A Comprehensive Checklist for Saudi Restaurants on Creating an Effective Restaurant Staff Training Manual

Illustration of Restaurant Staff Training Guide

The restaurant industry is a labor-intensive industry. No matter how many innovations come about, the need for staff still remains, both at the front end and the back end. Therefore, the importance of training and a comprehensive restaurant staff training manual cannot be understated. A high standard of service can only be set through defining and following prescribed guidelines rigorously, which can be achieved with a staff training manual. A staff training manual is not just a written set of do’s and don’ts for your employees. It is a resource for employees to go back to and understand the reasons why those restaurant policies exist. It is closely connected with the customer service vision of your restaurant brand. This article is a definitive guide on how to create a staff training manual for restaurants in Saudi Arabia.

How To Write A Restaurant Staff Training Manual?

Here is a step by step process for how to write a restaurant staff training manual followed by some tips you should consider to make the most of this resource.

1. Writing The Basic Staff Training Manual

The first thing to do while composing your restaurant staff training manual is to write a rough outline of it. This rough outline, however, should not just be a series of notes regarding what you will include or not include in the manual but should include a list of the key training topics without customizing it for the user itself. 

Here is a step by step process to write a restaurant staff training manual for the Saudi Arabian restaurant space:-

(i) Assemble All Information

The first step is to assemble all the information that must go in your manual. Start by categorizing various operations in the order of their importance then go into the nuances of conducting the operations. The major areas that your restaurant staff training material should talk about are:-

Front of the house operations
  • Order taking and delivering
  • Table management
  • Cleaning after tables
  • Etiquette to greet customers
  • Table etiquette to follow
  • How to ask for customer feedback
  • How to respond to negative feedback
  • How to handle dissatisfied customers
Back of the house operations
  • How to handle technology being used
  • Cleaning duties and hours
  • How to check, order and unload inventory
  • How to manage vendors and raw materials coming in
  • How to operate various machines in the restaurant How to process the orders coming in from the front of the house

(ii) Decide The Flow

Once you have all your information ready,  decide the flow of the information. You can choose what to explain first and what to keep for the last depending upon the nature and format of your restaurant.

(iii) Divide Information Into Modules, Chapters, and Key Points

This portion will be the main crux of your manual. It will include different job roles, job descriptions, the duties of each, how to carry out those duties, and explanations of any technical details that the employees may need to know to perform their duties effectively.

For this, take the information you had assembled earlier and divide it into different modules. Edit the unnecessary information now. If you think something is getting repetitive, check if this is the case in just one module or across many different ones or else you may end up deleting necessary information for someone.

Once you have divided and written down all this information, read it once again module by module, and chapter by chapter to ensure nothing is missing. There should be no gaps in information, and the content should be correct and easy to understand.

(iv) Include Summaries, Previews, and Tests

Once the basic model of your manual is ready, add chapter summaries, chapter previews, and chapter-wise tests for the convenience of your staff.

(v) Add An Index Page And A Table Of Contents

This is the most important part of your restaurant staff training manual. Remember, your training manual is not just a guide for first-timers but also a resource that your already trained employees can turn to, whenever needed.

If they need to read an entire manual for a single query, they might as well let it go unresolved. Adding an index page and a table of contents will make your manual practical, and usable, for both your new hires and seasoned employees.

2. Adding Value To The Manual

Once you have the content of your training manual in place, the next area to focus on is adding value to it.

(i) Clarify Who You Are Addressing 

Address the person reading the manual directly. Instead of using terms like ‘the staff member must..’ or ‘the employee should…’ directly write ‘you must’. This creates less confusion, gives an active voice to the manual.

(ii) Include Real-Life Scenarios

Put in as many examples as possible and while you are doing so, describe and analyze real-life scenarios that the staff members will be able to relate to. This will not only make the manual more relevant but also lay down an example for your new hires as to how problems are solved in the restaurant.

(iii) Add a Fun Element

A formal title may sound too weighty and discourage your staff from reading it. Add a little fun element and show your restaurant’s sense of humor by calling the training manual something else like, ‘Our How-To Book’ or ‘The PlayBook’. This has a more casual tone, and in turn, will make it seem like a lighter read. 

(iv) Highlight Your Restaurant’s Mission 

Most restaurant owners, instead of focusing on what the employees must do, focus more on what they must not do while creating their restaurant staff training manual. This can make them defensive and disengaged at work.

Reverse this by talking about the vision and mission of your restaurant instead. This gives the employees a larger goal to relate to and work towards. This also tells them how they fit into the restaurant’s vision and gives them a wider set of ideas to work with and boosts their motivation to work itself.   

(v) Add What You Expect Out Of The Employee

Do not just tell the employees what they must not do or what your goal is, but also how they fit into it. Mention the duties of each position and what is expected out of them on the job. Just assuming that a staff member will know what is expected of him/her by reading through the manual is a recipe for disaster.

(vi) Make It Fun To Read

As serious as the material is, make it easy and fun to read. Include quizzes, some jokes, practical tests, etc in order to break the monotony. Play with the font, make the manual colorful, or add designs and colors in the background. The point is to not let it feel like a school textbook.

Writing restaurant staff training manuals may not be an exciting part of running a restaurant, but it definitely is one of the most important parts of staff training. Thus, the value of writing an effective training manual for restaurant staff cannot be overlooked. Follow this effective guide on how to create a staff training manual for your Saudi restaurant and make staff training easier for your new employees!

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Daniel McCarthy is a seasoned restaurant consultant and serves as the Communication Manager at Restroworks, a prominent F&B SaaS company. Drawing from his vast knowledge of leveraging innovative technological solutions, Daniel excels at enhancing restaurant operations and revenue, thereby contributing to the ongoing transformation of the industry.


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