June 17, 2019 The Print Authority

Restaurant Training: Don’t Forget Printed Manuals!

Let’s say you are a training professional tasked with making sure the team at your restaurant or hotel group is well trained. You are bombarded with advertisements by online training companies and you understand the role that proper training plays in ensuring a great customer service experience for your guests. Still, you wonder, what is the right way to train your team so that they will learn and the message will stick?

While there is clearly a role for online training courses, don’t overlook the success of the tried and true method using printing training manuals and other materials. It is true that online training may be less expensive and offers some added flexibility and additional features. At the same time, there is a growing body of evidence that paper based training may be more effective in getting the message across.

One recent report cited academic research making it clear that readers understand lengthy articles better when read in a paper book versus on the screen of a digital device.* This finding is supported by many studies at various levels of schooling from primary through college. Why are hard copy printed books better absorbed and understood? The answer may be in the media itself. Researchers have found that bothersome scrolling, distractions offered on digital documents and devices and the glare of some digital screens contribute to lower comprehension.

Interestingly, an experiment by the same research team found that while college undergraduates absorbed the main point of shorter texts when read either on printed media or a computer, they recalled the details and finer points of these texts from the printed version better. Sometimes, the research subjects actually thought they were absorbing the digital texts better because they read them faster, but the researchers found that this was “an illusion.” Some research has also found that students perform better on tests of reading comprehension when the reading was done on a printed version.**

Lastly, there may be differences between readers based on personal preference. Some readers may just prefer to read printed materials and this may mean better understanding, while others prefer digital media.

The bottom line is that a blend of digital and printed media may result in the best restaurant training program. Be sure not to forget the printed server training manuals, bartender training manuals, server cards, job aids and posters to get the job done. At The Print Authority, we have produced printed training materials and printed manuals for decades and can help you get your message across. We also create custom portals to allow you to construct a restaurant training program for your entire company! Contact us today!


*Wallace, Claudia. A textbook dilemma: Digital or Paper. The Hechinger Report, 23 August
2017. www.hechingerreport.org/textbook-dilemma-digital-paper/. Accessed 11 June 2019.

••Ross, Bella, Pechenkina, Ekaterina, Aeschliman, Carol and Chane, Anne-Marie. Print versus
digital texts: understanding the experimental research and challenging the dichotomies.
Research in Learning Technology, 3 November 2017.
https://journal.alt.ac.uk/index.php/rlt/article/view/1976/2193. Accessed 11 June 2019