Make January Training Month
In a busy environment staff training can sometimes slip down your ‘to do’ list. Essential to a profitable business, training shouldn’t be ignored and January – when trade is predominantly quiet – is the ideal month to kick-start a training programme.
Wasting food, poor customer service, lack of menu knowledge by employees can all be detrimental to your business. These problems – and many more – can be solved or at least reduced through training. From in-house sessions by senior staff to specialist external trainers, there is a wide range of training your business could benefit from. Start by finding out what you need most to help your staff bring the profits rolling in.
Check what training your business requires. Is it food safety, fire awareness, first aid or customer service? Don’t put your business, staff or customers at risk. Now is a good time to look at your particular business and see if training in aspects such as drug awareness, EPOS systems or underage sales prevention could benefit your business and staff. From cuts and burns to robberies and assaults, many dangers can befall the untrained member of staff.
Better customer service
Good customer service is a key component of a successful business. Well-trained staff provide better customer service and happy customers come back. Paul Chase, head of UK compliance at CPL, underlines the importance of training. “There is a growing realisation among operators that well-trained staff, who understand how to look after customers, are of key importance. Attitudes to training have changed in recent years as competition for the leisure pound has become more intense – and people increasingly recognise the importance of training for staff retention as well as ensuring the customer has a good experience.” The surge in social media use leaves establishments wide open to negative feedback that is being shared with thousands of followers. This puts enormous pressure on staff to get it right first time
Know your product
Product knowledge training can be done in-house, by the owner or chef. All front of house staff, especially waiters should be menu savvy – and this means knowing more than just what the soup of the day is. An efficient and knowledgeable waiter, who can provide dish and ingredient advice (without checking) is impressive and memorable to the customer. It shows professionalism and instills confidence and trust. This is especially crucial when dealing with food allergies or intolerances
How to get started?
You can train your staff yourself, employ a professional company to train on your premises, send staff on training courses or sign up to on-line training – depending on your budget and how much disruption to service you can happily cope with. Online causes least disruption. Prices vary but CPL offers online food safety course for £35 per person.
In-house training tips
- Swap roles. Have a day when front of house work in the kitchen. This will give them a greater understanding how the business works and improve relations between staff. A business where staff work together is a happier one.
- Meetings. Hold a weekly or monthly meeting with all your staff or separate departments. Ask them if they are struggling with any part of their job, which they think can be improved.
- Menu knowledge. Make sure all front of house staff, including bar, know what is on the menu. Before their shift, quiz them on the specials, soup of the day etc. There is nothing more off putting to a customer when a member of staff is clueless about the menu – even those behind the bar.
- Season changes. Whenever the food or bar menu changes get chef or bar manager to inform other members of staff.