Restaurant Training Games

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Though it usually doesn't require any formal education, working in a restaurant requires a significant amount of food service training. One way to enhance the training period for your staff is to incorporate restaurant training games into your instruction program.

Successful restaurants nationwide use various types of restaurant training games to provide pleasant and professional instruction to new hires and improve the service skills of senior staff members.

Role Playing

An ideal way to get an accurate sense of your servers' table-side manners -- and find ways to improve them -- is by conducting role playing games within your restaurant training program. Create a few basic restaurant scenarios and have your staff members act out dramatisations to see if they react appropriately. For instance, have a few staff members portray difficult-to-please customers and another portray the server. Monitor the way the server handles the situation and critique her performance at the conclusion. Create similar games that focus on the proper ways to handle issues among coworkers as well.

Blind Taste Tests

Most restaurant owners organise taste-testing meetings as part of their training so servers can accurately describe menu items to inquisitive patrons, as well as distinguish one item from another in kitchen expediting areas. You can take this restaurant training procedure a step further by administering "blind" taste tests to your servers. Have your servers seated at a table and blindfold them. Serve small samples of various menu items -- one at a time -- to each blindfolded server. Have them smell, taste and try to guess what each sample is. This game helps servers to recognise food items by taste and smell and distinguish distinct differences in items with similarities.

Waitress Relay Races

In fast-paced high volume restaurants, speed, balance and agility are required to provide fast and efficient service with minimal spills, collisions, accidents and injuries. An effective way to train inexperienced servers, and to enhance the skills of seasoned professionals, is by creating waitress relay race games. Set up an obstacle course in the dining area -- preferably before or after business hours -- and assemble your servers to compete against one another as individuals or in teams. Have a table of make-believe customers seated at a table on one end of the course, and a table of dishes, water glasses and silverware at the other end. Provide servers with trays to serve the drinks and plates to the customers while manoeuvring through the obstacles. Use a stop watch to time participants and establish a winner. Set the rules according to your specific restaurant server needs.

Restaurant Jeopardy

A fun way to encourage restaurant workers to learn more about your establishment and memorise menu items and ingredients is to play "Restaurant Jeopardy." Modeled after the well-known TV game show, "Jeopardy," the game includes numerous categories of answers to questions that relate to the restaurant, employees, company policies and menu items. The object of the game is for players to choose different categories -- such as "Company History," "Dessert Menu" or "Dining Room Floor Plan." Participants are given the answer and required to assign the appropriate question. For example, if you choose to play within the "Dessert Menu", and are given the answer, "A warm slice of chocolate cake topped with vanilla ice cream, hot fudge and whipped cream," the appropriate question would be, "What is a brownie sundae?"