Hope you enjoy!
Although I am “upstairs” now and manage/consult small restaurant/coffee shop companies/areas etc., I am still very fond of one area of my work that I know I will never be able to detach completely from: Training.
In this post, I want to move on from the general advice found on posts and actually give you my step-by-step actual modus operandi in training teams.
But let me make a step back to make two steps forward with you: I have recruited, hired and trained restaurant teams in the UAE, Romania, UK, Spain, Dominican Republic, Cyprus, Canada and Morocco and absolutely loved every minute of it.
I loved giving a slice of my experience and my best advice on working life but above all I loved "selling a dream", the dream being that through dedication, preparation and smart work, they could grow into something bigger.
I am passionate about this part of what I do; it always “got to me” how you start your first session as strangers only to be best friends by the end of it all. That is an amazing feeling. Far beyond financial remuneration, it’s their recognition that is the highest return.
You see their knowledge grow at every session, you see them furiously taking notes, you hear the chatter, you feel their confidence bolstering; you know they will actually even challenge you at some point!
You gesticulate, use your techniques, dip from the well of your experience and act like you were in a comedy and then like you are in a drama, you are showman, you use Theatre, self-irony, you joke, make them laugh, bring them back, you are tough, you are serious, at times rigidly professional, then relax, be approachable, you tame the lions and bring out the shy, you master and drive the audience and you always find very endearing the cheeky ones who tell you that one day they'll be good enough to take/do your job!
You love the feeling of watching them go on and apply what they learn, discover how better ways are truly better when applied, not just when discussed.
And you laugh, boy you really laugh together.
There’s a lot of great advice on this issue on LinkedIn and I devour it all every time I find it, I love reading how others go about this business, I love people and I absolutely love the fact that, through training, coaching and mentoring, you can actually change someone’s life.
Yes, training can actually do that. Change someone’s life for the better.
Depending on the sort of business I am associated with, I contribute in building Service Manuals and deliver training using all my “Theatre” so, without much further ado; I will run you through how I build them and deliver them.
1. First of all I take all pre-existing material and meet all parties concerned. The owners, the HR, Recruitment and Training people (if there are any), the store managers and try to understand the company philosophy. Out of all these conversations, together we produce 5 documents: 1- What is xyz company and 2-The Training Manual. 3-The XYZ Steps of service (a Front of House detailed guide on service Protected content I call Kitchen Life where we go deeper in Kitchen Operation and 5-The Lonely World of a Restaurant manager (ironic title) where we touch base with the management side of things. Protected content these documents are ready and approved by all, you organize training for the teams. By the way, my Training Manuals are not a boring list of to do things, they are a much wider document and you will be best served at calling them something more comprehensive. “The Working World of XYZ” as a name was an idea I once got from someone. In this post I will only touch the first two.
2. On actual 1st training day, as an introduction, I normally run people through “What is XYZ” (like I said, a presentation, designed for internal consumption, where I illustrate what the company is about, its founders and key people.) I do this as a warm up and to give an idea of her values, her history (the history they will have to tell their customers) and “raison d'être”. I do this to foster a sense of “Belonging”. The whole idea is that they “buy into” what the company mission is.
3. Once in the Training Manual proper (the second and much bigger document), I start with a slide explaining what we will look at today, so make sure you have that list ready (you will have it by listing the major topics of the manual)
4. Recalling from the original and first presentation, I will now talk about The Values and expand on the company’s own set. These values need to be well explained, with passion. This is where You. Are. Different.
5. Then I move into another slide about hierarchy and explain future career paths. (Remember, you may be training team-members but some of them are tomorrow’s managers and you need to let them know now that it’s possible to progress). You do this early in the manual because you want them to think “wow, if I pay attention…I could become such and such!” You then delve into each function and responsibility.
6. After that, I normally move into dress code. This is a good area to play and joke a little.
7. Then I move into Behavioral expectations. Another good area to joke a little and be serious a bit more at the same time. This is where you give them the mafia-style message, the offer they can’t refuse “Behave or else”.
8. Once that done, you hit them with their Staff Duties and explain all of them (Managers, Kitchen Front of House etc.) line by line as to leave no room for doubt.
9. Then you go into some QS forms like Temperature Sheets and explain why they are necessary (No, the Environmental Officer visiting you and giving you a warning or a fine in not the main reason. The reason I sell them with is that people actually eat in the restaurants and they wouldn’t want their own colleagues or our customer’s food poisoning on their conscience)
10. Then I go for maintenance Procedures (boring but necessary, it will save your business money)
11. Then I go for Office Administration and all the requirements. You may be thinking “Hold on, we are only training Team Members here!” but I will tell you one thing: make them feel important; make them feel like you are training them on things that are “above” them, make them “Managers” even if they are cleaners. They will adore you for that and now, for real, they will believe You Are An amazing Employer.
12. Amongst all the Office Admin and Compliance forms, put some emphasis on Waste Reports and Waste management. This will grow their awareness of this cost and save you a lot of serious money.
13. While you go through all the reports and forms, also explain how hard the lives of the managers/chefs/waiters/etc. are. Get them to “understand” and appreciate each other’s jobs and responsibilities, this will avoid an “us v them” scenario later.
14. At this stage, I normally hit them with Inspections and audit forms, to make them understand “accountability”
15. Time for good news again and now I go for “Team Member of the Month” or whatever you prefer to call it. What they need to do to achieve this and what are the prizes coming with it.
16. Back on Planet Earth, I continue with a downer and explain the company’s Disciplinary Procedure.
17. Now I enter a wider territory. The industry’s definition of service.
18. Then I make the differentiation and explain the definition of our company.
19. Explain that To Serve Is To Sell and the importance of recognizing the different kind of guests and their individual needs. I go over Suggestive Selling.
20. Then I go for table manners and how to serve people
21. After that, I go for the technicality of the Ordering Procedure
22. This is also where I move “to the kitchen” and explain how orders should be processed
23. Now I wrap it all up with a recap of all the general rules
24. And then move into Health and Safety and Food Safety.
25. And then the conclusion.
A word of advice:
• All along make frequent breaks; you are giving them a lot of information.
• This sort of training will last a few days, there are a few slides for every passage you will go through
• Involve them as much as possible
• Put the ones that are paying less attention in the front rows. Mix the room expertly once you’ve understood their personalities.
• Do not allow waiters on one end and chefs on the other; mix them up.
• Joke, joke and joke again. They must not see you as “distant” or “detached from reality”
• Be dead serious when it matters hypnotizing the room to your attention
• Remind them that this is General Training, deeper training will be carried out for each function
This post is long enough now, hope I haven’t bored you and even if only one team member somewhere in this beautiful world will benefit from this then…it was all worth it.
Thank you for reading me and like, comment and share if you please.