Training redux (thanks RLSERVER)

I have to thank Rlserver over at the Red Lobster Blog for this one. The entire topic of training. I’ve mentioned this a little on the BitterWaitress forums.

Training in restaurants these days have become horrible things. First, just like what Rlserver was talking about, the managers do NOT hire quality people 90% of the time. He says that he can tell within an hour who will stay and who will fail. That is true for anyone who has been training for a long time.

I’ve taught the training classes at my job (currently on suspension from teaching, still need to post that problem), and I’ve done the 1 on 1 follow training. In the past few months, out of the 18 people I’ve taught and trained in follow shifts, there are only 5 that are left. Most of them just can’t cut it, or they do something stupid like come into work drunk. Then we have those who are hired on personality alone. I don’t know why the management of corporate restaurants don’t actually prescreen people, or call their references. I took the time one day before a class to call a few references of people that were working for us. THEY WERE HORRIBLE!!!! These people are either now gone or on their last warning, or last week of a 2 week notice.

I understand that managers are under extreme pressure in a corporate style restaurant/bar to staff the building, but sometimes they need to be a little more picky. I’d much rather have an ugly as sin fat woman that knew what she was doing, even if she was a little brash, than the little hottie that’s going to cry every time she gets seated more than 2 tables. I’d rather have the guy that doesn’t talk to anyone but who does his job than the guy who talks to everyone but does nothing else.

During training, we have to deal with these rejects. We have had trainees that failed their tests 2 and 3 times, yet somehow the managers still put them on the floor. Why do they do this? Back to the staffing issue. They think that by cutting our sections down to nothing, and letting the rejects on the floor, that we’re going to have less complaints, turn the tables over quicker, and not have as many comps. The truth of the matter is, restaurants lose MORE money putting morons on tables when they aren’t ready. If they don’t listen in class and pass their tests, that shows that they’re not trying to learn the menu. That means they can’t answer questions, they ring things in incorrectly, and we lose money because entire checks are comped.

During follow training, we have people who stare off into the distance when you’re trying to explain something, and now we as trainers no longer have the authority to tell them they’re not to come back the next day because of corporate staffing pars, and the fact that corporate is always afraid of some discrimination lawsuit. We just have to talk and talk, and they don’t have to listen to a single word of it.

The fact of the matter is, all corporate restaurants need to allow franchising. I guarantee you that franchise restaurants will bring in more money, because franchise owners and their managers actually have more skill in hiring. They take the time to check things out because they don’t want their restaurant to fail. In corporate run stores, you have all kinds of people. Hostesses who stand texting on their phones and are just plain hateful at the door. Instead of “Hey guys, how are you tonight, is it going to be 2 for dinner?” The ones I work with say things like this, “How many, it’s gonna be a while, here’s a pager.” or just, “How many, 2, follow me.” They aren’t even expected to be nice because corporate restaurants just hire to staff a building. It’s sad really, how do you think Shoney’s failed and closed down half it’s restaurants. Fifth Quarter at one time was a really nice place to go (the one in nashville is closed now), but now it’s like fucking Waffle House because it’s totally corporate now. It’s TRASH!!!

O’charleys used to be a really nice place to go, and speaking as a former employee and a former cocaine user, O’charleys now only hires trash. JUST TO KEEP IT STAFFED!!! The servers and cooks there have NO skill what-so-ever!!! Trust me, we have half their old staff at my job now. RLserver is right when he says the good ones leave. The good ones usually go on to fine dining, or they get out of serving after school. Me, I’ll admit, I’m better at serving than a lot of people I know, even with my temper. It’s what I’ve mainly done for 11 years. I’ve been a trainer at both corporate and franchise owned restaurants. I LOVE serving. Yes, you don’t get to hear the good stuff, it’s just not as entertaining, but it’s there. I’m one of those who probably won’t get out of the biz for a long long time. I just wish that some of my experience could be put to good use and people higher up would actually listen to it. I wish they’d listen to other excellent servers who know what they’re doing and would know how to make a restaurant great..But it’s corporate.

Ok, so it’s ended up kinda rambly, but then again I’m tired.

Till tomorrow night everyone,


Ps. Thanks again to the Red Lobster Blog for giving me the idea for this topic. I didn’t totally steal it, just borrowed it a little.


One thought on “Training redux (thanks RLSERVER)

  1. Traning anyone is a slow and meticulous process. Especially when it comes to things like food service. Most training programs do not allow an adequate enough time AWAY from customers for any real training to happen.

    There are a few different aspects of training that need to be heavily addressed:

    The Menu (that’s a given) — which takes time to learn.

    The Computer Systems — When I served, most of my first nights “on the floor” AFTER training were spent asking people how to ring in orders, because I did not have enough time doing that.

    Lastly, and most importantly, how to deal with customers. How DO you deal with angry bitch #1? How DO you make sure angry bitch #1 isn’t allowed to steal all of your time away from your other tables? Et cetera.

    You don’t pass first grade in a week. How do you expect to learn how to deal with people who couldn’t care less about you in that amount of time?

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