How To Train New FOH Staff

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Have you got anything in place to train up your new restaurant staff? Try these 8 tips and you’ll be well on your way to having the perfect waiting staff.

#1 Hire the right person.
Simple but so often overlooked. Pick someone new who will fit in with your team, even if they don’t have that much experience. Much better to train someone up who has the right attitude than try and change someone with the wrong attitude. A bad attitude in FOH staff can seriously damage your business.

#2 Get organised
Make a list of everything the job involves. Everything. Think about what the priorities of the role are. Make this list the basis of your training but do it in the right order. There’s little point in showing someone how to take an order if they don’t yet know the menu. Make sure this list is easily accessible to all staff and remember to update it as and when roles change.

#3 Shadowing
Have your new trainee ‘shadow’ your every move. You know what’s best for your business so you’re the best person to shadow. The trainee will see how you operate, how you speak to customers and your staff and just what you expect of the business. You’ll also show your employee that you can muck in and get your hands dirty.

#4 Answer their questions
No matter how naïve the question may seem, answer it in a polite manner. It may seem common sense to you but you’ve been here
a while. Remember that every restaurant is different and your trainee is likely to be used to doing things in a different way. Your mantra should be, ‘the only stupid question is the one left unasked.’

#5 Ask questions
When your trainee has a couple of days 
under their belt, start asking questions about the areas you have covered. Be clear that you’re not trying to catch them out. Ask them to describe menu items. If their response is hesitant, show them how to do it and get them to have another go. Much better they fail in front of you than a paying customer.

#6 Role play
Pretend you’re a customer and get your new trainee to take your order. If you feel like being mean, be a really difficult customer. Then switch around and let them be difficult. Your trainee will get the practise and will know how to react and you’ll get to see how they can handle the situation.

#7 Shadow them
Once the training is complete let them take the reigns but give them the safety net of knowing that you’re right behind them if they need you. Be ready to step in if they start to lose their way. At the end of the shift, go over what needs more work and point out and praise the things they did well. Before their next shift, remind them about where they need to focus.

#8 Give them space
If you think they’re ready, give them the space and give the occasional piece of advice if needed. No one likes to think they’re being nannied, so keep this to a minimum. They need to make mistakes to learn, just as long as these mistakes don’t affect your customers experience.

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