Restaurant training is something that all operators think they do, but not every restaurateur takes full advantage of it as a tool for increasing both sales and profit.
Think of training as much more than teaching the server staff how to set a table, take an order or serve a meal. Restaurant training cannot be separated from restaurant marketing.
Great marketing will just kill a bad operation faster. Driving guests into an operation that is performing below par will result in negative experiences, and investment will then need to be made into service recovery and operations improvements, rather than marketing.
The restaurant training department should collaborate with the marketing department to make sure the brand, positioning and personality is reflected back by the people actually on the front lines.
Training isn’t just a cost center or a cost of doing business, it’s an investment into a higher return on profit. It is vitally important to the success of a restaurant. Most restaurants use servers to suggest dishes management wants to promote, but how the server is trained to offer the suggestion makes a big difference.
An absent or weak training program is worse than no marketing budget or allocation at all. A server is a far more effective marketing tool than any sign or billboard. For example, if you’re running a birthday promotion in your restaurant, a server can pass it along to his customers, who, in turn, will tell others.
Training has to go beyond just employee orientation. Ongoing programs that constantly improves and evolves staff competencies are far more effective than one-and-done sessions. It’s also a good idea to include a restaurant marketing component in a restaurant training program so that the staff become ambassadors for your brand.
The age-old restaurant training program of giving out a large three ring binder employee manual and doing a few days of follow-the-trainer just doesn’t cut it in today’s competitive restaurant business. There are new tools such as Intranets, interactive learning tools, picture books, and customized restaurant training books that we can help your operation develop.
How important restaurant training is can be demonstrated by America’s largest take-out operation and the world’s fastest-growing franchiser. Any way you look at it, Starbucks is doing an awesome job. They spend more money on restaurant training than they do on advertising.