Your staff represents your brand. In true essence, they are your brand ambassadors. In the hospitality industry, where everything revolves around providing an impeccable and exceptional experience to the customers, the level of service quality highly depends on the staff quality and their behavior. Customers want quick and efficient service, and won't settle for anything substandard. That means your employees just don’t have to serve great meals, they have to go that extra mile to emboss a great brand identity of your restaurant.
Thus, training the staff to make them more efficient should be an indispensable part of your business strategy. Let’s see how you can train your staff to increase efficiency in your restaurant.
1. Devise a Training Plan
Restaurants should devise a well-defined training program.
- Write out the goals that you want them to achieve.
- Ensure that every goal is measurable. This will help you decide what is working and what needs to be changed.
- Make different plans for various roles. For example, the front staff should be trained to tackle critical customer facing situations while the culinary staff should be trained to work under pressure and still serve quality dishes.
- Keep the plan consistent for the respective roles. It will ensure that everybody is on the same page and held to the same set of standards.
2. Assign the Staff Roles
According to Heinemann and Greenberger, 2002, a large number of employees feel dissatisfied when they are assigned the responsibilities without having the right skills and knowledge in the area. Thus, training is an essential process which should be designed and implemented with much thought and care.
- While training your staff, lay out the anticipated duties and responsibilities of the position. Assuming that person already know what their duties entail can spell disaster.
- Cover the whos, whats, whys and hows of your business. Your employees can perform exceptionally well only when there is no ambiguity and they are clear about what is expected from them.
- This will also ensure all relevant jobs and tasks are executed without stepping on each other’s toes.
3. Pick a Method of Training
The learning process for each individual is different. You can try various methods like auditory, visual and kinesthetic to train your staff. You can ask a senior or experienced staff member to demonstrate a particular task. The trainee watches and then replicates the actions later. Or provide instruction manuals to your new hire; he tries to finish the task without any supervision and learns from his mistakes. You can even try the role playing approach where the new employee is taught what might happen in a real life situation and how to handle it.
4. Set Specific Procedures
If everyone from your staff knows the exact process of how their respective team works, then your restaurant becomes a fully-productive and efficient engine. No matter when the employee resumes his shift, he can immediately fit in to compliment his team in the best possible manner. Also, setting standard operating procedures can help your new staff to come up to speed within no time.
5. Don't Just Invest, Train your Staff to Use the Latest Technology
Technology has transformed many industries, and restaurant business is no exception. Many restaurants are now using electronic systems which help the wait staff to submit orders to the kitchen staff, calculate totals and raise invoices for various customers at the same time without putting much effort. However, installing such systems aren’t enough. You need to train your staff to use them too.
- Train your staff to use the system using videos and podcasts. It’s more interactive and easier to understand than reading instruction manuals supplied with such systems.
- Involve them in role plays where they are made to create mock orders and billing processes before they are made to use it in real time. This will help them in understanding critical issues like handling voids, coupons, etc. and enhance efficiency at work.
6. Foster the Sense of Teamwork among Employees
Set a good example to gain the respect of your staff. A team that respects its management is more likely to deliver a productive and efficient performance. Also, encourage regular team activities so they can gel well together and perform as a team rather than putting each other down for professional success.
7. Distribute Pet Projects
Pet project is an activity which a person deems as his personal favorite. Encourage your staff to list down their pet projects. Enlist all the pet projects of your staff members, and map each employee to his favorite task. By allocating pet projects, you can ensure that the tasks will be performed quickly and efficiently.
8. Teach Service Everyday
Simply putting across an important message in a memo or pre-shift meeting doesn't mean that it will be communicated to the team members in the way you anticipated. Improving a particular area of service requires regular attention. Moreover, the change can be slow and steady to occur. Also, once you achieve the desired excellence, don't forget the effort you invested in improving the service. Even after the service issue is resolved, revisit, focus and nurture it daily to ensure that the problem doesn't return. Remember, it takes about a month to create a habit and probably a week to fall back to the old one.
Holding regular meetings to consistently review the work is a great way to keep a track on work efficiency. During these meetings, you should also:
- Propose a solution to a problem without leaving it to be taken care of in the future. You can also ask for your employees' inputs for the same.
- Encourage employees to pitch ideas. This will make them feel valued and will encourage them to give that extra effort.
- Keep the environment light and friendly to add fun to the equation.
9. Motivate with Rewards
Motivation plays a key role in developing a successful and more efficient team. Motivated employees always go that extra mile to add to the restaurant's productivity. Starbucks considers that the reason behind Starbucks’ success is not its coffee, but its employees. Hence, it takes initiatives to make his employees happy by giving them equal treatment, listening to them and by enlisting their help in developing plans. And by the way, Starbucks employees are known internally as ‘partners’! What an ingenious way to motivate employees!
A culture of hospitality is not built overnight and is an ever improving process. You need to train your employees continuously and consistently so that they are efficient and can reflect your restaurant’s personality and values, and sport the right attitude to match the atmosphere.