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Male restaurant manager writing on clipboard conducting staff training

When it comes to restaurant customer service, soft skills are often the difference between a good employee a great one.

Your restaurant staff training program is surely well honed, and focuses on the hard skills that your employees need to get their job accomplished. Those skills are easy to teach and master, yet soft skills can be just as important to the success of your restaurant.

Soft skills are ones that most people get from their life experience, not their job experience. Yet these life skills make them better at their jobs, and help them ease more smoothly into roles with more responsibility. While teaching these skills may not factor into your restaurant’s training program, it’s worth trying to foster them in your staff.

Restaurant Staff Poring Serving Red Wine to Customers

So, what are the soft skills to add to your restaurant staff training?

Positive attitude

Few traits are as welcome to a team than a positive attitude. Jobs in hospitality all have a customer service component built into them, and while the fun side of restaurant customer service may be making appropriate wine recommendations, the less fun side could be dealing with unhappy customers. Being able to maintain a positive attitude in all of these situations will keep annoyances from ruining a shift.

Approachable personality

Guests should feel comfortable letting your staff know what they need to help them have the best experience they can. Whether they’ve dropped their napkin, or need some hot sauce, you want anyone interacting with customers to be approachable and make them feel at ease.

Works well under pressure

One of the appeals to a job in hospitality is that no day is the same. Boredom doesn’t set in as easily as it does working in a beige cube with fluorescent lights. The flip side of that is some days the unpredictability can turn the pressure up. Being able to work well when the pressure is on, and still appear relaxed to the customer, can help a busy shift run smoothly.

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Good communication

There are very few jobs out there that people do not need good communication skills. For your staff, this means being able to communicate with you, each other, and your guests. It’s important to remember that a big part of communicating well is listening well.

restaurant chef pouring oil on food

Attention to detail

It’s easy for the small details being done expertly to go unnoticed. It’s when they’re not done that it becomes obvious quickly. Staff who pay attention to all the details at any time help your entire restaurant run more smoothly. Be sure to notice when they’re done, and take the time to recognize those working hard.

While you may not be training people in these skills, you can foster them by acknowledging employees privately and openly, and by setting an example yourself. Consider conducting employee evaluations regularly to get the conversation going.

As a restaurateur, you set the tone for the environment you want in your restaurant, and lead your staff by example.

 Looking for more guidance on restaurant staff training? Get the guide.

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Kristin lives on the West Side of Providence with her wine blogger husband. When she's not co-hosting their monthly wine tastings, she's planning her next travel adventure and daydreaming about Spanish jamón. She can often be found pouring over travel guides at her favorite neighborhood spot, Nick's on Broadway.
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