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Everybody's talking 'bout

Training — lot's of talking — not much doing. But nothing can impact your foodservice business more positively than making a commitment to training. And things have changed since you had to sit through boring lectures, read dry manuals, and stumble through shifts "shadowing" another employee.

Take an honest look at your training program. I'll bet you're getting out of it exactly what you out into it. You can't expect world class service from a third rate training program. But the good news is that it's not difficult to develop a great training program in-house.

My Suggestion:
Get going. Here are seven principles to help you assemble a world class training program:

  • Involve Your Employees.
    Harness your biggest asset.If you've had employees complaining, asking, wondering about training...hand the ball to them. Challenge seasoned staff members to bring a new skill to the next management meeting and train fellow employees in the execution of that skill. I guarantee you'll be pleasantly surprised with the results.
  • Follow up.
    Peter Drucker says, "Inspect what you expect with respect." Remember pop quizzes in school? Same principle. Relay the message that it counts to pay attention in training sessions and pre-shift briefings. Spontaneous bonuses and other rewards work well.
  • Use State-of-the-Art Training Methods.
    There's no option.Your employees grew up with Sesame Street and graduated to sophisticated video games and DVDs. How does your delivery system hold up to a billion dollar multi-media industry? You've got to make it entertaining.
  • Reward Learning.
    We use pay grade scales to establish financial benchmarks for mastering specific skill sets. You can also award benefits like preferred shifts, reserved parking, etc. based on reaching achievement levels.
  • Make it Cool.
    Our industry suffers from poor self-esteem. It's not cool to be a dishwasher, but your business would collapse without them. How can you convey some of that value to the job? Ask your employees how to put some prestige in being part of a team that runs a first rate kitchen.
  • Have Fun.
    Employees should look forward to coming to work, and working with you—the boss.If they don't, it will be reflected in their performance and visible to your guests.
  • Short and Sweet.
    Training should be ongoing, and conducted in bite-size pieces. No marathon sessions of memorizing huge binders full of information and policies. Then test for comprehension. Celebrate victories along the way.

You can download a version of my Training Fundamentals. This 15-page summary gives you all the key information necessary to put a program in place. You'll find the complete version at http://store.yahoo.com/tradesecrets/fronofhoustr1.html. It contains:

  • Sample Training Plans
  • Training Tips
  • Trainer's Checklist
  • Master Forms and Outlines
  • Sample Case Studies

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