How to Create a Restaurant Management Training Plan

Many restaurant owners say that training staff is one of their biggest challenges. And the National Restaurant Association says that hiring and training new management can cost a business $15,000 — while turnover in the industry is at an all-time high. That’s a lot of money invested in restaurant management training with no guarantees your new hires will stay. 

That’s why you need the most effective restaurant manager training plan you can create to ensure your trainees are successful in their roles and engaged and invested in your business. 

Why a restaurant manager training plan is important

Managers have the largest impact on your restaurant’s operations and guest experience. They are responsible for the efficiency and contentment of your staff, the quality of your food, your financials, and your overall guest satisfaction. If your restaurant management training program fails to address all facets of your daily operations, it could affect the quality of your business in the following ways: 

  • Lower turnover – Effective restaurant management training programs have been proven to reduce employee turnover by 9%. If you consider the high cost of training, that’s the potential cost of a manager’s annual salary. 
  • Less effective managers – If your managers are not exposed to consistent, efficient, and high-quality training, they’re more likely to pass on the same sub-standard training to new staff, which will negatively affect daily operations.
  • Lower sales – Inconsistent management and high turnover means a less-than-stellar customer experience, which ultimately results in lower sales. 

Key skill requirements for restaurant managers

Developing a restaurant management training program can be overwhelming. Making a checklist of all the topics you’d like to cover can help ease this feeling. Generally, any restaurant manager training program should cover most or all of the following: 

  • Food safety and food waste
  • Workplace safety
  • Cash handling
  • Procurement
  • Inventory management
  • Running and analyzing key reports 
  • Training on key equipment
  • Alcohol handling/service
  • Managing new hires
  • Employee conflict management
  • Customer service
  • Marketing (e.g., oversight of social media, online reviews, etc.)

What to include in your restaurant manager training plan 

So, what does a restaurant manager training plan look like? Here are the essential ingredients, if you will, to train your restaurant managers for success. 

Highlight your business values

As you go through your restaurant’s employee handbook, emphasize your core values and mission statement, how you and your staff promote them and why you’re passionate about what you do. Include the reason you started your restaurant in the first place. 

Today’s restaurant employees care about how their choices impact larger social issues. According to LinkedIn’s Workplace Culture report, 9 out of 10 millennials would consider taking a pay cut at a company whose mission and values align with their own. Take time to work with your new managers, and be empathetic to being the new person. (After all, you were there once, too!)

Define your expectations 

In very clear terms, tell your managers what you expect from them. Remember, have high expectations and your managers will take more pride in their job. Work with them on defining their goals. Make sure that they write them down and that the goals you create with them are measurable and attainable. For example: 

  • Keep tabs on restaurant staff morale by handing out monthly surveys and correcting any underlying issues
  • Create a better guest experience by keeping track of the restaurant’s reviews on Yelp, Google, and social media. 
  • Increase traffic by xx% by making data-driven decisions on inventory and menu prices to increase profits and decrease spending

Encourage your managers to get to know your customers

Have your restaurant managers get to know your customers. This will help your clientele feel comfortable giving feedback when needed. Building relationships is important to customer loyalty and word-of mouth advertising

Your managers should keep track of common complaints and be prepared with tools to ensure they’re addressed. Make sure your managers are able to listen to customer feedback with an empathetic ear and respond in a calm and understanding manner. If your customers have a positive relationship with your managers, they’re more likely to forgive your off days, and even more likely to compliment you on your good ones. 

Ensure your managers are on top of operations

Your managers are definitely in the “people business,” but they need to understand the operational aspects of your establishment, too. That means they should know the physical space like the back of their hand and have a working knowledge of key equipment and how it’s running. From wobbly tables to leaking toilets to a freezer that’s on the fritz — your managers should be keeping an eye on any problems that could negatively impact employees or customers.  

Train your managers to perform regular “inspections,” so they can anticipate maintenance and safety issues before they become costly or hazardous. 

Continuing education for restaurant managers

Of course, there’s plenty more to know when it comes to developing a well thought-out and efficient restaurant management training program. It all comes down to the responsibilities that you’re entrusting to your managers. Here are some other resources that will help you craft a memorable and inspiring training program : 

Your managers are the lifeblood of your restaurant. They are an extension of your values, brand, and vision, which they then pass down to your staff. To make sure they are living up to your expectations, you must hold them to the highest standards. 

This means your restaurant training program must be as informative and engaging as possible. Don’t skimp on the details and leave no assumptions as to what you feel like your managers should know. Your manager training program might just be the most important tool you have to ensure the success of your restaurant. 

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