How deep is your bench?

Well planned training is the best way to improve restaurant service
Make sure you have star players ready to step up to the plate.  Your training program should have many components, including work outs and practice games.

{mosimage} Back to school means back to sports. Camps, try outs, double days, and the hope that your name is on the list. As a young athlete, I was acutely aware of what was necessary to make the cut.

Even after I made the A team, I kept my eye on the B team. They were capable players — suited-up, working out, familiar with every play, and just waiting for me to drop the ball. It had to be that way. Every team needs back up players. Not only does it provide a contingency in the event a player is injured or sick, but a deep bench keeps the A team on their toes, doing their best at all times.

You can use the same philosophy to build winning foodservice teams, both for this season, and the seasons to come. If you don't, you might have a losing season. Here are the building blocks of developing a deep bench and a winning team:

Define the position
Every job in your organization must have basic job responsibilities clearly outlined in a formal job description.

Skill sets
Every job in your operation has specific skills that you can convey through coaching. Make sure you know the best ways to pass along this knowledge.

Work outs
Nothing prepares a player or an employee more than going through the motions... training exercises that use the mental and physical muscles necessary for the job.

Practice games
This is the equivalent of a dress rehearsal. Don't let your players "try out" on customers. Put them to the test, whether it's a demonstration or written test. You've got to know they're up to the task BEFORE they go out in the real world. This is for their sake as much as for yours.

Game films
Oh the pain! But the evidence is irrefutable and it becomes so clear how to make improvements. Formalized performance evaluations that give solid feedback based on performance not personality, is the way to go.

Winning IS the name of the game. You can measure success in gross sales, customer loyalty, guest frequency, improved morale, higher tips, lower turnover, improved productivity, enhanced good will and reputation or all of the above. When you have a winning team everybody's happy.

See also:
If you get to the dairy queen...
Go or grow
Do you make the grade?  


Bill Main is a nationally-recognized author, consultant and speaker. His company, Bill Main & Associates, specializes in strategic growth plans for foodservice entrepreneurs. For information on how you can grow your top line revenues through innovative marketing, menu, leadership and training systems, visit www.billmain.com.


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