Trent taking your order on an order padTwo smiling servers at a restaurant

Training Your Servers

Whether you’re opening a new restaurant or bringing on a new crop of servers, proper training is essential to the efficiency and safety of your establishment. They are the face of your restaurant, and poorly trained servers can result in a bad customer experience and damage your reputation. On the other hand, servers with knowledge of menu items, proper etiquette and safety rules can deliver an excellent experience and make customers want to come back. Today, we’re here to discuss the topics you need to cover to properly train your servers. 

Understanding Your Establishment

New and old employees alike need to understand the concept behind your restaurant. You should take the time to explain the history of the restaurant or how you got involved in the industry. Another option is to provide this information through a tour. Not only will servers better understand the establishment, but they’ll also learn about its layout. Passing this information along to your servers helps them connect with the restaurant and motivates them to do their best. 

Servers next need to understand your expectations. You should explain your management style so workers understand how to take compliments and feedback. Servers need to understand the level of service they need to provide to customers. If you haven’t already, give a tour of your establishment so servers know the location of emergency exits, restrooms and other important spaces. 


Safety Attire and Protocol

Depending on your establishment, acceptable attire for servers can range from dark colored shirts and slacks to complete uniforms. While proper clothing is necessary for keeping with your restaurant’s atmosphere, other accessories are vital for ensuring safety. If servers are directly handling food, they need to wear gloves and hairnets to avoid contamination. Aprons are an option to protect servers when handling large orders or spending long stretches of time in the kitchen. Of course, proper gear is only a part of staying safe. Your servers need to understand protocol when moving around the floor or the kitchen. In the event of an emergency or injury, servers need to know how to respond. 

Understanding the Menu

To deliver superior service, servers need to understand the menu. Customers may ask for their server’s thoughts or opinions on specific items. They may ask for suggested wine pairings or further details on how a dish is prepared. You should have servers sample all menu items so they know first-hand what their offering to customers. This is especially important if menu items, such as specials or seasonal items, are constantly changing. Having a complete knowledge of the menu also allows servers to upsell menu items when appropriate. 

Serving Customers

Before servers can start working with customers, they need to be properly trained on etiquette and best practices. Servers need to know how to complete guest checks to avoid any confusion at the end of meals. Understanding how to handle food is a must - the last thing any customer wants is to see a server touch their food, even if by accident. 

Knowing how to interact with customers is a skill that doesn’t come naturally to everyone, though it’s vital to delivering a great customer experience. Servers need to know how to greet customers and interact with them in a friendly manner. In the event of customer complaints, servers need to know who to direct issues to.


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