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Despite all the efforts and focus towards food safety, there is still a high prevalence of foodborne diseases in the restaurant industry. This high prevalence is mainly attributed to poor food handling and poor personal hygiene of the food service workers (Yiannas, 2009). Since food service workers have been identified in relation to the major causes of foodborne diseases it is imperative then that they are trained on food safety practices. The training will help food service workers to observe proper food handling and storage practices in addition to reducing the case of food poisoning and other foodborne illnesses. Food safety is a top priority in the restaurant industry hence training is important (Yiannas, 2009).
Training in the food service sector is administered using several training methods including on-the-job (OJT) training, classroom training and technology-based training. OJT involves training of employees at the place of work while they are engaged in the actual job (Noe, 2017). The training can be done informally by an experienced colleague or formally by a professional trainer. One of the advantages of OJT is its practical nature. Classroom training is facilitated by an instructor and is usually carried out in a classroom setting which is usually away from the work environment. Classroom training for the foodservice industry especially for food safety practices is usually structured in form of short courses and seminars. Technology-based training is computer-based and uses electronic technology such as internet and intranet for web-based or online training. It also involves DVD and CD-based training. The method is very useful when the learners or employees are based in different locations (Noe, 2017).
The food service employs various training tools including print training manuals and video or audio based tools or programs. A restaurant should provide a manual or a code of operation for employees to refer to when carrying out their duties. The manual which can either be in print form or as a handbook or in visual or in audio formats can be used as a reference point and for continued training for every restaurant procedure (Jarrett, 2013). Other training tools include question and answer sessions and interactive e-learning systems. Restaurants should have face to face or online question and answer sessions where workers both experienced and new interact either within themselves or with the managers on the new trends and best practices in the industry. Internal drills and mock health inspections are also used as training tools for the foodservice industry. Management should always gauge employee knowledge and awareness on what is required in the food service industry by instituting drills and internal inspections. This will also ensure that the food service workers are always alert and inculcate best practices in their work (Jarrett, 2013).
Training in the food service industry has been identified as a top priority and several factors and circumstances are important in the choice of the training method or methods to use. One of the major factors that influence the training method used is the available budget (Jarrett, 2013). Employee training is usually an expensive activity with some methods or techniques being more expensive than others. For example, classroom training that has been outsourced to an outsider trainer is usually expensive and depending on the budget a restaurant may opt to use their employees as trainers. Who is being trained is also an important factor when considering the training method to use. Is the training for new employees, for an experienced employee or is it for management? Circumstances may arise where the trainees are a combination of all the workers and the situation may require a combination of methods (Jarrett, 2013). It is very likely that on the job training is used for experienced employees in case of new industry practices while for the same new employees may require classroom training. Language barriers may be another circumstance arising in relation to who is being trained. For example, technology based training that provides translations may be preferred to OJT training where the trainer and the learner do no share a language.
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