All puns aside, I mean is your restaurant really rocking? Your place is “on fire” when you have lines out the door every night of the week, your competitors are scrambling, the media are singing your praises, and your customers are your best marketers.
We’ve all experienced restaurants like this and the magic doesn’t happen by chance. It takes creativity, resourcefulness, a bit of luck, but most of all intelligent hiring and consistent training.
Every restaurant has at least a few “A-players”, those staff that light up the room with their personality, truly care about the guest experience and are asked for by name. If only everyone we hired had that approach, how powerful would our restaurants be. Unfortunately, average players seem to overshadow the stars in your customer’s eyes… those staff just going through the motions to earn a paycheck will not lead your restaurant to great heights.
But it’s not always the staff’s issue. In so many restaurants I’ve seen, with so many details to stay on top of, owners and managers neglect to lead by example and training is inconsistent if it exists at all. This results in many staff taking the path of least resistance, delivering average food and service with the guest experience as an afterthought. Don’t let this be your restaurant.
Before any serious training can begin, I strongly suggest that restaurants “weed the garden” and consider a new approach to hiring.
In the thick of battle in this high turnover business, its human nature to try to replace someone quickly just to get the show back on the road. Instead, ask your best people for their recommendations on friends or acquaintances who they think might fit your organization and bring the same qualities.
It’s all about chemistry. With new potential hires, ask sincere meaningful questions that require well-thought honest answers. Your goal is to find staff with integrity, discipline and self-direction. These people are the gems that are highly trainable and will pay your restaurant great dividends quickly.
Next, consistent training is all important. Service and hospitality training is key, but don’t forget salesmanship. Sales are the lifeblood of your business and your entire front of house team are really sales people. Effective selling occurs when education, information and flair come together and your people are entertaining and making suggestions they know the customer will enjoy. In my book, this is superior service.
When staff are having fun, working well together and making money, your customers are having more fun and spending more money. This is when the magic starts to happen and you’re lighting the fire when you maintain consistent training.
To keep it burning, incentives, recognition and rewards are the necessary fuel for success. Creating and sustaining staff chemistry comes from noticing and praising accomplishments, fostering healthy competition and building a culture of hospitality where the customers and team are equally important. Next thing you know, turnover decreases, your “dream team” staff become a “family” of brand ambassadors and customer buzz fills your seats.