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How to Train a Restaurant Manager

How to Train a Restaurant Manager

Picture of Nikol Moen

Nikol Moen

With proper training, your management team can become the backbone of a thriving restaurant. Learn how to train your managers to lead with excellence, create consistency across every location, and enhance the dining experience for every guest that walks through the door.

An effective restaurant manager serves as the coach of the entire restaurant team: they call the shots, help team members make corrections when they miss the mark, and encourages everyone to do their best no matter the circumstances. In the bustling world of the restaurant industry, hiring restaurant managers that not only keep daily operations on track, but also foster a positive work environment can feel like finding a needle in a haystack. 

While finding great leaders can feel challenging, there’s good news: great management can be taught through training, practice, and experience. In other words: a great manager isn’t born with management skills; they can be trained to become a winning manager for your team.Properly trained managers are better equipped to handle the myriad challenges that arise, from conflict resolution to inventory management, ensuring your restaurant thrives. 

As you invest in hiring a restaurant manager, remember the second — and perhaps most important — aspect of new hire onboarding: your restaurant manager training program. Let’s explore what to include in your restaurant manager classes and how you can implement restaurant leadership training without spending your limited time creating course content. Let’s begin!

What is a restaurant manager training program?

A restaurant manager training program is like a secret recipe for success. It’s a comprehensive way to give your managers all the skills they need to lead your team like pros. It’s customized training that covers your brand’s way of operating: from mastering customer service and staff management to nailing financial oversight and inventory control. Plus, it ensures new managers know all the health and safety regulations, keeping your restaurant in compliance.

As restaurant training becomes increasingly digital, it’s more important than ever to incorporate restaurant manager training into your learning management system (LMS). Not only does this automate the learning experience so you don’t have to spend hours training new managers side-by-side, but it also allows you to quickly update training across every location as processes change. 

You can think of digital restaurant manage training as a blend of classroom learning, easy-to-digest e-learning courses, role-playing scenarios, and hands-on practice with digital accountability. A restaurant manager training program dives into leadership development, communication skills, tools and tech, and strategic planning.

Why you need restaurant leadership training for your managers

Leadership training serves as the backbone of your restaurant operations. Without strong leadership training that teaches managers your core business values, your daily operations may be subject to subjective — rather than objective — personal decision-making. Coaching your leaders through daily operational challenges they’ll face sets the standard for excellence across every restaurant location. As you evaluate your leadership training, consider these three benefits of creating a solid training program for your managers:

  • Enhanced team performance: Well-trained managers know how to motivate and inspire their team, leading to higher morale and productivity. They can effectively delegate tasks, provide constructive feedback, and foster a collaborative work environment, ensuring that everyone is working together seamlessly to provide the best customer experience.
  • Improved problem-solving skills: The restaurant industry is fast-paced and unpredictable. With proper leadership training, managers are better equipped to handle crises, resolve conflicts, and make quick, informed decisions. This ability to navigate challenges with confidence helps keep operations running smoothly and minimizes disruptions.
  • Consistency in operations: A structured training program ensures that all managers are on the same page when it comes to your restaurant’s standards and procedures. This consistency is crucial for maintaining the quality of service, food, and overall customer experience across all shifts and locations, contributing to your restaurant’s reputation and success.

By investing in leadership training, you’re not just enhancing the skills of your managers but also ensuring the long-term success and growth of your restaurant.

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How to create a restaurant manager course

Creating a restaurant manager course tailored to your brand is a fantastic way to ensure your managers are fully equipped to lead your team effectively. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you design a comprehensive and engaging training program:

1. Identify core competencies for your restaurant managers

Start by pinpointing the essential skills and knowledge your managers need (you can find a suggested list below!). This might include leadership, customer service, financial management, health and safety compliance, and familiarity with your restaurant’s specific operational procedures. By clearly defining these core competencies, you can create a focused and relevant training curriculum.

2. Develop custom training content

Craft training materials that reflect your brand’s unique values, culture, and procedures. You likely have training content already in paper-form. Thanks to modern restaurant training tools, like ExpandShare, you can upload and transform your paper training manual into digital course material using an AI course generator. Alternatively, you can outsource custom course content creation to a professional production team and have them generate tailored training for your processes and brand.

3. Incorporate different learning methods

Combine different training methods to cater to diverse learning styles. Use a mix of classroom-style learning, online courses, role-playing exercises, and hands-on practice. This variety keeps the training engaging and ensures that all aspects of management are covered comprehensively.

4. Leverage employee training technology

Use a Learning Management System (LMS) to deliver and track your training program. A restaurant LMS allows for easy distribution of training materials, progress tracking, and updating content as needed. It also provides a centralized platform where managers can access resources at any time.

5. Include training assessments and feedback

Regular assessments help gauge the effectiveness of the training and identify areas where managers may need additional support. Incorporate quizzes, practical exams, and peer reviews. Provide constructive feedback to help managers continuously improve their skills.

6. Encourage mentorship and support

Pair new managers with experienced mentors who can provide guidance and support during their training. This mentorship fosters a supportive learning environment and allows new managers to gain insights from seasoned professionals.

By following these steps, you can create a restaurant manager course that not only aligns with your brand’s standards but also empowers your managers to lead with confidence and excellence. This investment in training will pay off in the form of a more cohesive team, improved operations, and a better overall dining experience for your customers.

What to include in your restaurant manager training course

Creating a comprehensive restaurant manager training course involves covering all aspects of restaurant operations to ensure your managers are fully prepared to lead your team. Depending on the LMS you use, you may have access to a library of readymade restaurant industry course content you can incorporate into your training program. 

Here are some suggestion on what topics you should include in your restaurant manager classes: 

Employee Management

People management can be one of the most challenging — and rewarding — aspects of management. Provide employee management training to managers that provides guidance on the following topics: 

  • New hire management: Teach managers how to effectively onboard new employees, ensuring they feel welcome and are quickly brought up to speed.
  • Conflict management: Equip managers with strategies to resolve conflicts among team members swiftly and fairly.
  • Team building: Foster a collaborative work environment to retain employees, boost productivity, and make work enjoyable. Help managers identify and leverage the strengths of each team member to maximize team performance.
  • Communication skills: Train managers to communicate clearly and effectively with their team, setting the tone for a positive workplace culture. Promote open lines of communication among team members to prevent misunderstandings and build a cohesive team.
  • Mindset modeling: Encourage managers to model the correct mindset and attitude, setting a positive example for their team.

Customer Experience Training

Guide managers on how to help team members provide a top-notch dining experience for customers. From managing challenging customers to counter server excellence, your leaders should have extensive knowledge on how to create a friendly environment that creates loyal customers that come back again and again.

Food & Alcohol Training

Teach managers about food safety standards and responsible alcohol service to ensure compliance with local laws and regulations. Your managers should be able to identify in-the-moment if any staff members or processes fail to meet local requirements — and remedy the situation swiftly without conflict. By prioritizing food and alcohol training, managers can uphold the restaurant’s reputation for quality and safety while promoting a positive dining experience for customers.

Workplace Safety

Cover essential safety protocols and procedures to maintain a safe work environment for all employees and customers. From understanding how to prevent slips, trips, and falls to having a fire safety procedure in place, your managers need to ensure the restaurant offers a safe dining and work experience for all who enter the building.

Financial Management Training

In addition to ensuring smooth operations and providing excellent customer service, restaurant managers must also possess strong financial management skills. From cash handling to PCI compliance, managers play a crucial role in overseeing financial transactions and ensuring that all financial operations are conducted safely and securely. Having a solid understanding of financial management allows managers to effectively track revenue, manage expenses, and optimize profitability. It also helps them identify and address potential risks, such as fraud or theft, safeguarding the financial health of the restaurant.

Restaurant Technology Training

In today’s digital age, restaurant technology plays a pivotal role in streamlining operations and enhancing the overall customer experience. Managers need to be well-versed in the various technology tools used in the restaurant, including the point-of-sale (POS) system, reservation software, inventory management systems, and online ordering platforms. Familiarizing managers with these tools not only ensures smooth day-to-day operations but also empowers them to leverage technology to optimize efficiency, track performance metrics, and adapt to evolving consumer preferences.

Purchasing & Inventory Management Training

Effective inventory management and purchasing practices are essential for optimizing restaurant operations and controlling costs. Managers need to understand how to maintain optimal inventory levels, minimize waste, and strategically source ingredients to ensure freshness and quality while staying within budget. By implementing efficient inventory management techniques and establishing strong supplier relationships, managers can reduce waste, prevent overstocking or stockouts, and maximize profitability. Moreover, they should be adept at analyzing inventory data to identify trends, forecast demand, and make informed purchasing decisions that align with the restaurant’s financial goals and operational needs. With proper training in purchasing and inventory management, managers can contribute to the overall success and sustainability of the restaurant.

Creating and Analyzing Performance Reports

Performance reports provide invaluable insights into various aspects of restaurant operations, from sales performance to customer satisfaction levels. Managers should not only know how to generate these reports but also understand how to interpret the data effectively. By analyzing performance metrics such as sales trends, customer feedback, and employee productivity, managers can identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions to optimize restaurant operations.

Marketing and Promotions

In today’s competitive market, effective marketing and promotions are essential for driving customer traffic and building brand awareness. Managers should be equipped with comprehensive knowledge and strategies to effectively promote the restaurant, including running successful marketing campaigns across various channels such as social media, email marketing, and local advertising. Moreover, they should understand the importance of engaging with the local community to foster strong relationships and loyalty.

Bring your restaurant manager classes to life

Creating a dynamic and comprehensive restaurant manager training course is like assembling a winning team with the head coach at the helm. By covering all essential areas from employee management and customer experience to financial oversight and marketing, you’re not just providing information – you’re nurturing the skills and leadership abilities of your managers. Remember, just as a head coach guides their team to victory, a well-trained manager is the cornerstone of a thriving restaurant, driving team performance, ensuring consistency, and enhancing the overall dining experience for your guests.

Now it’s time to rally your team! Implement your manager training program with enthusiasm, continuously gather feedback, and make adjustments as needed. With a robust training program in place, you’ll develop a team of skilled, confident leaders ready to take your restaurant to new heights. Together, you’ll score big in the competitive restaurant industry!

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