The way you see restaurant training probably depends on how effective and cost-effective your experience with it has been. Perspective is everything. Do you look at employee training as a process, or an event? In order to see ROI, your training needs to be directly applicable to both the daily tasks of your employees and the long-term goals of your restaurant.

Analyzing Your Training Needs

Training needs exist when an employee lacks the knowledge or skill to perform his or her job duties, or tasks are being performed in a way that do not contribute to the restaurant’s over-arching goals. Effective training must meet the definable needs of your operation on multiple levels. Conduct a training needs analysis by asking these questions:

  • What knowledge do my new employees need to aid in the development of successful skills?
  • How will the skills positively affect the quality of my establishment?
  • Do I have a personal bias about this particular skill or knowledge I’m requiring? Do my customers, employees or others really consider it unimportant? In other words, is it really a need-to-know skill?
  • How will the behaviors I want to modify enhance my employees’ interactions with my guests and co-workers?
  • How will the availability of this training improve my ability to recruit and retain employees?
  • What will it cost if I don’t train on that skill?

Take a look at any position, such as a host for example. Analyze the current performance standards and decide if they meet your expectations. You’ll probably find gaps beyond the obvious ones between the performance of one host and another. For example, you may discover that not every host suggests appetizers to guests as they’re seated. This can impact sales and service. You’ve just discovered a training need.

Next, consider how successful implementation of this knowledge impacts your bigger restaurant goals. In order for this training to be an investment in your company, rather than a single event for each employee, implementation is key. In order for your investment in training to pay off, be specific about implementation steps, and role-play with employees to ensure understanding.