How to Train Your Staff on Menu Knowledge

by Kristy King - Updated September 26, 2017
Provide a variety of training sessions to improve staff menu knowledge.

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.

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.

About the Author

Based in New Jersey, Kristy King has been writing since 1999. Her work has been published in "Stockpot" magazine and "Nibble" magazine. King holds a Bachelor of Arts in literature and creative writing from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.

Photo Credits

  • knife fork and menu image by Warren Millar from
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