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Restaurant Training Checklists Are Important Tool

quoted from John Foley
Training tools and aids make the difference between education and knowledge. Education, the act of imparting information, isn't difficult for those who are familiar with the subject. Yet, learning the subject may take more than a quick training session.  Knowledge comes from learning and retaining what was taught and is expected to be clutched. Simply, training tools make the difference between learning and forgetting.

Every restaurant staff deserves a variety of tools to help make them successful and to perfect their professionalism. These tools need to be strategically posted throughout the restaurant for the staff to reference, throughout their shift when they are not sure about a certain procedure.

I couldn't help notice the recipe card for one of the company's drinks. The well defined card (pictured, right) outlined the steps to drink perfection. I have always wondered how the baristas can create drinks that are being called out faster than a Gatling gun without missing a beat, pump, or steam wand. The refresher recipe card explains a lot.

Now to create these cards once the game has begun is not an easy task. In the perfect world they would have been developed and filed on your computer for ease of editing. But that most likely was only a dream that ended just after the doors opened.
And, if you do have them placed throughout the restaurant, now is the perfect time to check and edit the cards.

Here are 10 tips on training tools.
  1. Plating consistency is imperative. Plating pictures help.  Photos of each plate, including salad, appetizer, entree, or dessert should be placed on a board and labeled near the plating station. Styling the food on the plate exactly the way the chef created it makes this an efficient way to achieve consistency. 
  2. Coffee recipes and tea service. Recipes for coffee drinks and the procedure for serving tea – (one bag or a selection; a pot of hot water or just a cup) are all steps that need to b defined. 
  3. Dessert plating. use a picture, especially for daily dessert specials. Also define the amount of ice cream and whipped cream to be served. 
  4. Opening checklists. Even the smallest restaurant is too large to run without an opening checklist. Laminate them and have the assigned server initial each task. You can divide up the checklist. 
  5. Closing checklists. If you are so slow you don't need a closing checklist to close, find a real estate agent. Closing procedures save you money. Turn down the air conditioning, turn off the kitchen fan, turn off the stereo are all music to the accountant's ear. 
  6. Server station setups. New servers forget to set up the server station with pens, water pitchers, coffee cups, saucers and other items that break the rhythm of the dining room if they are not around. 
  7. Bar setup. Bar customers hate to wait. Describe how many limes, lemons, olives need to be cut diced, sliced, and kept under the bar. Explain fruit and juice rotation. It may sound elementary today, but wait until the bartender doesn't show up, and Steve the server has to stand in for Johnny the bartender. 
  8. Cooler map. If nothing else this will alleviate any violations from the health department when the inspector realizes the raw chicken does go on the bottom shelf. With today's computer programs, designing and designating cooler shelf space is a breeze. Define rotation on the sheet and don't forget to post an inventory checklist in the cooler. 
  9. Glass stacking. Make sure the bussers and the dish know how many, where they go and ho to check for spots. 
  10. Batch and deposit checklist. Your manager is sick. You're on vacation. And the deposits have stopped going into the bank from American Express. Nobody had the batching instructions. Go over the deposit procedures with one or two trusted employees, and leave the instructions in a drawer, just in case. It will make that vacation a lot more enjoyable. But then, what restaurant owner can take a vacation? 

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