This is one of the most important things you can do to set your restaurant up for success. Make sure that you have a clear standard for everything that happens in the entire operation.
If you have clear standards, you have a starting point for training your employees. Without standards you are lost at sea. Your employees will have no idea what the expectation is.
Write them down
Make sure that your kitchen has all of the recipes written down. You want consistency no matter who is cooking on any given night. The recipe needs to be written down, the portion size needs to be spelled out, all details of the preparation, the presentation, etc., need to be clear and concise so there can be no confusion.
Once those standards are created and written down, you must now train your employees to meet those standards (as I have said many times–training is imperative to success).
Not just for the kitchen
These standards that you have created and passed on to your staff are not limited to the kitchen. You must have standards everywhere in the operation. Do you serve margaritas? How do you expect them prepared? How much tequila, what kind of fruit, do you use simple syrup, Triple Sec, Cointreau? Shaken? Stirred? Blended? Salt on the rim? As you can see, there are many ways for an employee to be confused if you don’t create standards for them to follow.
How do you make a manhatten? Do you use Rye? Bitters? How much is the standard pour in your bar? One and a half ounces? Two ounces? One and a quarter ounces? Make it clear to your bartenders…
Give your staff a little help
How soon do you answer the phone? How fast should a server get to a new table? How do you want wine presented and opened? What is the waiter tip-out policy? How fast do you want your customers greeted at the door?
What is the standard for how many customers a line cook can handle? A server? A dishwasher? Yes, a dishwasher! If you decide to go with one dishwasher on any given night, and you end up doing 200 dinners, cooks are going to have a hard time getting clean pans to cook with. Bus boys are not going to have clean silverware and glasses to set tables. I say again, yes, a standard for dishwashers.
As you can see there are many ways a restaurant employee can get confused.
Now that you have standards…
It is one thing to have standards in place. You also need to train your employees to meet those standards. You must also monitor their performance. I have mentioned many times that we don’t have the luxury of showing someone how to do something one time and then expect them to do it that way every time. It simply doesn’t work that way. We must also monitor and retrain.