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Guidelines for Training Restaurant Servers

DATE: 17th January, 2023

Restaurant servers play a critical role in the hospitality industry, and it is important that they are trained to provide excellent customer service. As such, there are certain standards that servers should be expected to meet.

A crucial thing to emphasize in server training is the importance of providing good customer service. Servers should be friendly and welcoming, and they should be able to anticipate the needs of their guests. They should also be able to handle any problems or complaints that may arise.

Another key element of server training is proper etiquette. Servers need to know how to behave in a professional setting, and they should be aware of the proper way to handle different types of requests from guests. They should also be familiar with the menu items and be able to make recommendations based on the preferences of their guests.

If you want to get the most from your restaurant servers, there are a few things you should provide as the manager. At the core should be proper training, followed by resources your servers can utilize for support when needed.

Implement Server Training for All New Hires

Server training is an important part of the onboarding process for new hires. By providing standardized server training, you can ensure that all new employees are familiar with the company's standards and procedures for serving food and drink. This training should cover everything from taking orders to delivering food to customers. It's also important to provide training on how to handle difficult situations, such as dealing with an upset customer. Server training can help new employees feel confident and prepared to serve customers in a restaurant setting.

Cross Train Your Restaurant Servers

Cross-training your servers allows them to become more familiar with the systems and helps identify issues before they become bigger problems. When an outage does occur, having a team of servers who are familiar with the system can help resolve the issue faster. Standardizing server roles and tasks can also help prevent outages and improve performance.

This system also allows you to determine if you have the correct people in various roles. You might find that one server does better in one section of the restaurant while another is better suited behind the bar or in a supervisory role.

Have Your Servers Train With Experienced Servers

When it comes to being a restaurant server, there may be a couple of ways to do the right thing, depending on individual processes. However, following the lead of an experienced server can help ensure success in this industry. Server training is key to learning the ropes, but shadowing an experienced server can give new staff the opportunity to see how things are done in the real world and learn from their mistakes. By watching and mimicking an experienced server, your new servers will be able to develop their own style while avoiding common pitfalls.

Hold a Menu Tasting for Restaurant Servers

If you want your servers to reach their fullest potential, one of the best things you can do is hold a menu tasting. By tasting the food, they will be able to better understand the flavors and ingredients that are being used in the dishes. They will also be able to learn how to describe the dishes to your guests.

Encourage your servers to taste all of the ingredients that are in the dish. Also, have them take the time to smell and chew each ingredient. This will allow them to get a better understanding of the dish as a whole. You can also work with them on communicating how they would describe the dishes now that they've tasted them.

Your servers can take notes on what they liked and didn't like about each dish as well. This information can help you when it comes time to create new menu items or tweak the ones you have. It's always good to get new opinions on the food you're serving so you can stay on the cutting edge of your industry.

Create a Server Training Handbook

A server training handbook is a tool for you to use to help your servers succeed. It's a guide for them, but it's also a guide for you. It's crucial that you have a complete and thorough training manual for your restaurant servers to ensure consistency and safety in your workplace. A well-thought-out, detailed, and executed server handbook can also give you a leg up on the competition.

Server handbooks are common in the restaurant industry but might be poorly executed, especially if they're created by non-servers and rarely updated or changed as they should be. They're also often not focused on training new employees or improving their performance.

Here are some of the reasons why creating and keeping up-to-date with your server handbook is important:

  • It helps new employees get ramped up quickly so they can start making money right away.
  • It helps reduce training time by providing a resource that covers all the topics you would otherwise have to train on yourself.
  • It helps with employee retention because it keeps them engaged and motivated with things like incentives and rewards.
  • It makes sure everyone knows exactly how things work in your restaurant, so there are no surprises when there's an issue.

To create a server handbook for your restaurant, or to update your current one, consider who can assist you with the task and what you want the handbook to portray. Do you want to focus on etiquette, upselling, or safety? Perhaps all three should have their own section in the handbook.

Creating an atmosphere of education and motivation will encourage all your servers to do their best. After all, the most successful employees are the ones who feel their employers have their best interests in mind.

Summary

As you continue to learn how to effectively train and support your restaurant servers, you can also take a look at Responsible Training's offered courses. They have one, especially for food manager training, as well as a variety of other courses both you and your staff can benefit from.

References:

  1. 7 Shifts Blog https://www.7shifts.com/blog/how-to-create-a-restaurant-staff-training-manual/
  2. ActiveMenus https://activemenus.com/training-staff-on-menu-knowledge/
  3. Menufy https://restaurant.menufy.com/article/5-tips-for-training-new-servers
  4. Upserve https://upserve.com/restaurant-insider/provide-better-restaurant-customer-service-cross-training-employees/
  5. Menufy https://restaurant.menufy.com/article/5-tips-for-training-new-servers