Restaurant Training with Teen Employees


The restaurant industry has always attracted teen employees. In fact, about one in three American workers had their first job at a restaurant. And the truth is, we need young workers just as much as they need us. When hiring and training teen workers, you have a few goals as a restaurant manager. First, you want to bring them up to speed quickly, building their confidence along the way. Second, you want to inspire loyalty so you can keep them on your payroll as long as possible. And lastly, you want to teach them both hard and soft skills that will be the foundation of their future careers.

Training Teen Employees

Teen employees need to be trained and managed differently than older employees. Follow these tips:

  • Don’t let them work too much. Research has shown that teenagers who work over 20 hours a week show high levels of psychological distress. If a doctor can detect it, so can your customers.
  • Keep them safe. Teen employees are more likely to get hurt on the job than your more experienced workers. Training should ensure that your teen employees can recognize safety hazards and are capable of following safe work practices. If they’re not, do everyone in your team a favor and let them go. Use video training to appeal to a teen’s need for visually based training.
  • Implement a buddy system. New hires have many questions, but teens often fear looking “stupid.” A one-on-one relationship with an experienced mentor takes the pressure off and makes the new hire more productive and safer.
  • Be specific. Every parent knows that if you want a teen to do what she’s asked, you need to be very specific about the task. And, because teens have shorter attention spans than adults, you also need to be brief. Consistently and specifically restate your expectations until the behavior you want is happening.
  • Model the behavior you want. Don’t expect teens to know the rules or what’s expected of them. Role play with experienced employees in team meetings and point out basics (smiling and greeting customers, asking permission to remove a plate, filling water glasses courteously, etc.). If you don’t show them what you want, you can’t expect them to deliver it.

Cycle of Service Restaurant Service Training

With every guest who walks through the door, your staff should be striving to not only meet expectations but exceed them. Our restaurant service training follows the Service That Sells! Cycle of Service, breaks down a guest’s visit into separate steps from the moment guests pull into the parking lot until that final moment when they walk out the door. Click here for a preview.

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