The lifeline of the restaurant industry are its employees. Therefore, only the best restaurant training should be allocated to them. In this article, we would like to share our knowledge on what must be inside your serving training manual.
Why Does a Restaurant Need a Serving Training Manual?
It is important that every employee knows their responsibility in the restaurant. For example, the responsibility of a manager is different from that of a server. These duties and responsibilities must be clearly stated for your employees so they know what they’re supposed to do.
Improve Customer Service
Having a serving training manual is a great tool to improve customer service and satisfaction. Great customer service culture begins with aligned service leaders.
As restaurant leaders, it is important to show the team how to engage with customers. Furthermore, restaurant leaders must give valuable insight to their team as to why great customer service is important.
Reduce Negligence and Miscommunication
A very common theme in the restaurant industry is miscommunication amongst team members. As a result, some employees are poorly trained and commit lots of mistakes during operations.
Providing a service training manual helps reduce these types of errors because it provides consistency to restaurant processes. If there is something that your employee is unsure of, they can easily go back to the training manual.
Serves as a Black Book
Employees who have served the longest are the ones who usually train the new hires. However, this can also mean that they’ve piled up a number of vacation leaves in their pocket. If the seniors are on leave, there will be no one to remain who can train the new hires.
The service training manual can serve as a temporary text book for the new hire. At least until the senior employee returns from their vacation.
Important Sections to Have in a Serving Training Manual
Do not go directly into the “how”. Introduce the “who” into the manual and tell the story of the restaurant.
In addition to the restaurant’s story, add some basic information for the restaurant. For example, number of branches, respective addresses and contact numbers. Also add the handles of your social media accounts. It is a necessity in this day and age.
Explain to the staff why your restaurant exists. Let them know your intention and purpose for opening the restaurant. This is where the core values of the restaurant usually comes in. The mission statement will be the mantra that your staff will always hold on to.
For instance, the restaurant’s mission statement is to provide exceptional customer service. The staff will then declare customer service as their utmost priority. They will make sure that they are prepared to assist the customer in any way.
Let your staff in with the vision you have for your restaurant. Discuss your long term goals and how they’ll be able to help in achieving them.
Look to incorporate the staff into your vision statement. This will show them that you care and appreciate their work. Employees tend to work harder when you empathize with them.
How to Engage with Customers
Restaurant owners need to make sure that the needs of the customers are met. In order to do this, employees must be properly trained to deliver professional and high quality service to the customers.
Here are some examples that you can include in the customer service section of your server training manual:
These act as guidelines that direct the restaurant to function in ways to ensure customer satisfaction.
The standard steps to follow to ensure customer satisfaction.
Provide an overall feel on how the employee should act around a customer. Make sure they go a step further than the basics.
In addition, be an excellent role model to your team. Provide real-life examples in the manual and show them you can “walk the talk” with powerful personal actions every day.
Safety Measures: Food and Health
Aside from a poor review, a restaurant’s worst enemy is a customer getting sick from the food they served. Incorporate the food safety program you have for your restaurant into the serving training manual.
Your restaurant training manual should include COVID-19 protocols. Be proactive in terms of ensuring the safety of your customers. Include minimum health standard requirements (wearing masks and washing of hands), information once someone gets the virus, and vaccination requirements.
Every restaurant has their own policy on human resource. Here are some considerations that you can add to your manual:
- Time In and Time Out Policy
- Break Policy
- Payment and Cut-Off Schedule
- Overtime, Rest Day Premiums, and Holiday Policies
- Vacation Leaves & Sick Leaves
Also include “how to” procedures if your restaurant uses a restaurant management software for Payroll and Timekeeping.
Store Opening Checklist
Restaurant operations have multitudes of processes when they first open the store. As a result, employees tend to forget what to do when they clock-in in the morning. Restaurants can’t afford for something to go wrong in the morning as it’ll limit their product offerings when they open. Include store opening checklist procedures in your serving training manual to avoid this from happening.
Here are some things you need to include in your opening checklist:
- Open all equipment
This may sound basic but some employees tend to forget to do this. Make sure you include in your manual which equipment to open and how during the opening shift. These equipment can be your ovens, fryers, induction cookers, and braising pans, to name a few.
- Prepare food
To help with operations, restaurants usually prep before the store opens. List down all items that can be prepared for the opening shift.
- Open POS and delivery related gadgets
In this day and age, restaurants are more reliant on delivery apps like Uber, Grabfood, FoodPanda, GoJek, and more. Include in your manual on how to operate the device for these apps.
- Clean FOH
Just before opening the store, double check the front of house if it’s squeaky clean. Also check if the dining tables and chairs are aligned. Lastly, also check if the restroom is clean.
Store Closing Checklist
A restaurant’s day does not end after the last customer leaves. There are still lots of tasks to be done that need completion. One thing that employees must be aware of is that despite the difference in shifts, the opening and closing team should also work as a team. The goal for the closing team is to make life easier for the opening shift and vice versa.
Here are some ideas for your closing policies:
- Turn off and clean all equipment
This should be instilled to all employees. Leaving equipment overnight will lead to spikes in electricity bill. However, there is equipment that should be left on. For example, the refrigerator and freezer cannot be turned off or the food inside will spoil.
- Clean the FOH
Similar to the opening checklist, make sure all dining tables and chairs in the FOH are clean.
- Managerial Reports
Examples of reports include Sales Reports, Inventory Reports and Health Declaration Reports.
- Provide backup preparation
If there is food that can be prepared the night before, the closing shift can help the opening shift by cooking and storing in the fridge. Just make sure the shelf life will last for more than a day.
The most important aspect during training is to actually enforce what’s in the serving training manual. Application of what you’ve learned is very different from the theories you learn in a book. Skills are enhanced through experience.
Having a manual does not mean employees will not make mistakes. However, it will serve as a guide to help minimize them. Incorporate the points we’ve discussed in your training manual and maximize the efficiency of your employees.
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