As an employer, providing an effective training program is one of the most important investments you can make. The benefits include improved customer service, better product quality, more efficient processes, a safer work environment, engaged employees, and higher profits.
Training has become more important than ever as restaurant and foodservice operators battle to retain and develop the essential team members that share our passion and commitment to the industry and most importantly to our customers.
The first step is to recognize that in a restaurant there are several categories of employees, and each deserves their own training program. For example, bartenders need responsible alcohol service training, a dishwasher needs instruction on the proper process for warewashing and the safe handling of chemicals. Servers need training on how to describe menu items and even how to deal with difficult customers.
Universal topics include the restaurant’s brand, core values, and culture including what is expected of each person. Another important common core element is workplace safety.
Start with onboarding and training that ensures each employee has the knowledge and skillset necessary to perform their jobs. This includes, but is not limited to, an understanding the restaurant’s food preparation, service, safety standards, and cleaning processes.
All team members need to understand how to prevent the spread of germs and bacteria and maintain the highest standards of hygiene. Cleanliness and food safety protocols need to be part of a restaurant’s culture. One outbreak of a foodborne illness or a health code violation can have serious repercussions.
Once you have your training content developed, the next component is determining how the material is going to be delivered. Digital is the best option. It plays to the strength of today’s tech savvy work force and their preference for consuming content in small bites on a screen. Segments of 10 minutes or less is ideal. Digital delivery will lead to greater engagement especially with Millennials and Gen Z employees compared to handing them a stack of booklets and manuals.
Some operators may consider offering training selectively based on an employee’s position, tenure, or pay grade. The truth is that every employee deserves training. The ROI comes with staff retention, better performance, and improved morale that extends to recruiting. Even with dramatic increases in minimum wage, research shows that the key to keeping great team members is a combination of compensation, culture, and opportunities for growth.
Keep in mind that there are laws that dictate mandatory training for how cleaning chemicals are handled. Your chemical supplier can assist you with compliance. There are increasing instances of food allergies and everyone on your staff that prepares or serves food needs to have a basic understanding of what can make people sick how to ask the right questions.
Because restaurants are busy public places, emergencies happen. Having a First Aid Captain for every shift that has been trained in the basics of CPR and the Heimlich maneuver is wise. Emergency drills will help the team members know what to do if there is a health or safety crisis.
Encourage staff to be aware of hazards and correct them before an accident can occur. This includes boxes that are stacked too high, trip hazards, water on the floor, or equipment that is not working properly.
A renewed focus on sustainability creates another training topic. If your restaurant has sustainability initiatives, focus your education on “why” and “how” rather than simply “what.” This will help team members comprehend why certain products or processes are used and how it will benefit the triple bottom line of planet, people, and profit. Give your team the opportunity to get involved in sustainability efforts. They will likely share those initiatives with customers and even potential employees who’s values algin with yours.
At Imperial Dade, our goal is to help our customers simplify the training process. There are several ways that we can help. The Imperial Dade Cleaning Institute offers both in person and virtual programs that range from general cleaning to floor care. The IDCI features certified training professionals across the country that provide programs specifically tailored for customers’ needs. We have also partnered with outside professionals to offer food safety training. We are excited about an upcoming complimentary food safety webinar that will be presented this spring with Chef Robert McKeon.
Our HyProtection Zone Program addresses high-touch surface disinfection and hand hygiene strategies. This is a turnkey program for FOH staff who are now often tasked with cleaning.
We provide complimentary training for customers that are working with 3-compartment sinks and automated dish machines on the proper use of the chemicals that are involved in dish and ware washing.
Imperial Dade also has a comprehensive YouTube channel with 400 short videos. These videos address everything from how to mop a restroom floor to troubleshooting a dish machine. The channel is available to the public.
We are here to help with your training initiatives. Contact your local Imperial Dade location or visit our website to schedule a complimentary consultation.