But What If I Train Them and They Leave?

Staff Training

“But what if I spend all that time, effort and money on training my wait staff and they decide to leave?” is a question heard throughout the restaurant and hospitality industry. There is only one answer to that one “What if you decide not to train them, and heaven forbid they decide to stay!”

Most restaurant owners place their single most valuable asset (no, not the POS system, but that too), their customers, in the hands of their least motivated, lowest paid, under trained staff member and then are surprised to read about it on social media.

Disney has a philosophy that says “Your front line equals your bottom line” and how many of us can attest to this when we walk into any business and are greeted, if we are lucky, by a rude disinterested staff member only to wish later on that we had not bothered doing business with this company in the first place.

How hard is it to train your staff? Surely the investment will pay itself back in spades? Yet so few restaurants are prepared to make the effort or the investment.

Here are 7 tips to effective staff training and an improved team.

1) Train Extensively on the Menu

Knowledge is power and customers have come to expect a certain level of expertise from the staff who serve them. From being able to list ingredients in the case of allergies to being able to recommend dishes, the more you train your staff on the menu, the more prepared they are.

2) Cross Train Everyone Right Away

In a volatile labour market that is affected by anything from labour issues to transport strikes, it is increasingly important that your staff are multi skilled and able to fill key roles in the restaurant. Train wait staff behind the bar or at the coffee station and keep your restaurant covered.

Related: 5 Tips to Reduce Staff Turnover

3) Hire for Personality, Not Experience

You can always train skills, you can’t train attitude. The first step in putting together a powerful team is the interview and hiring process. Don’t skimp here, you will only pay for it in the long run.

4) Listen to Everyone’s Ideas

Your staff members are working every day at the coal face, they see many of the problems you may miss and they are constantly interacting with the customers. Listen to them; create an environment in which they can feel comfortable communicating with you and putting forward their ideas. Reward good ideas and never ridicule the ones you choose not to use.

5) Budget More Training Time Than You Think You Need

Allow a little extra time for questions and for those who need a little more time to grasp the concepts. Answer all the questions put to you and ensure that no one is made to feel silly for asking what may seem like an obvious question. This will ensure that your customers receive the correct answers when they ask those same questions.

Related: 6 Tips for Controlling Labour Costs in the Restaurant Industry

6) Teach Staff How to Spoil their Customers

“Every guest leaves happy” should be the motto of every shift. Remember the customers have entrusted you and your staff with their special moments and you need to guard them carefully.

7) Know When Someone Else Should Do Your Training

Sometimes your staff just needs to hear it from someone else! Call in an industry specialist with an ability to communicate with your staff in a way that leaves them positive and energized. Your customers will notice the difference. 


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