What Do Aliens and Restaurant Trainers Have In Common?


When it comes to waitstaff training, your restaurant trainers are even more important than your trainees. So how do you select trainers and get them prepared? If their only frame of reference is how they were trained, they may not be equipped to succeed and the cycle of training shortcomings will continue.

Try this exercise at your next trainer’s meeting. Ask for a volunteer, then set the scene: “A barefoot alien has landed in the yard and desperately needs a pair of shoes. I’ll pretend to be the alien and, not knowing a thing about putting on and lacing up shoes, I’m going to follow your instructions exactly.”

The volunteer may have no idea of where to start or where to go. Others in the group may pitch in an idea or two. Whatever the instruction, it’s bound to be clumsy. You’ve tied your shoes thousands of times, but teaching another person to do it is difficult. The same challenges faces restaurant trainers.

What matters? Getting the shoes tied. Yet folks involved in this exercise will often disagree about the “right way” to proceed. The point is that there are many right ways to tie shoes. Don’t argue about how to get there — just focus on the end result.

Restaurant trainers need to be taught to train in the same fashion as new employees are trained to work. Candidates should shadow a seasoned trainer in action, watching how he or she trains each topic. The trainer should ask questions to reinforce information, and then be gradually given more responsibility, even in the face of a mistake or two. That’s how people learn.

Restaurant Service and Sales Training

The job of restaurant trainers is made easier when employees have a solid foundation of online training. The Service & Sales Excellence Waitstaff Training Series is based on Service That Sells!, a restaurant training philosophy developed by restaurant owners for restaurant owners. Click here to learn more.

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