Working in restaurants often causes stress and conflict due to the hectic nature of serving food quickly, handling special requests, and satisfying guests. Establishing and enforcing clear standards of behavior for employees helps to relieve stress, prevent mistakes, set service standards, and improve food quality and customer service. Hands-on training provides staff members with essential intelligence, but many situations occur unexpectedly and cause uncertainty and frustration. A well-written training manual serves as a reference and source of employee rules and regulations. Good manuals provide insights into expected attitudes and performance in all predictable situations.

Borrow Manual Guidelines from Online Resources

Online resources offer templates and guidelines to help restaurant owners write feasible and relevant training manuals. These templates can help owners understand which issues need to be addressed, prevent serious issues from being overlooked, and provide stylistic examples for using fonts, headlines, bold type, charts, diagrams and images.

  • Try to use real-life scenarios to bring training and events to life.
  • Detail is important, but including too much information could damage credibility and cause attention spans to wander.
  • Assess common employee mistakes and customer complaints. Explain how staff should handle customer requests and complaints.
  • Consult employees for their input and suggestions.
  • An employee code of conduct eliminates any ambiguities in how staff members are expected to act in any given situation

Verify Manual Content with Experienced Restaurant Staff

Owners need to edit the manual carefully beyond fixing grammatical errors, eliminating repetition, clarifying language and presenting information in positive ways. Consult experienced restaurateurs, chefs and trusted staff members for their suggestions and remain open to constructive criticism. Put the manual down for a day or two and read it again to get a fresh perspective.

Make Manuals Durable and Changeable

The physical presentation of training manuals requires a durable format that can survive use in areas where food and beverage spills will likely occur. Laminated pages in binders offer wipe-away convenience, versatility and durability.

  • Binders allow owners to update employee codes of conduct, change writing style, and add new pages when needed.
  • Owners might want to keep a laminated hard copy on premises and give a printed version to each staff member.
  • Owners might choose one version for all employees or write separate manuals for servers, bartenders, kitchen staff and managers.
  • Separate training manuals help staff members cross-train in other areas so that they can do multiple jobs, which is an extremely helpful side benefit of producing detailed manuals

Enforce Regulations with Unambiguous Outcomes

Violations of company policies must have clear penalties and consequences that employees understand. Consider inserting a confirmation letter that each employee must sign after studying the manual to verify that he or she understands company policies, codes of conduct, and any possible disciplinary actions that might result from violations.

  • Some owners make time for employees to study manuals while on-the-clock so that they have no excuse for failing to learn the material.
  • More extensive training might be needed for entry-level employees or people who are new to the restaurant industry.
  • Interviews or written tests can confirm that new employees understand the material.
  • Always include ways for employees to ask questions, file complaints, and make suggestions.

Restaurants face strong competition from food trucks, new businesses, gourmet prepared foods in supermarkets, and increased interest in cooking at home. Food-service training manuals help to solidify a restaurant’s message and reputation, ensure that each employee follows accepted practices, and guarantee that staff are properly trained. These benefits will help to increase repeat business, improve restaurant reputation, and keep guests happy.