After working in the restaurant industry for over eight years I have worked at several different restaurants and therefore been through several different training programs. My first experience at Macaroni Grill was
a short tour, and hour of studying the menu, a short 15 question test, and then I was on the floor. My second restaurant job at BJ's brewery was a little more in depth. About 3 days of classroom study then some food sampling, beer sampling, and of course a test, then on the floor.
It wasn't until my third restaurant job at Claim Jumper that I started to ponder the question, how much is too much training? The restaurant required four days of 2-6pm classroom training where we viewed slides, took several tests, and did some roll play. After those four days we did follow shifts with current employees. Then, a 16 page test. And if we were still around, we started on the floor, in a two table station. After my training class, I noticed only about half of the people actually made it through the program and became servers. At first I thought, well maybe it’s just their way of weeding out the bad seeds early. Then I got the opportunity to be lead trainer and classroom facilitator. I found myself frustrated. Why am I spending my time investing knowledge into these new employees when only 50% (if I am lucky) are actually going to make it through? And If I was frustrated about one training class in one store I started to wonder how much money is wasted on these big corporate restaurants in their training programs? Turnover in restaurants are so high that I find it hard to validate the need for a two-three week training program. How much is too much?