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How to ensure your trainers are on message

Shadowing is a common training practice in the restaurant business, especially for the front of the house staff. It's hard to dispute the benefit trainees receive watching someone do the actual task that they will do once their training program is completed. It is part of the listen, see and do model of training. However, how does a restaurant owner ensure that his trainers are training to standard and not passing along their own bad habits?

As a restaurant owner or manager, you cannot be entirely sure at every given moment your trainers are training exactly to your standards, but there are steps you can take to make sure your trainers do know your standards and how to train accordingly.

1. Create standard and procedure documents.

These documents list the restaurant’s standard of service and below the standard lists the procedure on how to carry out the standard.

For example:

Standard: Pre-shift Duties

All employees must arrive 15 minutes prior to scheduled shift and be ready to clock in no earlier than five minutes before the start of the shift.


•    Arrive 15 minutes prior to shift.
•    Park in designated parking area in back behind kitchen door.
•    Enter restaurant in proper uniform.
•    Take care of all personal business.
o    Put hair up
o    Use restroom
o    Make personal phone calls
•    Verify your bank.
•    Ensure all uniform tools are in order.
•    Check floor plan.
•    Check sidework schedule.
•    Check in with management.

The standard area in this case tells the employee exactly what is expected for preshift and the procedure explains exactly how to accomplish the standard.

2. Create a training lesson plan for each standard and procedure.
A lesson plan for each standard and procedure will explain to every person in charge of any part of a trainee’s program how to teach the standard and procedure.  
An example for the above preshift standard would be:

Subject: Preshift Responsibilities

Class: Server Training
Length of Lesson: 20 minutes
Job Category(ies): Server


Each participant will understand the knowledge and duties required to perform preshift activities consistently and accurately.


Interactive discussion; hands on instruction; hands on training.

3. Have your trainers complete these documents, thus creating the actual training manual.

This is imperative. Although it may take longer, this drives home the standards and training procedures to the people who will actually be conducting the training. If you give them a manual to read and tell them to train from of it, they never will. But if they create the manual, the chances for success grow infinitely.

Scrap your old, dusty training manual from the shelf, gather your key training staff and put a plan together that encompasses your standards, reduces ambiguity and promotes buy-in from those who are teaching the next generation of your workforce. In return, you will gain the peace of mind that the standards you have in place will be mapped out consistently.

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