The recipe for restaurant training success: why "bite-sized" is key

February 9, 2024


Elena Obolonskaia

Discover effective restaurant training methods inspired by microlearning to improve staff performance in this comprehensive guide.
The recipe for restaurant training success: why "bite-sized" is key

Content of the Restaurant Training Guide:

  1. The challenge of restaurant training
  2. Why microlearning is the best staff training strategy
  3. Restaurant challenges microlearning helps tackle
  4. Implementing microlearning in 5 steps
  5. 11 scenarios where microlearning can be effective for training restaurant staff
  6. Additional resources

The importance of effective restaurant training

In the fast-paced restaurant industry, ongoing staff training is the secret sauce to success. Whether you're a small cafe, a family-owned diner, or a high-end, Michelin-starred establishment, the quality of your service and food depends on the skill of your staff. In this blog post, we'll talk about a new method of restaurant training. You'll learn why microlearning is the best strategy to reduce turnover, improve performance, meet compliance regulations, and fit customers' changing expectations.

The challenge of restaurant training

Running a restaurant is a constant juggling act. You need to maintain a high level of service, ensure consistent food quality, and keep up with evolving industry standards. Yet, one of the biggest challenges restaurants face is staff turnover. The restaurant industry is known for its high employee turnover rates, with many employees leaving within the first year of employment.

According to data from Toast, turnover rates still haven’t fallen back to pre-pandemic times, and “bad management” is a top reason employees leave.

So, how do you address this challenge? Toast recommends ongoing training.

“It’s possible that restaurateurs and their managers can help improve manager perceptions by shifting focuses to ongoing training and professional development.”

And it’s not just employees that are hurt by the lack of proper training. It affects customer experience, too. A survey conducted in 2023 in Australia, found the leading issue of restaurant customers was “lack of staff or poorly trained staff at the venue.”

But in the fast-paced, low-margin environment of restaurant work, traditional training methods —which require learners to click through boring slides, watch outdated videos, or waste time reading lengthy documents— won’t cut it. Enter microlearning.

What is microlearning?

Microlearning is an approach to employee training that involves breaking down content into smaller, easily digestible modules. These modules can be in the form of audio clips, videos, quizzes, interactive questions, or short written materials. By delivering information in bite-sized pieces, microlearning makes it easy for employees to absorb and apply knowledge, improving retention and job performance.

Why microlearning is the best ongoing staff training strategy for restaurants

Here are a few reasons why microlearning is more effective for training restaurant staff compared to traditional training methods:

  • Bite-sized learning: Microlearning breaks down training materials into small, easily digestible modules. For restaurant staff who are often rushed, microlearning allows them to access training materials in short bursts, making it more convenient and manageable.
  • Just-in-time learning: Microlearning provides on-demand access to training materials, allowing restaurant staff to quickly access specific information or refresh their knowledge when needed. This flexibility is especially helpful in the fast-paced restaurant industry, where situations can change rapidly.
  • Enhanced engagement: Microlearning often incorporates interactive elements such as quizzes, games, and videos, which can engage restaurant staff more effectively than traditional training methods. Interactive elements make the learning process more enjoyable and memorable, leading to increased engagement and knowledge retention.
  • Mobile accessibility: As restaurant staff are constantly on the move, being able to access microlearning on mobile devices is critical. This accessibility allows staff to learn anytime, anywhere, enabling them to learn during downtime or while on the go, enhancing their learning experience. And with the majority of restaurant staff being aged 16-34, mobile-first training makes sense for them.

Use microlearning to tackle challenges in restaurant training

Reduce turnover

One of the most significant advantages of microlearning in restaurant staff training is its ability to reduce turnover. The traditional onboarding process often involves overwhelming employees with vast amounts of information during long, monotonous training sessions. This can be discouraging, leading to disengagement and low knowledge retention. It’s also difficult to conduct ongoing training in this way.

Microlearning, on the other hand, breaks down training into small, manageable segments that employees can complete during their shifts or breaks. This not only reduces the initial stress of training but also encourages employees to continue learning and growing on the job. With bite-sized lessons, they can easily fit learning into their busy schedules, which makes them better able to perform their job with little-to-no friction.

Improve performance

Microlearning isn't just about making training more accessible; it's also about making it more effective. Short, focused modules enable employees to concentrate on specific skills and concepts, resulting in better understanding. Whether it's perfecting a new dish, mastering service etiquette, or learning how to operate new equipment, employees can use microlearning to fine-tune their skills incrementally.

Furthermore, microlearning allows for real-time feedback and assessments, enabling staff to receive immediate guidance and corrections. This constant feedback loop empowers employees to excel in their roles and provide top-notch service consistently.


Meet compliance regulations

Compliance with food safety, health, and safety regulations is crucial in the restaurant industry. Failing to follow these regulations can lead to serious consequences, including fines, shutdowns, and damage to your reputation

You can customize microlearning to ensure that all employees are up-to-date with the latest compliance regulations. It allows for quick distribution of new policies and procedures, ensuring that everyone is on the same page. This approach not only reduces the risk of compliance violations but also shows your commitment to providing a safe dining experience for your customers.

Meet changing customer expectations and preferences

In today's restaurant landscape, customer preferences and expectations are constantly evolving. Whether it's dietary requirements, eco-friendly practices, or the latest culinary trends, restaurants need to adapt quickly to stay competitive.

Microlearning offers a flexible and efficient way to keep your staff informed and prepared for these changes. You can introduce new menu items, ingredients, and preparation methods in small steps. Also, customers can provide feedback and share preferences with staff in real time, allowing them to adjust their service accordingly. This adaptability is essential for meeting the dynamic expectations of customers.

Implementing microlearning in your restaurant training (in 5 steps)

Now that we've established the benefits of microlearning in restaurant training, it's time to consider how to implement it effectively in your establishment:

  1. Identify key training topics: Determine which areas of your restaurant's operations require consistent training. These could include menu changes, food safety, customer service, and compliance with regulations.
  2. Create bite-sized modules: Develop short and engaging training modules for each topic. Use a mix of videos, interactive quizzes, and short text content to keep training interesting and make it consumable on the job.
  3. Provide easy access: Ensure that your staff can easily access training materials. Use mobile apps or online platforms to make training available on-demand.
  4. Feedback and assessment: Implement feedback mechanisms to assess employees' understanding and progress. Provide immediate guidance and constructive criticism when appropriate.
  5. Regular updates: Keep training materials up to date, especially when there are changes in the menu, regulations, or customer preferences.

Watch Ladybird Taco restaurants presenting their microlearning materials at MicrolearningCONF

11 scenarios where microlearning can be effective for training restaurant staff

1. Menu updates

When a restaurant introduces new menu items or updates existing ones, microlearning can provide short modules that introduce the new items and their preparation methods. This enables staff to quickly familiarize themselves with the changes and ensures they can provide accurate information to customers.

For quick retrieval, place QR codes leading to more information right in the kitchen. For the front of the house - stick it to the waiter station or staff notepads.

💡 Ideas for training restaurant staff on menu updates:

  • Short videos or GIFs showcasing the preparation process of signature dishes.
  • Quick quizzes on ingredients or cooking techniques.
  • Courses on cooking “free-from” dishes for customers with food allergies.

Involve the team in making content and providing feedback on all the training materials.

mobile_training_for_restaurant _kitchen_staff

2. Safety and hygiene procedures

In the restaurant industry, safety and hygiene procedures are incredibly important. Microlearning can offer short modules that address specific safety protocols, such as proper handwashing techniques preventing cross-contamination in food allergies (check out a 7taps course example), or handling hazardous substances. This allows staff to reinforce their knowledge regularly and ensures compliance with safety standards.

Tip: Place QR codes with short manuals next to kitchen equipment

💡 Safety and hygiene training topics for restaurant employees

3. Upselling techniques

You can use microlearning to train staff on effective upselling techniques. Short modules can provide examples, tips, and strategies to help staff promote additional menu items or special offers, enhancing their selling skills without overwhelming them with excessive information. For example, create a microlearning course with flashcards of popular menu pairings to reinforce cross-selling knowledge.

4. Customer service skills

To improve staff's customer service skills, you can provide short modules on active listening, conflict resolution, or handling difficult customers. These modules can offer practical tips and scenarios that help staff enhance their skills in dealing with various situations they may encounter while interacting with customers. With 7taps Microlearning, you can even create scenario-based simulations using AI video to practice problem-solving skills.

💡 Customer service skills training topics for restaurants


5. Team communication and collaboration

Newcomers require special attention when joining a new team. Make them feel welcomed, appreciated, and engaged. With 7taps Learning Paths, you can create a series of courses that drip out over a scheduled time frame to smoothly onboard new team members without overwhelming them with information. Include short trivia bites as a fun way for team members to get to know each other.

Help the team spirit by providing micro-lessons on effective communication skills and active listening. Don’t forget to offer a safe way to submit anonymous feedback about areas that have room for improvement.

💡 Launch a monthly newsletter to share best practices among employees.

6. Leadership and management skills

Proper training for restaurant managers and team leads is critical. You can include a variety of micro-lesson content, from dealing with specific job responsibilities during a shift to leading people.

💡 Ideas for restaurant leadership and management training topics


7. Rapid updates and communication

The restaurant industry is incredibly fast-paced, and you need a way to keep employees up to speed. Whether you introduce new takeout containers or new regulations - with microlearning, you can deliver updates to the team in no time. Use 7taps Microlearning to deliver messages via SMS, Email, Slack, or Microsoft Teams.

💡Informal updates are great, too. Create fun birthday mini-courses on employees' birthdays, making them feel like an integral part of the team. Small acts like this can go a long way toward reducing turnover.

8. Customer education

With a microlearning tool like 7taps, you can generate a QR code that will link to your course. This makes it useful, not just for staff training, but for improving the customer experience, too.

💡Make guests with food allergies feel welcomed and valued. Place a QR code with information about allergens in different dishes and options for modifications or alternatives.

9. Performance support

Effective training needs to deliver the right information to the right person at the right time and in the right place. Using 7taps QR codes, you can easily place job aids in the location where they are most useful  - on equipment, on recipe cards, or by the sandwich station. Employees can scan the codes via their phones and get all the essential information on the screen right away.


10.  Emotional well-being

A restaurant is often a multicultural workplace that needs a psychologically safe atmosphere. This means fostering inclusivity, respect, and open communication. You can use microlearning to address these points and create a supportive and inclusive work environment valuing mental health and well-being.

💡 Well-being training ideas for restaurant workers

  • Tips to prevent burnout when working long shifts
  • Psychological safety check-up
  • 5-min break: mental grounding technique

11. Operations and procedures

Running multiple processes in a restaurant is tough, especially during peak hours. Sometimes, team members need to step in and help colleagues from another department. Help them be prepared for literally anything by developing and distributing guidelines to streamline restaurant operations.

💡 Ideas for training on essential tasks for restaurant staff

Closing the register

Train staff on properly closing the cash register at the end of their shift. This might include reconciling cash, filling out reports, and securing the register for the next shift.

Rearranging the floor for a private event

In some cases, restaurants may need to rearrange their seating layout to accommodate private events. Staff should know how to efficiently and effectively move around tables and chairs to create the desired event space.

Following franchise guidelines

Restaurants that are part of a franchise need to adhere to specific guidelines set by the franchise. Staff should be familiar with these guidelines and ensure that all operations, from food preparation to customer service, meet the franchise's standards.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but I hope your brain wheels are turning now with all the possibilities for using microlearning to improve your restaurant training.


Conclusion: microlearning for staff proves an effective solution to restaurant training challenges

In the restaurant industry, ongoing staff training is the recipe for success. Microlearning offers a versatile, efficient, and effective way to address the challenges of high turnover, improve performance, meet compliance regulations, and meet customer expectations.

By adopting a microlearning approach, your restaurant can stay ahead of the competition and continue to provide exceptional service, ensuring that customers keep coming back for more.

As you embark on your journey to implement microlearning in your restaurant training process, remember that 7taps is here to support you! Get started with a free trial of our Enterprise Plan here.

💡 Discover more microlearning ideas

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