Waitstaff Training Mistakes and How You Can Avoid Them


How effective is your waitstaff training program? When training your employees in the fine art of service and sales, it’s not enough to deliver the message and expect it to sink in. How the message is communicated is equally important, which can lead to shortcomings from even the most well-meaning trainers. Keep your waitstaff training sessions on track by avoiding these common mistakes:

Mistake: Lack of relevance. If employees can’t see the benefit of the restaurant training, they’ll tune out and you’ll struggle to get them to tune back in.

Solution: Explain why you’re having the waitstaff training session in the first place, focusing on how it will benefit everyone involved. Describing WII-FM – “what’s in it for me” – is always a good place to start. If you’re working on sales strategies, for example, the benefit might be increases in per-person check averages and, in turn, tips. Don’t be afraid to ask: “Does everyone understand the benefit of what we’re training on today?”

Mistake: Not realistic. If it’s hard to execute the server training in the real world, the discomfort your employees feel will probably outweigh the suggested benefits of a change in performance, rendering your training ineffective, if not useless.

Solution: Don’t lose touch with reality. Whatever you ask servers to do should be do-able in their minds, not just yours. If there are skeptics in the crowd, demonstrate first-hand how the training can be put to work the very next shift, then, if possible, relate past success stories. Depending on the subject matter, role playing may be helpful.

Mistake: Too one-sided. If you’re doing all the talking, you can be sure there aren’t too many employees listening.

Solution: Make your waitstaff training interactive. Involve attendees in discussions. Ask questions. Seek input and suggestions. After all, it’s their training session as much as it is yours.

Restaurant Service and Sales 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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