Extensive employee training can be invaluable in the restaurant business, whether you manage a small coffee shop with a few menu items or a fine dining establishment with an extensive, detailed menu. Restaurant staff members, such as hosts and servers, represent the face of the company and the food you serve to customers. Take the time to address different types of learning styles, such as visual, auditory and kinesthetic, when training restaurant staff on menu knowledge.
Items you will need
Copies of your menu
Create a computer slideshow using PowerPoint or other presentation software that uses bullet points and pictures to outline the appetizers, soups, salads, main dishes, desserts and beverages on your restaurant menu. Hold a meeting and go over the presentation with your staff to introduce the menu and address staff questions and concerns. Iowa State University recommends training sessions less than 45 minutes long to maintain employee focus and avoid information overload.
Provide restaurant staff members with the most current copy of your menu. Ask your staff to look over the menu during their free time to help them memorize the name, price and description of each dish and beverage listed.
Have daily or weekly tastings where employees can sample various menu items to help familiarize your staff on the flavor nuances of each dish. Use these tastings to talk about the ingredients that set each dish apart and create a unique flavor profile for the restaurant.
Set up mock table service scenarios where staff members can practice their knowledge of the menu while interacting with “customers” in a realistic restaurant setting. Discuss your employee’s performance and critique any mistakes that resulted from lack of menu knowledge.
Provide a quiz or test for your staff to take in order to prove their menu knowledge. For example, The Cheesecake Factory gives potential employees two opportunities to pass a menu examination with an A before hiring them.
Continue employee training throughout the year to keep staff up-to-date on changes and additions to an evolving restaurant menu.
Incorporate food safety training and allergen information when discussing menu item ingredients with your staff.