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Grow or go

I'm sure you've read all the statistics and studies on this subject. The foodservice industry is way behind the curve when it comes to professional development. Good managers who go unchallenged have only one choice: look for another job where they can learn new skills and earn higher pay as a result.

While the simple answer is to develop a formal management development program for your restaurant, the reality is quite complicated. How would you go about setting up a program like this? Do you have the time and the skills to develop it yourself? How much would it cost you to outsource it to a consultant? Can you afford to send your managers off site for several days to attend conferences and seminars? Most of us can't.

My suggestion

Use the Trade Secrets on this web site as the basis for a weekly Management Development Program. Our weekly Trade Secrets are arranged around 10 Core Competencies executed to Best Practices standards in Foodservice: Management, Training, Human Resources, Marketing, Leadership, Menu, Cost Controls, Finance, Service and Operations. In each Trade Secret we we define a common foodservice problem and describe a solution. And we've create a lot of tools to help implement the solutions. What could be simpler?

My challenge to you

Include a line on your weekly management meeting agenda for "This Week's Trade Secret." Ask everyone to log on to our website and read the Trade Secret prior to the meeting. Discuss the applicability of the Trade Secret to your operation. How could you modify it to work better? What kinds of results would you expect to see if you implemented it? If you are already using the tool or idea, how is it working? Could it be improved?

It doesn't matter if you're QSR, dinner only, or you don't serve alcohol. The point is to expand your manager's understanding of all the skills necessary to be successful in our industry. One test of intelligence is the ability to take a random idea and creatively apply it to your own area.

Example

How many of your managers could conduct a formal customer focus group? Not many. Maybe you've never conducted one yourself. Our Trade Secret , Hocus Focus, describes the benefits of conducting focus groups and provides our Members with a complete Facilitator's Guide . I challenge you to introduce this idea at your next management meeting. The ability to organize and conduct formalized communication with your customers is a valuable skill for any manager — in any industry — and something to proudly include on a resume.

Don't be afraid to educate your staff. If you don't, they'll look for someone who will. I know I did. Didn't you?

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