic approach can help keep your people without wearing out your resources?

It’s all about priorities.

Today, we’re cutting to the chase to concentrate on best training practices. Here are 5 restaurant staff training ideas to help you draw people past the two-month mark.

1 – Face your fear

Many staff are under-trained. Why? A lack of training reveals an underlying fear that the investment won’t turn out to be worth it. But imagine approaching other relationships this way. Even if it doesn’t turn out to be the right partnership or something goes south, you’re starting yourself off on the wrong foot. Failure to launch becomes a chicken and egg scenario.

Frontloading a relationship with time, care, optimism, conscientiousness, organization, and personal touch builds a firm foundation for an employee. It shows that you set the bar high for yourself and for them and that you don’t set the bar high without giving them the training they need to jump it. This builds crucial trust.

2 – Trust and be trusted

So invest in training wholeheartedly. A half-hearted, hurried, harried, unsafe, unlawful, or clearly under-budgeted training program will not improve turnover. Your most prepared and professional workers might develop a negative impression right away if they don’t find you ready to receive and channel their skills with enthusiasm and excellence. If you demonstrate preparedness and support, that says “long run.”

What about those who really don’t come prepared to make your investment worth it? A high training bar combined with uncompromising professionalism can either prevent unsuitable candidates from working with you or cause them to rise to the challenge. People respond to their environment. You have the opportunity to grow other industry professionals by expecting from them what you give.

3 – Make a plan

It’s always hard to start over when you’ve already got a groove, even if that groove’s not working. But if you don’t have a plan, you need one. Period.

Start developing a new plan now, while your old system is in place. You don’t have to rush into implementing a new plan if it’s still half-baked—get it in good shape first. The only part you need to fix now are any elements that are unlawful or unsafe, like a lack of safety training or safety information.

Here’s what your plan needs to entail:

A detailed list

List out every role in your restaurant. Now next to each, list in excruciating detail everything a person in that role needs to know. Ask current staff to look over and see if you’ve missed anything. The goal of your plan is to cover all of these bases.

Training materials and employee handbook

Keep them accurate, up-to-date, and accessible to employees. Staff needs at all times to be able to reference their responsibilities, your expectations, and their privileges and rights.

Full initiation into restaurant life

New staff should be given hands-on experience in every area of your restaurant. Knowing how all parts of the house operates builds appreciation for other staff, makes them more knowledgeable and helps them get to know the team.

Safety and legality

If you operate with care, you’re training new staff to do so, too. Do not get sloppy with the way cash is handled, for example, or with familiarizing employees with safety and emergency practices and vital equipment, such as fire extinguishers and first aid.

4 – Have fun

Enjoyment opens up memory, sparks creativity, lowers anxiety, boosts mood, and creates bonhomie. And we’re not just talking about new hires. A fun training process is good for your whole team. Your training program can remain thorough, careful, and safe while also giving new hires a bonus reason for looking forward to work. Here are a few great ideas:

  • Roleplay different scenarios that employees might have to handle, from everyday to extreme.
  • Play games with menu items and descriptions, such as memory, taboo, or Jeopardy.
  • Employ a challenge like pop quizzes, friendly competition, and small prizes.
  • Encourage Q & A with new hires, veteran staff, and managers as often as possible.
  • Keep training materials visually engaging and interactive, including, if possible, videos.

5 – Put filters in place

Most of the time you want to give a truly willing person a good shot. But there are things that may come out in training—a serious character flaw, a habit of running late, a lack of ability to be a team player—things that are helpful for you to know, and may cause you to change tack. Remember, you’re extending trust, but you’re also making an investment.

There are certain filters you can build into the training process to get a complete picture of a new hire’s suitedness for their role.


  • Peer reviews
  • Shadowing/mentoring with veteran staff
  • Regular brief written reports on what they’ve learned
  • Pre-shift meetings
  • Special meetings and 1-on-1s
  • Customer reviews


The goal is not glorified spying, but supervision—training wheels so that everyone’s goals and tasks are being properly supported. Always take the opportunity to encourage, nudge, thank, and spur new employees on to fulfill their potential.

Did you know that Original Review is also the ideal staff training tool? With real-time customer reviews and metrics rolling into your dashboard all day, you can know who is slaying it, and who needs your support. Don’t guess. Know how your restaurant is doing. Visit our FAQs or sign up for a free demo today.

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