First Impressions – Getting Your Employees Off to a Good Start

First Impressions – Getting Your Employees Off to a Good Start

Imagine reporting to your first day of work at a restaurant only to sit and wait 20 minutes for the manager to come out of the office, greet you in a distracted way then pass you off to the first employee that walks by. “You’ll be training with…. Jessica! She will show you around and maybe get you started with sidework…” At this moment, your excitement is beginning to wane, you’re not feeling so valued and your confidence in the management team is falling fast. You are beginning to question your decision to accept the job. 


And this continues throughout the training process, you don’t receive up to date menu descriptions or service manuals, and the manager on duty the next day isn’t aware of your schedule or what you need to tackle in your training. Your needs are not being met as an employee and, unfortunately, scenarios like this happen far too often.


Bad training leaves new employees without the tools to succeed. It negatively impacts your business by increasing the likelihood of a bad guest experience and it dramatically increases the likelihood that your new hire won’t stick around a place so disorganized. According to a 2013 study, 22% of all turnover occurs in the first 45 days of employment, while a formal onboarding program increases the chance of keeping an employee for at least three years by 69%. That’s a huge difference.


Successful businesses understand the “importance of hello”. The greeting at the first point of contact has a huge impact on the customer experience. Yet businesses often omit that same hospitality when it comes to their new hires, treating new employees as an afterthought. Being prepared sets the tone for the entire employment experience and can determine the success or failure of that employee… and your business.



There are many crucial points when you need to consider the impact of your employee on-boarding practices: 

Before Day 1:

  • Send a welcome email that details information on the job description, uniform standards, agreed upon availability, and a training schedule.

On Day 1

  • The GM or Manager gives a detailed tour of the restaurant and introduces the new hire to the staff. Having the “boss” welcome every new employee sets the tone that they are important and insures that vital safety standards and company policies are reviewed immediately. 

  • Every new hire should be given a packet of (paper or electronic) information that includes all the manuals and product descriptions, as well as a roadmap of their training that details what each day will bring. Make sure it’s on every manager’s calendar. 

Week 1:

  • At each pre-shift meeting during training the new hire should be introduced and welcomed. 

  • Daily quizzes are the key to keeping your trainees on track, giving you real time results and keeping your standards high.

  • At the end of every shift a manager should sit down with the trainee. Review the day’s material, their performance and find out what they might need. 

  • Build in daily feedback. A short questionnaire for the Trainer with specific questions about the trainee’s performance not only provides you with valuable information, but also gives the trainer a sense of ownership and faith in the process. Waiting until the last day to formally assess a new hire can mean you’ve wasted everyone’s time.

And the on-boarding process doesn’t end there…

The first 90 days:

  • It is vital that you schedule a 30-60-90-day touch base with your employees. This needs to be two-way feedback and serves as a structured chance to find out what they need to continue to improve. 

  • Learning keeps your team interested and makes work fun. If you don’t have the expertise in-house consider contacting your suppliers who may be able to bring in a wine expert, cheese monger or tea blender to learn more about the products you serve. Or consider an implementing an online training program on websites such as Typsy where your team can complete courses on all aspects of hospitality at their own pace.


Sure, this seems like a lot of time and money to spend. But getting employees up to speed faster has been proven to deliver a real return on your investment, not to mention great savings from reduced attrition. And while there are no guarantees that a new hire won’t “ghost you,” preparing new team members for success leads to better performance, better guest experience, and better morale amongst your entire team. It’s a great reward for your existing employees: they’ll be very happy to have more well-trained high performers – like them -  join the team.


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