Stop The Burn - Restaurants Need To Start Properly Onboarding And Training Their People

Updated: Jun 24

By Jensen Cummings

“You’re hired!! Your first day at the restaurant is Monday. Why don’t you come in at 2 to do your paperwork? We’ll start your first shift at 3."

You come in right on time and your hiring manager says, “We had a really busy lunch. Let’s just get you going. Scribble down your hours and we will take care of your paperwork at the end of the night. You’re training with Susie."

Turns out Susie had no idea she would be training you yet obliges anyway. It’s an absolutely rocking night, you end up just running around being a “gopher,” and barely keeping up. Not much “training” to speak of. At the end of the shift, the manager, looking ragged, tells you to just take the paperwork home with you and come back tomorrow, “We’ll get you in the system then.”

Well, tomorrow that manager is off and nobody else knows how to process your onboarding paperwork.

This vicious cycle of a lack of procedure, communication, follow through, and accountability is pervasive across so many restaurants. This cycle sometimes perpetuates to the point where employees may not even get properly onboarded up and through pay day and find themselves, not on payroll. Most of you reading this, who have worked in a restaurant, have endured or seen this scenario play out.

How can we hold our employees to a high standard when from Day One we showed them that the “rules” are only followed when it’s convenient? We are clearly telling restaurant workers that they are not a priority and merely there to take up space to do a job that is not clearly defined or understood. We don’t have a box to stand on when we lambaste them for not “following the recipe” or “properly ringing in an order.”

We have zero credibility in this scenario yet so much blame and doubt is cast on restaurant employees for their lack of commitment, ability, and care who are just trying to survive the fires we keep setting for them with little to no support or training. Time to stop the burn, reimagine the restaurant hiring process and start properly onboarding and training your people!

To learn more, watch Day One, Into The Fire, listen to the audio podcast, and check out the full series of Tableside Vol3: Hiring Process Horror Stories.

Best Served grinds to support workplaces worth working, and that is why we are proud to collaborate with 7shifts, who has underwritten Best Served Tableside. 7shifts promotes being connected to the reality of the full employee life cycle both on the clock and off.

Jensen Cummings is a fifth-generation Chef & Certified Cicerone based in Denver, CO. His brands’ Best Served Creative and Best Served Podcast exist solely to unlock and amplify the worth and work of those who feed their community. From chefs to restaurant pros to farmers and every one in between, this work manifests with storytelling media, coaching, and strategy meant to acknowledge and empower people to do what they were meant to do. He is committed to hustle and communicate everyday to serve this mission. When he’s not out building a new model for restaurants that’s equitable, profitable, and sustainable, he’s spending precious time as a husband, a father, movie buff, beer nerd, and fan of the LA Dodgers.

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