From Good to Great: Transforming Staff Training in a Restaurant

Welcome to the world of restaurant workforce management, where good staff training can make the difference between a thriving business and one that’s barely keeping its head above water.

But don’t worry — if you’re looking for a way to elevate your staff training and improve your restaurant’s operations, you’ve come to the right place. 

In this article, we’ll take you through the steps needed to develop a successful training program for your restaurant employees.

It’s time to get your kitchen cooking with the right staff management skills!

Step 1: Identify staff training needs

So, you want to train your restaurant staff, but where to start?

Step one is to identify the areas that need improvement. Do you need to improve customer service, kitchen efficiency or food quality? Are your managers struggling to manage their teams? Whatever it is, assess the areas in need of attention. That way, you can develop a targeted training program.

Here are a few ways to identify the necessary training areas: 

Create a staff survey

One way to identify training needs is to conduct a survey among your staff. You can ask them to rate their own skills and knowledge in different areas, such as customer service, food preparation, and communication. 

You can also ask them to suggest areas where they feel they could use more training or support. Then, you can use this information to inform your staff training plan. 

Keep an eye on your staff

Another way to identify training needs is to observe your staff in action. Spend some time in the kitchen, dining room, or other areas of your restaurant, and take note of any areas where your staff seem to be struggling. 

Are they taking too long to prepare certain dishes? Are they making mistakes when taking orders? 

These observations can help you pinpoint specific areas where your staff could benefit from training.

Talk to staff regularly

It’s also important to involve your staff in the process, as they’ll often have valuable insights into the day-to-day challenges they face. 

Schedule regular staff meetings and encourage open communication to foster a culture of continuous feedback. During these meetings, you can discuss the results of your surveys or observations, and ask your staff for their input on what types of training would be most helpful.

Consider any changes to operations

Finally, don’t forget to consider any changes or updates to your restaurant’s menu, equipment, or technology. If you’re introducing new dishes or equipment, your staff will need training to learn how to prepare or use them effectively. 

Similarly, if you’re implementing new software or other technology, your staff will need training to learn how to use it.

Step 2: Consider management skills

It seems like an obvious point to make, but good restaurant management isn’t just about running a successful business. It also plays a significant role in maintaining staff morale and customer satisfaction. 

When your management team is equipped with the right training, they can manage and support their teams as effectively as possible. So, you need to make sure your managers are trained in all the relevant managerial skills. 

Let’s delve into the most critical aspects of restaurant management (that should all be top of your list for manager training). 

Manager-employee communication skills

A manager who can communicate effectively with their staff is beneficial for a variety of reasons. It can motivate staff to work harder, help overcome any challenges, and provide better service to customers. 

And so, your managerial training programs should focus on developing communication skills. 

Here are some top communication skills to incorporate into your training: 

  • Active listening allows managers to understand their staff better.
  • Constructive feedback helps them provide guidance and support to their team.
  • Emotional intelligence helps managers develop empathy and understanding while communicating with staff.

Attention to detail

Managers need to have a keen eye for detail. This means paying attention to every aspect of the restaurant, from the quality of the food to the cleanliness of the dining area. If they don’t, things could fall through the cracks. 

To help managers develop their eye for detail, you need to provide training about your restaurant’s practices and processes. This includes how you operate, how food is served, where cutlery should lie, and so on. 

A well-trained manager will then be able to spot any issues and address them before they become bigger problems.

Creating effective management processes

We’ve talked about the importance of restaurant managers having a thorough understanding of your practices and processes. Now, let’s take a look at how you can train managers to create those practices and improve your existing processes.  

Training your managers to streamline processes and create effective systems is essential. Why?

Because when managers know how to upgrade your processes, they can implement improvements and roll it out across the business. This ensures that operations run as smoothly as possible, and that changes are made quickly. 

To be able to improve processes, managers need training on how current processes work. This includes having a clear understanding of your restaurant’s inventory levels, ordering supplies on time, and ensuring that staff are scheduled appropriately.

Conflict resolution and problem-solving

Your restaurant manager will undoubtedly experience conflict at some point between staff members or customers. In this situation, they must be able to handle the conflict professionally and find solutions.

Conflict-resolution training will help managers understand the process of problem-solving, and how to manage people in that citation. A manager who can handle conflicts and solve problems quickly and efficiently can keep the restaurant running smoothly.

Customer service

A well-trained manager should provide excellent customer service. They’re the ones that set the path for everyone else to follow, so they need to deliver a top-quality experience for diners. That way, other staff can follow suit and (hopefully) your customers will enjoy their meal — which can lead to repeat business and positive reviews.

Plus, a manager who can motivate their staff to go above and beyond for their customers can create a positive and welcoming atmosphere in the restaurant.

Providing your managers with training on your customer service expectations will set a solid foundation for the rest of your employees. 

In conclusion, developing management skills is essential for the success of any restaurant. By focusing on communication, attention to detail, conflict resolution, problem-solving, and customer service, you can ensure that your management team is equipped to lead your restaurant to success.

Step 3: Provide Comprehensive Restaurant Training

Now that you’ve identified the areas in need of attention and developed targeted management training programs, it’s time to put it all together and create a comprehensive training plan for your restaurant staff.

Comprehensive training is a crucial component of any successful restaurant. It ensures that all employees are properly trained in all aspects of restaurant operations — not only management training, but also customer service, food safety, menu knowledge, and kitchen operations.

An effective way to provide comprehensive training is through a mix of training methods. Here are some examples:

  • Classroom-style sessions are a great way to provide employees with a solid foundation of knowledge.
  • Interactive on-the-job training allows employees to put what they’ve learned into practice in a real-world setting.
  • E-learning courses are another effective way to provide training, as they allow employees to learn at their own pace and on their own schedule.

When designing your comprehensive training plan, it’s important to prioritise the areas that need the most attention. 

For example, if your restaurant has had issues with food safety in the past, you might want to up the training in this area. Or if your restaurant introduces a new menu, it’s important to ensure that all employees are properly trained on the new dishes and ingredients.

Another important aspect of comprehensive training is ongoing education. 

It’s not enough to train employees once and assume they’ll retain all the information indefinitely. Regular refresher courses and training sessions can keep employees up-to-date on the latest best practices and procedures.

Ultimately, comprehensive training is an investment in the success of your restaurant. By providing employees with the knowledge and skills they need to excel in their roles, you can create a culture of excellence and ensure that your restaurant is always operating at its best.

Challenges in Restaurant Staff Training

While implementing staff training in a restaurant workforce can be challenging, it’s essential for business success. So, we’ve outlined the most common challenges below so you cna be prepared to overcome these obstacles.

Restaurant staff training programs costs

Another challenge is the time and cost involved in implementing training programs. 

Restaurant owners and managers may worry that taking staff away from their regular duties for training will negatively impact the business. Plus, training programs can be expensive, especially if they require outside trainers or specialised equipment. 

To address these concerns, try to plan and budget for training expenses. Consider offering training during slow periods to minimise the impact on daily operations.

Resistance to change

One of the biggest hurdles is getting staff to buy into the training program. It can be difficult to convince employees that additional training is necessary, especially if they feel confident in their current skills. 

To overcome this, communicate clearly with staff about the purpose and benefits of the training. 

Explain how it’ll help them improve their skills and advance their careers (encouraging them to think about the long-term impact of effective training can be a good way to combat any resistance). 

It can also be helpful to involve staff in the development of the training program, so they feel more invested in its success.

Punishment concerns 

Some staff may push back against training because they feel that they aren’t being trusted to do their jobs without additional instruction. 

To address this concern, emphasise that training isn’t a punishment, but rather an investment in their skills and the success of the business. Consider offering incentives such as bonuses or promotions for staff who complete the training, to show that their efforts are valued and appreciated.

In conclusion, implementing staff training in a restaurant workforce can be challenging, but it’s essential for the success of the business. By addressing common challenges — such as lack of buy-in, time and cost constraints, resistance to change, and pushback from staff — owners and managers can create effective training programs that improve staff performance and advance their careers.

How to monitor and evaluate the impact of staff training in restaurant workforce management

To ensure your training programs are effective, it’s important to monitor and evaluate their impact. Use tools such as customer feedback, staff performance reviews, and sales metrics to assess the impact of training on overall performance.

Keep track of training attendance and completion rates and use this information to identify areas in need of attention. Regularly review training content to ensure it remains relevant and up-to-date with industry trends and best practices.

Improve the Employee Experience with Nory

Staff training is a vital component of restaurant workforce management. It can lead to improved employee performance, better customer experiences, and increased profitability. By following the steps outlined in this article and regularly assessing the impact of training, you’ll be well on your way to a thriving restaurant business.

And if you want a helping hand managing staff training and improving the employee experience, take a look at Nory.

Our AI-powered platform makes it easy for you to manage all your restaurant operations — including HR, inventory management, and sales performance — in one location. 

Schedule a chat to get things moving! 


What are the key areas of training for restaurant staff?

The key areas of training for restaurant staff include kitchen skills, cleaning and maintenance, customer relationship management, and handling complaints.

What skills are necessary for effective restaurant management?

Effective restaurant management requires strong leadership skills, a commitment to continuous improvement, and knowledge of efficient operational practices.

How does effective management contribute to a restaurant’s success?

Effective management increases efficiency and profitability, enhances the workplace environment, and reduces staff turnover.

What topics should a comprehensive restaurant manager training cover?

Comprehensive restaurant manager training should cover food safety and waste management, workplace safety measures, and inventory management.

What is the role of continuous improvement in restaurant management?

Continuous improvement is essential for keeping up with evolving industry trends, meeting customer expectations, and maintaining a competitive edge in the restaurant industry.