Issue 30

Good Training is Hard to Find

Social media outlets and pop culture trends are creating a new breed of consumer that is more product-educated and less responsive to marketing gimmicks. They are challenging our industry to up its game as they demand an elevated food and beverage experience. In order to successfully meet those demands, the required skill set of everyone, from owners to professional servers, is expanding. As venues scramble to secure the best employees in every market, the shortage of good help is becoming a more common complaint. Unfortunately, the old saying that “good help is hard to find” is a myth; It is the scapegoat of lazy and/or inexperienced owners and managers.

The new F&B manager needs to understand a brand vision, create hiring and training procedures that are consistent with that brand, and execute a hospitality experience through his/her staff that results in brand loyalty. You could say that ‘managers’ are quickly becoming extinct. ‘Brand builders’ are the new managers. Brand builders understand the critical nature of arming employees with the ability to do a job well and in accordance with a brand vision. The price tag on effective training programs can be daunting. What is even more daunting (and arguably incalculable) is the price tag on not providing employees with the tools they need to succeed in their respective positions.

When you build a business, you are essentially building a revenue-producing machine, which makes the brand manager a machinist of sorts. While brand vision functions as the motor, the power source is useless without gears that move to do the work. Employees are, in effect, the gears. Proper training ensures that the gears are able to operate efficiently (i.e. profitably). Successful training occurs in three steps: 1) Clear, documented communication of brand vision. 2) Provision of detailed job descriptions, with information about how each description is critically tied to brand success. 3) Education of employees on all products/menus/services that functions to minimize labor costs and maximize profitability through competence and efficiency.

Staff training is inherently tied to every aspect of profitably. A competent team creates regular clientele ($), minimizes steps taken through efficient and ergonomic set-up (i.e. lowers the necessary number of employees to deliver the same guest experience), reduces turnover significantly as a result of increased tips ($), lowers the amount of product waste resulting from mistakes and/or over-pouring ($), and reduces the probability of accidents (i.e. liability) resulting from rushed employees trying to make up for inefficient service ($).

As customers continue to push the requisite service skill-set, it will become increasingly necessary to invest in a brand manager who can create and maintain the necessary training program to meet their demands. The days of waiting for good help to walk through the door to apply are over. It is the responsibility of management to develop and oversee the workplace culture of their brand. If employees are not provided with a vision, and/or not provided with the tools to bring that vision to fruition, failure is imminent. The cause of that failure, dear managers, will not be the lack of good help.

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