How to Efficiently Train New Summer Restaurant Employees

The first official day of summer is quickly approaching, and this summer season comes with great news for restaurants.

As a result of an improving economy and consumer's pent-up demand for the restaurant experience, restaurants are expected to add a record amount of jobs this summer season. According to the National Restaurant Association, there are 508,000 jobs projected to be available. This is the second consecutive year the industry is adding more than half a million jobs during the summer season.

This is all fantastic news for the industry as a whole. But as you know, onboarding new employees while maintaining day-to-day operations can be stressful for managers. A disorganized approach will be stressful to new employees, as they will feel ill prepared to handle the job. It'll also be annoying for more experienced staff who may need to make up for the mistakes of fellow staff.

So with these realities in mind, here are some tips to keep your stores running efficiently while new employees get up to speed.

1) Standardize the training process - Whether it's a new chef, bus boy, or server, come up with a set list of things these new hires need to know. To be extra clear on expectations, use a digital task management system like Squadle to create a training task list for managers that can be shared across locations.  Large chains usually have set employee tests and other set processes for training. Smaller organizations may not have these things, but even starting small and making a checklist of things that need to get covered during training is a great start.

2) Empower experienced staff to share their knowledge - Deepen your staffs' knowledge of the menu and spark their interest in the company by holding 15 minute pre-shift meetings. Select experienced employees to hold training sessions on topics like wine tasting or cooking demonstrations. This is a great way to show long-time staffers you value their knowledge, while also passing along that knowledge to new seasonal employees.

3) Hold a competition - Build camaraderie with friendly sales competitions between restaurant locations. This will bring experienced and seasonal employees together under a common goal and bridge the potential divide between the two groups. A summer wine sales competition, with the grand prize being a staff wine tour, is one great option.

4) Give them an allowance - To encourage new employees to learn the menu, give your employees a restaurant allowance for them to spend at your restaurant. For servers, this will help massively with sales.

5) Create a dedicated training day - Before the summer season really takes off, consider consolidating these training activities into one training day when it's not busy. For experienced employees tasked with training newbies, this will reduce frustration. For new employees, it will give them a chance to really focus and absorb all the information they need to for training so they are much less stressed and much more successful when prime time comes.

A great customer experience begins with the employee experience. If employees are engaged with their work, getting along, and feel like they have all of the information they need to do their jobs, that will all directly benefit the customer experience in a positive way. For a successful summer season, begin by looking inward to how you can improve the employee experience for new employees.

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