Restaurant Training Questions & Engagement F.A.Q

Posted on June 23, 2015 by Michelle Locke

We get a lot of questions from Waitrainer+ restaurants about how to make their training more engaging for their employees. Engagement, when it comes to training, can be extremely difficult, especially for such a wide variety of employees: some are better at reading and understanding text; some are better at hands-on training; and some are visual learners. There are a variety of ways that Waitrainer+ can be customized to tap into the strengths of all varieties of learners. Here are a few of our most frequently asked questions when it comes to writing test questions, using video, and making training overall more engaging.

1. How can I write better test questions?

One number 1 rule of thumb is that the question should be easier to answer by reading the text than just guessing. For example, on a topic related to sanitation, a poor question might be: “True or False: We sanitize every food surface in the restaurant.”' Most employees would be able to guess that answer immediately, without reading the text that accompanies it. A better question might be: “True or False: We only sanitize to prevent cross-contamination.” (The answer, in most cases, would be False; there are multiple reasons to sanitize in a restaurant, not just cross-contamination!) This requires the employee to read the passage and then answer the question—because if they just guess on the question, they will most likely get it wrong or assume the text is about cross-contamination.

Some test questions work best as situational questions. We’ll address writing situational questions in #5 below!

2. What’s better for training, true/false questions or multiple choice questions?

It depends on your training. We like using True/False questions mixed with Multiple Choice. True/False questions can be quite easy for people to guess, so you’ll want to make sure to mix it up and include a good collection of False statements, as well as True, and to write questions in a way that requires the employee to fully comprehend the text and the question. We like using Multiple Choice questions for fill-in-the-blanks.

For example, if you offer 4 flavors of wing sauce in your restaurant, you might include a question like this: Here at Spoon Bistro, we offer regular, spicy, _________, and honey BBQ wing sauce. The options might be: a. garlic; b. garlic parmesan; c. mild; or d. none of the above. If the employee fully reads and studies the menu, they’ll know the answer right away; but if they don’t, they’ll be required to reread the text and memorize the four types of wing sauce.

Another great option for questions is an Open Response; you can ask employees to describe menu items, identify sides, and more.

Ultimately, a mix of questions challenges employees to read closely, focus on the information, and learn.

3. How can I keep my employees engaged during their training?

By including a mix of text, images, video, and questions. The number one way to keep employees engaged is to make sure they aren’t staring down at a wall of text start to finish! That’s not a fun way to get started in the exciting restaurant industry. We suggest keeping Topics in Waitrainer+ to one page on the screen; that means they won’t have to scroll down to keep reading. In general, a piece of training should be kept to about 20 minutes, so they employees can stay alert and engaged. By mixing text with images and videos, you can break up the amount of time that employees spend reading. By adding in testing, you can challenge your employees and ensure they are absorbing the material.

If you’d like to learn more about adding video or pre-written questions, check out the Waitrainer+ Content Store.

4. How can I use reporting and/or videos to ensure engagement with my training?

This is one of our most fun tricks for Waitrainer+. At this time, Reporting in Waitrainer+ offers a Time Spent option; you can see how long each employee takes to complete a Course. This is a great way to measure if your employees are staying engaged and doing their training correctly! If a course takes most employees 20 minutes to complete and you notice a new employee only takes 10 minutes to complete the training, they have skipped portions, guessed at questions, or both!

Another way to do this is through videos. If you add a five minute safety video to a Waitrainer+ course and assign it to your employees, then you know they should spend at least 5 minutes watching the video and then answering questions at the end. If you notice an employee takes only 2 or 3 minutes on the course, you know they haven’t watched the whole video.

In both of these scenarios, you’ll need to ask the employee why they didn’t stay with their training and assess the situation from there.

5. Are situational questions a good idea for restaurants?

When it comes to writing questions for training, here at Waitrainer+, we are a big fan of situational questions. Here’s an example of a situational question you might find in a course on serving guests:

A guest that is not seated in your section drops their fork. What should you do?
  • A. find their server and tell them to get the guest a new fork
  • B. immediately grab the guest a new fork and take the old one
  • C. Ignore the situation

The answer is obviously B. That’s a simple question, but by requiring the employee to imagine a situation, you’ll requiring them to apply the training they’ve been doing. Instead of just memorizing and repeating information, they’ll understand how to apply that information to their job. That’s why we love situational questions.

If you’d like more information on testing, videos, or Waitrainer+, don’t hesitate to contact us at