The front-of-house (FOH) team of your restaurant should be a group of friendly professionals ready to give great customer service and work together. Once you have hired the right hospitality-oriented group, made up of individuals who understand that great service includes anticipating needs and working well with others, your duty as a restaurant manager is to mature them into a high-functioning FOH team.
Vigilant observations and constructive feedback are just one part of it; your team needs the right training tools to cement the information.
Having ongoing training sessions is just one way to develop a finely-tuned FOH service—see below for more ideas.
1. Digitize Your Employee Training Manual
The employee manual is the cornerstone of your training efforts. Within its pages should be detailed instructions for all procedures and responsibilities. From the hosts to bussers to bartenders, every position needs training in communicating with:
- Each other
- The back of house (BOH)
(Here’s how to improve communications with your FOH and BOH.)
It might go without saying that the manual should be job-centric to each position. There is going to be some overlapping of training materials throughout the jobs; however, avoid confusion or distraction by focusing the training manual on specific job functions. For example, leave off the BOH’s food waste procedure for FOH employees.
To drive home the contents of the manual, add relevant examples to situations the employee will undoubtedly come across on the job, and provide the best practices that they can follow up with. With these clearly written out, your FOH team knows what you expect from them, and has a resource to refer to later on if needed.
It’s to be expected that you’ll have to make changes or update the manual, so for ease of use, upload the manual online using an e-content distribution platform (like Mimeo). You can update the content online, and your team can pull up the updated version on their smartphones or computers.
2. Offer Training Videos
We know the truth: Not everyone is going to read the ins and outs of the manual. While some information is intuitive and can be glossed over, there are certain processes you want to make sure that new hires review, such as:
- Food safety
- How to deal with angry customers
- Plate presentations
- POS and order entry
- Seating chart arrangements
For these kinds of serious topics, create online videos for employees to watch on their own time. If you have instructor-led training sessions, then you can video-tape the critical procedures. And if you don’t, use your smartphone’s high-definition camera to make short videos, using your managers as “actors.” These can be easily added to YouTube, or if you want some discretion, you can add videos to a private Google doc and share the link with staff members.
This training method aligns with millennial tastes and could be more effective than other training materials. To ensure the usefulness of your training videos, assign the videos, and follow up with the main takeaways in person. This will allow employees to view the videos in private as often as necessary and to arrive focused for the in-person training sessions.