How to Combine Hands-On & Paper Training

Posted on September 13, 2017 by Michelle Locke

One question we receive frequently here at Waitrainer+ is: “when I use Waitrainer+, am I giving up hands-on training?” And the truth is, for restaurants, this just isn’t the case. Restaurants are such a physically demanding job that removing hands-on training would only end in disaster.

So often, however, in the face actual training in a restaurant, it’s common for one aspect of training to fall to the wayside—and often, it’s paper training, such as manuals, quizzes, policies & procedures, etc., that gets cast aside.

( Click here to read our blog post on how to implement new training.)

How can you combine hands-on training with paper training to have a comprehensive training program?

The Role of Paper Training


When we say paper training, what we mean is any training from manuals, policies, and procedures, as well as your menu and recipes. We believe that this type of training is crucial in creating a well-rounded employee who understands every aspect of their job.

( Click here to download our essential pieces of training checklist.)

Restaurants are used to operating with hands-on training only, assuming that through hands-on training employees will learn everything they need to. This sink-or-swim approach can be extremely stressful for new employees, as well as those training them. It might ultimately work, but it can create employees who are stressed, agitated, and not overly confident in their skills.

This is where paper training comes in. By starting with the fundamentals in text for, you can ensure that, before hands-on training begins, new hires have a solid foundation. When they know the menu, as well as policies and procedures related to their job, they can better understand why things are done the way they are during hands-on training. They also are less of a burden to the person training them; when they already know the basics thanks to paper training, they can more easily take charge and help before being told exactly what to do.

( Click here to learn how to detox your training.)

When Hands-On Meetings Paper Training


What would a schedule combining these two training methods look like?

  • 1-3 days of paper training, alongside some hands-on training
  • Followed by 5+ days of hands-on training with supplemental paper training (such as quizzes, menu training, and cross-training)

The important thing is to allow these two training methods to work together, rather than at odds. When you ask employees to recall their paper training during hands-on training, or hands-on training during a quiz, they are better able to learn how to effectively do their jobs.

( Click here to learn about why to throw away your training manual.)

At Waitrainer+, we believe in the power of paper training—but we also understand what works in restaurants. These two methods, when used together, can help your restaurant be more successful, which reduces your stress (and that’s always a win).