Training your staff on restaurant tech

Today, the digital transformation of dining has changed how we order food, as well as the expectations consumers have of service and efficiency. Restaurants now face the task of implementing online ordering systems as an extension of their services and as a core component of their operational strategy.


Whether you have an established mobile app or just starting to look for a solution, rolling out an online ordering system that suits the needs of all your customers may seem complicated. At CardFree, we recognize the importance of making the customer experience seamless by offering many different ordering channels and customer experience solutions, but to get the most out of any online ordering system, training your staff on the new tech is crucial.


Training staff to effectively manage these systems is about understanding the overlap between technology, customer service, and business objectives. So, in this blog, we explore the top 6 tips to optimize the experience of using your online ordering system.


Tip #1: Establish Clear Objectives and Expectations

training restaurant staff for online ordering and payment tech


Start by defining success metrics specific to different roles, such as order accuracy and throughput for kitchen staff or speed of service, table turnover rate, loyalty signups, or upsell success, among other metrics for front of house staff. Incorporate regular training sessions to familiarize the team with system updates and customer interaction scenarios.


Use customer feedback to get a better understanding of areas that need improvement, like ease of navigation and ordering speed.


Using a mobile app, kiosk, or other online channel comes with many benefits, including:


  • Decreased wait times for customers.
  • Reduced employee labor.
  • Multiple online payment options.
  • Loyalty program integration.
  • Upsell methods to increase order sizes.

So, ensuring a seamless user experience allows you, your staff, and your customers to reap these benefits.


Lastly, maintain a feedback loop for staff to suggest system improvements, and acknowledge those who reach your company’s goals.


Tip #2: Select the Right Training Platforms and Resources



Here’s how to ensure the training materials and methods you choose maximize efficiency:


  1. Ensure your staff has access to vendor-supplied training materials. Most online ordering and payment platforms come with their own online help pages and training material for your staff. All CardFree customers, for example, have access to CardFree University, an online training catalog with interactive how-to guides on everything we have to offer, plus a section to submit questions to our support team. When training your staff, make sure everyone on your team has login credentials to access the training material they need.
  2. Print cheat sheets and quick reference guides that staff can easily access during a shift. This includes step-by-step instructions on common tasks, troubleshooting tips, and FAQs. Omni-channel online ordering systems allow you to manage menus from one dashboard, so make sure your staff knows how to make edits if conflicts arise to promote synchronicity and prevent confusion.
  3. Consider using a sandbox environment, where staff can practice managing orders without the risk of affecting the live system. A sandbox environment is an isolated space where the system can be tested without affecting anything.


Tip #3: Hands-On Practice and Simulation Exercises

restaurant online ordering systems, training your staff


As mentioned before, a sandbox environment allows staff to safely explore and interact with every feature of the system without affecting live operations.


Incorporate real-world scenarios, including standard orders and special requests, to prepare staff for typical high-pressure situations. Role-playing different parts of the ordering process and conducting stress tests during peak times helps everyone understand their roles. Having a technologically operational ordering system is great, but it’ll benefit your restaurant most when your staff feels confident using it to provide great service.


Additionally, addressing common challenges and FAQs will smooth out the operational wrinkles in any online order management system. Here’s how:

  1. Compile a list of frequently encountered issues and questions both from staff and customer feedback. This should cover everything from typical technical problems, like login difficulties or system errors, to common customer inquiries about menu items, delivery times, or payment methods.
  2. Create a comprehensive FAQ document or section on your website that is easily accessible to both customers and staff, ensuring that answers are clear, concise, and helpful. You can check out this example of a customer-facing FAQ page for Torchy’s Tacos.
  3. For staff-specific challenges, incorporate these scenarios into training sessions, using them as case studies for problem-solving exercises.
  4. Provide regular updates to these FAQs and training materials as new issues emerge and solutions evolve.


A flexible online ordering system can help keep this FAQ list short, as you can create and edit features to prevent your customers from encountering issues.


You Might Like: Navigating the Tech Revolution in Drive-Thru Operations

Tip #4: Emphasize a Customer-Centric Approach

restaurant staff training


Emphasizing a customer-centric approach in training means guiding your staff to see through the eyes of the customer.


Follow these tips to transform the customer’s online ordering experience:


  1. Train your team on the importance of empathy and understanding from a customer’s perspective. This can look like encouraging your team to use the app how a customer would and identifying challenges first-time users may have.
  2. Illustrate common customer frustrations like navigational difficulties or unclear menu items, and teach staff to anticipate and address these issues proactively.
  3. Use role-playing exercises to practice responding to customer inquiries and complaints in a manner that is both efficient and considerate.
  4. Integrate customer feedback into training sessions, which will help staff understand and prioritize customer needs and preferences.


With an improved and efficient online ordering system, your team should have more time to focus on optimizing customer service. This is the case at Torchy’s Tacos, where a custom app with a robust ordering system has allowed their staff to focus more on their customers, creating a better holistic experience for guests.


Sources: The Rail


Tip #5: Incentivize Your Employees


Employees are often the primary touchpoints for your customers, which places them in a prime position to advocate for the benefits of your new system. To motivate your staff to actively promote online ordering, consider implementing an incentive program.


Similarly, you can apply these incentive strategies throughout your organization. Managers of locations that show strong performance in online order metrics could receive rewards. These could take the form of monetary bonuses, recognition in company communications, or even career development opportunities.


By aligning the goals of your staff with the objectives of your online ordering system, you create a proactive environment that supports digital growth and customer satisfaction.


You Might Like: How To Promote Online Ordering at Your Restaurant


Tip #6: Encourage Adaptability and Innovation


Finally, encouraging adaptability and innovation within your team will keep your online ordering system responsive to the changing market conditions and customer preferences.


We live in an increasingly online world, so having an online ordering system is essential. Therefore, having staff who are ready to tackle the challenges that come with the system is equally important.


Build a culture where staff are motivated to suggest improvements and explore new ideas. Hold regular brainstorming sessions where team members can share their insights and innovations that could improve the customer experience.


Not all restaurants or businesses will need the same ordering system, so allowing the people who know your company best (aka your employees) to provide input permits you to design an efficient and optimal service. For example, at a brewery, a pre-paid “pour ticket” ordering system kept the staff from having to deal with payment and instead could focus on providing great service. This system was designed with input from employees.


Aside from improving customer experience, comprehensive training boosts employee retention. High-quality training and development encourage nearly 80 percent of employees to stay longer.


Additionally, give opportunities for staff to learn about the latest trends and technologies in the industry through workshops, webinars, and professional development courses.


Rewarding initiative and creativity also fosters an innovative mindset. This could be through recognition programs or even implementing staff-suggested improvements that prove to be successful.


Source: Built In


Upgrade your team’s skills for better service today.


Bottom-line, the aim goes beyond mere operational efficiency. Training should focus on real-life applications, making sure that your team understands the technicalities of the system and the nuances of customer interactions that these technologies facilitate.


By incorporating clear goals, hands-on simulations, and continuous feedback, you allow your staff to deliver an online ordering experience that aligns with your restaurant’s mission.


An online ordering system designed to solve every solution your customers seek will benefit everyone. From multiple order channels and seamless add-ons to contactless payment, choosing to use a flexible and customizable ordering system, like the system offered by CardFree, you can optimize the experience you offer.


Ultimately, well-trained staff are your greatest asset in maximizing the potential of your restaurant and any new tech you implement.. Paired with confident staff, your online ordering system will bring in more business than you could ever imagine.


Learn more about CardFree and our solutions.


We have a small team. How much time can we realistically dedicate to restaurant online ordering system training?

The good news is that online ordering system training can be broken down into manageable modules. Focus on core functionalities first, then gradually introduce more advanced features. Consider offering online training resources that staff can access at any time.

How often should we refresh our staff’s training on the online order management system?

Regular refreshers are key. As technology evolves and new features emerge, keeping your staff updated ensures they can leverage the system’s full potential. Revisiting core practices reinforces good habits and maintains a high standard of online order management.

What factors should we consider when choosing a restaurant's online ordering system for staff training?

Consider a system with a user-friendly interface that’s easy for staff to navigate. The system should allow for managing menus from a single dashboard (that’s customizable), synchronizing across all ordering channels, including third-party delivery services. Ideally, it would accommodate multiple payment options to enhance convenience, among many other things.

What are the benefits of using an online food ordering system?

An online food ordering system can boost your restaurant’s efficiency and customer satisfaction. Customers place orders at their convenience, reducing the chance of order errors and speeding up the transaction process. Such systems provide actionable insights into customer preferences and ordering patterns, helping you to optimize your menu and marketing strategies.

How can we ensure our staff effectively handles updates to our restaurant's online ordering system?

Again, regular training updates are essential. Schedule periodic training sessions whenever the system is updated to ensure that all team members are familiar with the new features and functionalities. Incorporate these updates into your routine staff meetings or as part of your ongoing training modules. This will keep your team confident in using the system, translating to a seamless customer experience.