Building a Positive Workplace in Restaurants–Starting with Employee Training

The restaurant industry is known for being fast-paced and employee-intensive, which can put management in a challenging position to meet both staff and customer needs.

Among the many other elements that modern-day restauranteurs must consider, staffing challenges and keeping employee retention high are key factors to running a successful restaurant today. Especially as the impacts of the pandemic linger across the industry, restaurants must find a way to promote a positive workplace culture to keep employees engaged and invested in the business. 

Let’s take a look at some of the ways that restaurants can promote a positive work environment, starting with restaurant employee training. In doing so, they can expect better employee satisfaction, increased productivity, enhanced customer experience, and overall a higher level of employee retention. 

Invest in Recruiting, Hiring, and Employee Training Efforts

First and foremost, restaurants can gain a lot when they put their resources into recruiting, hiring, and employee training. Failing to do so can leave restaurants in a viscous employment cycle that is costly and endless, and employees that feel unsatisfied in their roles. 

Thus, engaging in employee training efforts from the beginning can be very worthwhile for restaurant management teams. This allows organizations to convey what the expectations of the role are, share the company culture, and foster a supportive environment that makes new employees excited about their new position. 

With the right restaurant employee training program, managers can easily communicate with new hires, provide feedback, and encourage questions. On the same note, many restaurants are turning to employee training software to launch new hires to success. This type of software allows for these interactions in real-time and is more engaging and interactive than a physical copy of an employee handbook. 

All in all, effective recruiting, hiring, and employee training can be very important for the restaurant to find the right employees, and for staff to feel engaged and encouraged while on the job. 

Promote Friendly Competition

Another way that restaurant managers can promote a positive work environment is to encourage friendly competition among employees. Not only does this keep employees more engaged and motivated in their roles, but it can also be a bonding experience for the team that draws them closer.

While on the surface competition could appear negative, especially among a team, when done properly, it can actually help employees showcase their strengths to their peers and add some dynamism to the team.

Try splitting the staff into multiple teams for a simple competition, like which team can upsell the most deserts, or shows up on time to shifts. This can help employees who don’t normally interact engage with each other and feel more connected. Plus, giving them a clear goal or objective can help them feel like they’re contributing to something bigger, which can make them more motivated and engaged on the job. 

Make Time for Employee Recognition

Possibly one of the most important elements of building a positive work environment for restaurants is to make time for employee recognition. This type of employee engagement goes beyond initial employee training and helps provide necessary feedback and recognition throughout an employee’s tenure.

Having opportunities to recognize strong performers, outstanding customer service, or other positive traits can motivate employees to perform well on the job, and it gives them the sense that what they’re doing each day is important and doesn’t go unnoticed.

Not to mention, it just feels good and satisfying to be recognized for your efforts–so it’s likely your employees will view such efforts from management positively. Especially as restaurants continue their efforts to gain more feedback from customers about their experiences, management can pass along any compliments or positive feedback from patrons to the related parties.

So if a customer was particularly impressed by a dish or grateful for the positive customer service they received, make sure the team is aware of their impact and feel empowered to keep up the good work. 

Host Staff Mixers

Additionally, restaurants may want to host activities or events that have nothing to do with work itself in order to boost employee morale. So, try to plan events or activities outside of the restaurant that the staff can do together, like completing an escape room, going mini golfing, attending a local sporting event, or even going out to eat at another restaurant.

This can help the team bond and grow closer, without the stressors and responsibilities of being clocked in on the job. Plus, it can help management get to know their staff better, and see a different side of employees that they may not get to see while working.

In addition, events or activities can also be viewed as a reward or recognition for the team’s hard work after a particularly busy season. Therefore, management teams may want to consider planning one of these events every quarter or every month to give employees something to look forward to. 

Utilize an Employee Training Software

As we’ve discussed, building a positive workplace begins with employee training. And with employee training software, restaurant management teams can easily communicate with new employees and administer employee training across a number of locations. 

This helps restaurants to make expectations clear, get new hires well-equipped for their roles, and set and track meaningful goals that will help the employee continue growing. All of these attributes of employee training software helps management foster a positive workplace culture where employees are empowered in their roles and are committed to providing the best customer experience possible. 


When utilizing Retention 360’s Retention360 HQ platform, restaurants can leverage our easy-to-use dashboard that can be customized to your specific needs. So whether you want to upskill current employees or quickly onboard new hires, our learning management system (LMS) is the key to helping your staff grow in tandem with your business.

To try Retention360 HQ, visit our site and request a free demo today!

8 Tips for Creating a Positive Work Environment

In any work environment, but especially in restaurants, it’s highly important for management to promote a positive work environment. When employees feel welcomed, respected, and encouraged, they can be more efficient and productive, which allows them to provide a better customer experience for patrons.

While this doesn’t necessarily mean managers can’t be stern or provide feedback when necessary, it does mean that the organization should have the infrastructure and support in place to allow employees to do their best on the job and feel comfortable enough to ask questions.

So let’s take a look at some of the top tips for restaurant managers to create a positive work environment–from new hire training to nurturing tenured employees. 

1. Have Open and Clear Communication

Being transparent with staff is an important factor in building a positive work environment. Beginning with new hire training, management needs to make expectations clear so employees can understand the purpose of their role and its importance within the organization. 

As we’ll discuss later, this lends itself to employees feeling comfortable enough to ask questions, keeping the dialogue open between management and staff. In this case, there’s no confusion about what’s expected of them, or where employees need more support to do their jobs to the best of their abilities. 

2. Provide Growth Opportunities

Another way to promote a positive work environment is to give employees room to grow and explore new avenues for their talents. The truth is, many servers in restaurants are not looking to make a career out of it, so provide them with opportunities to shadow in a management position, try their hand in the kitchen, or any other areas within the business where they show interest.

When management is open to helping employees grow and develop, the staff is happier and in a better position to help the business grow. Plus, it can boost staff retention rates if employees don’t need to look elsewhere for growth opportunities. 

3. Make Time for Employee Recognition

It goes without saying that we all enjoy some recognition and praise on the job every now and then. This is an important part of keeping employees happy and motivated, so it shouldn’t go overlooked as managers try to build a positive work environment.

Management’s recognition efforts don’t need to be over the top–they can be a simple shoutout during a meeting, an email to all staff members, or something along those lines. The crucial part here is that employees feel like their hard work doesn’t go unnoticed, and is appreciated by management. 

4. Encourage Friendly Competition

This may not seem like a good way to boost employee morale and make the workplace more positive, but a good dose of friendly competition can be beneficial for employees. This gives staff members a way to show off their strengths, bond with other employees, and bring some dynamism to the workplace. 

Some examples of friendly competition among restaurant employees could be to see which team can upsell the most appetizers, which team shows up consistently on time for their shifts, or something similar. 

5. Welcome Mistakes

In any business, new hires and tenured employees alike need to feel comfortable making mistakes. Of course, there are always limits to what’s a reasonable mistake that’s a learning lesson and one that’s done out of negligence. Even still, managers need to make it clear, especially during new hire training, that it’s okay and expected for mistakes to be made.

This is a crucial part of coming up the learning curve on a new job and is almost inevitable. With good training efforts and clear expectations, managers can help large and egregious mistakes from being made, but they should be aware that things happen. 

6. Allow for Creativity and Innovation

Many good ideas and innovations in business come from the employees doing the work day to day. They see the ins and outs of the business and its operations, and likely have ideas for areas that could be improved or become more efficient. Management shouldn’t be afraid to abandon the status quo for what could turn out to be a revolutionary idea.

So don’t turn away employee suggestions, and encourage staff to use their creativity to come up with solutions for enduring problems within the company. This will help employees feel valued for their opinions, and keep them happier and engaged in a positive work environment. 

7. Don’t Micromanage

Managers that micromanage can create a toxic work environment where employees are afraid to make mistakes, ask questions, or come up with solutions to problems. Plus, the pressure of being watched constantly while on the job may lead to staff members making more mistakes than they would otherwise.

Thus, giving employees the space to do their duties instills confidence from management, and makes employees feel more empowered on the job. If management has done new hire training properly and nurtured existing employees along the way, the staff should have the tools and resources they need to do their job without being monitored every second of their shifts.  

8. Train New Hires and Upskill Employees with an LMS

Set new hires off on the right foot with a robust new hire training process. Training new hires in the modern age doesn’t have to be complicated, time-consuming, or boring. With an employee training software like an LMS, you can quickly onboard new hires, help current employees sharpen their skills, and communicate with all staff members in real-time to inform them of procedural updates, new regulations, and more. 

For the best LMS available for restaurants today, look no further than Retention 360’s Retention360 HQ platform. With an easy-to-use and customizable dashboard, management can personalize courses to fit their exact needs. Plus, our tracking capabilities allow management to provide feedback in real-time and recognize where employees need extra support. For a well-trained staff that supports business growth, utilize an LMS to streamline your training processes. 



Visit Retention360 HQ and request a free demo today!