The 5 Most Common Restaurant Training Challenges and How to Overcome Them

By Sarah Miller November 24, 2022 Blog, Restaurant
restaurant training challenges

Training is an important part of building a high-performing team for your restaurant. But it’s not always easy to get it right, especially in a fast-paced industry. Most teams hit obstacles with their programs at one time or another. If you’re dealing with some of these common challenges, here are some ideas for getting past them and moving toward training success.

1: Employees Struggle to Stay Engaged

Let’s face it; training can be dull – especially when delivered in the traditional lecture style. Employee manuals are usually not a riveting read and long videos or presentations won’t keep learners’ attention from beginning to end. When people aren’t engaged, they’re thinking of other things while the information you need them to know goes in one ear and out the other. That means you’ve wasted your time and money and new employees will still struggle at work.

Trainers have long known that it’s best not to tax people’s attention spans. Short training sessions, called micro-learning, that last just a few minutes often work better than longer presentations. Other strategies to keep new people engaged include using practical learning activities, such as role-plays and scenarios.

You can also turn training into fun with gamification. Set up competitions between teams for quizzes or have learners earn badges for reaching milestones, such as memorizing the menu. You can track performance with leaderboards and offer small prizes to winning teams or individuals. The competitive dimension captures attention and keeps people involved.

2: Training Is More Reactive Than Proactive

Many restaurants have trouble finding the time for regular training or have few tools for measuring post-training performance and accountability. As a result, many businesses conduct training only after a negative incident, poor audit results, or a health and safety infraction. But waiting to fix problems after they happen can also damage brand values, threaten revenue, and could even result in fines.

A proactive training program helps avoid negative incidents altogether by treating training as a regular part of doing business. Managers regularly run short sessions to reinforce crucial procedures and conduct internal audits to ensure compliance. Regular training for all team members should include service standards and health and safety topics, plus ethical content such as harassment and diversity. Look for ways to incorporate short training reminders into team meetings, pre-shift meetings, or mobile digital content. And use mobile digital checklists and audits to ensure accountability and adherence.

3: One Size Doesn’t Fit All

The diversity of your team makes your business a lively and interesting place to work, but it also means that one training approach will not serve everyone’s needs. Some people work best independently, going at their own pace. Some will need interaction to keep their attention. If people are taking training through a channel they’re not comfortable with, they’ll likely disengage and retain little of the information.

Fortunately, you can meet the needs of a diverse team without investing in expensive multimodal learning programs. For example, as part of onboarding you can offer a document, short video, or online presentation for people who like to work at their own pace, then follow up with in-person meetings to review and discuss the content. Keep each session short so people can stay engaged on any channel. If you employ digital programs, ensure they’re easy for anyone to use, regardless of their comfort level with technology. Also, when collecting feedback about the training program, ask people how they felt about the delivery channel so you can adjust your approach if needed.

4: The Team Has Little Time to Devote to Training

Most restaurant teams have no wiggle room in the schedule, which leaves few options for training. However, training is important for keeping stressed employees happy and reducing turnover. And happy employees translate to happy customers. So you have to find the time for training somehow.

You’ll want to limit training after hours or on off days because people need their down time. But you can find clever ways to weave training into a typical workday, so people are learning as they work. Digital mobile checklists are a great solution for daily learning because they help team members remember the tasks they need to complete, and checklist apps offer graphics, instructions, and videos about each task so employees can get reminders about proper procedure exactly when they need it.

Digital checklists have the added advantage of keeping managers apprised of each person’s completed work, so they can ensure that regular tasks are done properly. If someone is struggling, managers can tell right away and intervene with mentoring if needed.

5: Training Isn’t Relevant to Daily Performance

The hours you devote to training should translate directly to improved performance. But generic restaurant training programs may include information that team members won’t use working at your business. Even a home-grown program can get bloated with too much information that doesn’t really help employees do their work better.

Take a hard look at the tasks and procedures that drive each role in the restaurant and ensure the program addresses them directly and completely. Remove any information from the program that isn’t directly useful. In training sessions, connect every topic to specific activities that employees will encounter so they know when and how they’ll apply what they’re learning.

Digital mobile audits can help you determine what content to include in training. For example, you can base training content on the topics audits address since those are the high priority metrics for the business. When audits reveal areas where team or individual performance is slipping, you can review whether training is covering the tasks appropriately and adjust as needed.

Learn How MeazureUp’s Digital Mobile Audits and Checklists Help Build a Powerful Training Program

MeazureUp’s digital checklist, DailyChex, and mobile audit solution, AuditApp, help management develop and deliver highly effective training programs.

  • Use customized checklists to support employees’ performance and reinforce essential procedures and policies.
  • Allow easy access to training documents and SOPs.
  • Assign remediation and follow-up responsibilities in the app for increased accountability.
  • Track performance over time by region, location, team, or individual.
  • Create performance reports in minutes to measure training effectiveness and capture troubling trends.

MeazureUp’s highly usable applications help your team make the most of any training time you have by keeping learning relevant and engaging. Managers have the accountability necessary to adjust training as needed and ensure positive outcomes. As a result, learning and improving becomes a natural part of every day’s work.