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Training should be high on your agenda

Training is a process in order to change a person’s attitude, knowledge, skills and behavior. The term training also refers to the acquisition of knowledge, skills and competencies as a result of the teaching of vocational or practical skills and knowledge that relate to specific useful competencies.

There are general guidelines to follow when training. In most situations, trainers should follow the following five steps on how to Train a restaurant employee.

1. Explain the procedure/what is going to happen: - This should happen before the shift to provide the trainee with an idea of what he/she will see. If possible, the explanation should occur directly before the event.

2. Show the procedure: - When you show the trainee the procedure, the trainer should continue to explain each step (if possible). This step may require several repetitions before moving on to step # 3. Be sure to make time for questions.

3. Have the Trainee practice: - At this point, the trainer should remain close by to observe the employee, initially the trainer should be looking for accuracy, not speed. This step should involve several repetitions. Even if the trainee appears to have executed the task on the first try, he/she needs to practice to develop a habitual pattern.

4. Provide feedback: - Providing feedback is not always easy, but is an extremely important part of the learning process. The trainer must be honest, pointing out any areas of opportunity in a constructive manner. Be sure that your feedback is:

  • Honest
  • Fair
  • Clear
  • Based on direct observation
  • Descriptive, not judgemental
  • Respectful
  • Private

5. Repeat Step # 3: - Once feedback has been provided, the trainee should practice again. Continue with step # 3 and # 4, until you feel the trainee has mastered the task. While the trainee performs the task, the trainer should periodically ask questions to ensure comprehension.

Being a trainer is not easy, especially since all trainees are different. Each one has a different learning style. Some will learn best by reading, some by listening, and some only through hands on exercises. Most people will not know how they learn best. As a trainer, it is important that you are able to recognize this and adjust your training accordingly. You may have to try many different avenues before you find the one that works. Just remember to be patient and trust your instincts.


  • Introduce one thing at a time
  • Break the information down into small, understandable chunks
  • Start at the beginning and build from there
  • Put it in context
  • Go slowly
  • Explain it, show it, document it
  • Repeat, Repeat, Repeat
  • Allow time for questions
  • Pay attention to verbal and non-verbal behavior
  • Discuss resources and support for newly learned information
  • Make yourself available after “learning” has taken place
  • Follow up to determine how learning is going

A trainer should pride him/herself for the greatness of all the employees he/she trained.


Staff Development & Training

To be able to compete in the restaurant industry it is important to hire the best qualify people and provide them with the best possible training and development. The Key is hiring people with passion for hospitality and unique personality is a plus. Continious improvement with quartely assessment, monthly, weekly or daily one on one's will also increase the staff level of productivity and ownership.

  • Recruiting & hiring staff
  • Developing effective training program
  • Implementing daily shift meetings
  • Conducting one on one meetings with staff
  • Goal setting with each department's opera tions
  • Conducting performance evaluations
  • Initiating systems to oversee service operations that ensure quality & consistency

10 Things (Pet Peeves) That Frustrates Restaurant Server

1 out of 10 working American has worked in a restaurant at one point, so the majority of the general public should have restaurant etiquette, understand the do's and don't, and respect the job of a restaurant server and bartender. However customers tend to behave differently when they are at a restaurant for whatever reason.

Here are 10 things (pet peeves) that frustrates restaurant server.

1. The filthy rich people who have the black American Express notoriously tip 10%

2. The over-sampler. Customers that want to sample every wine by the glass before choosing. That is reasonably acceptable at the bar, despite the loss to the restaurant. At a table, it forces the server to spend too much time trying to accommodate one table at the expense of others.

3. When they ask for recommendations and as I’m mid explanation of the 1st recommendation they interrupt me and ask me about a certain dish. If you wanted to know about that dish then just ask me about that dish.

4. When they don’t understand that there isn’t room to add one more person to a table.

5. Diners who ask for water and then do not even drink it.

6. Diners who have no idea who their server was.

7. (Disclaimer, this one came from a female server) I cringe at the sight of a herd of women sitting at my table. Without fail the majority of women don’t tip well and must have the bill broken up precisely by what each person ate/drank. Man up ladies! Break the stereotype!

8. When customers completely modify the menu items.

9. When customers don’t communicate about them needing to leave in an hour and you end up coursing their meal.

10. I hate it when after I check if a table is enjoying their dish and/or beverage they first say they are enjoying it and then tell me after they hated it … are they expecting it to be comped?


. What Is Good Customer Service?

Good customer service is a process that requires active, willing and competent participation of all staff. It involves listening and understanding the customers. Technical competence and interpersonal competence are two different things. The former gives you the ability to serve the client while the latter gives you the ability to make the client feel served.

The most important customer service skill is achieving the best interaction and communication skills. This includes verbal and body languages. The three most important body language reaction basics when you are serving buyers are smile, maintain eye contact and lean forward with interest.

The four major components of good customer services are:

1. Acknowledge and receive the person warmly.

2. Determine their needs or expectations.

3. Identify cause of action and do it.

4. Provide support and follow-up.

Now that you know the major components of good service, let's find out the elements of acknowledging a customer. First of all, focus, concentrate and pay attention to the person. Secondly, greet them with a friendly, hospitable statement and anticipate their needs by active listening & questioning. It also helps to show empathy for their expectations. Once you have understood the customer's needs and expectations, you may use your knowledge of the product/service and positive body language to respond to their needs. If for one reason of or another you are unable to help them, refer them to the correct people / departments.

How can you determine a person's needs?

You can determine a person's needs by using good listening skills or by using good questioning skills.

Dealing with Upset Customers is one of the most difficult things in customer service. It's no wonder many companies fail at it. If an upset buyer walks up to you react with sympathy and empathy and then clarify with questions what exactly the problem is. Once you have understood the situation, respond promptly with the appropriate answer or action.

Why is Calming Upset Customers so Important?

• So as to solve problems together with them.

• So that they come back and hopefully tell their friends about your business!

• To communicate and interact effectively.

• To prevent more serious problems.

• To keep the customers happy.

• To build and maintain the company's good name and reputation.

• To keep them from telling others about the problem.

As a business owner, it is only natural to wonder what upset customers want from you. Basically, they want to be taken seriously and to be treated with respect. In addition to the respect, they also want to get action without delay and also get compensation or repayment. Unfortunately, there's also a certain class of customers who won't rest until the member of staff who wronged them is reprimanded. However, the most important thing is to clear up the problem so that it is not repeated and to consult the customer in decision-making.

Note that 95% of buyers who complain are more likely to come back if the complaint is well received and resolved quickly. In addition, the most important rule in customer service is "the customer is always right". Why? Because they are using their money to buy your products or services and you need them to buy your products/services tomorrow.


3 Things that draw people to a Restaurants

In 2009 there were 13,548 restaurants in the state of Virginia alone, according to National restaurant Association (NRA). The U.S restaurant industry sales are projected to exceed over $600 billion this year. With all that being said, the restaurant industry generates jobs and lots of money every year, but yet 27% of restaurant startup failed after the first year according to researcher at Cornell University and Michigan State University. There are too many restaurants to compete with and your brand has to stand out for you to draw people. Here are 3 things that people to restaurants.

1. Value: - Value simply attracts people in your restaurant and makes it tougher for your competition.

2. Location: - location includes visibility, accessibility and great signage to draw people in a restaurant

3. Word of Mouth: - This is generally considered the best means of “advertising”. Customers spreading information and recommendation to other customers about a restaurant, increase the restaurants credibility immensely.

The other side of this coin is how to bring people back to your restaurant once they are drawn in. First time customers could become a life time customers if their expectations are highly exceeded. Remember that’s regular customers keep business alive. Here are 3 things that bring people back to your restaurant:-

1. Quality: - Quality of food and service is how customers measure restaurants against the competition in the marketplace. Quality can’t be compromised because it will cost you in the future. Maintain high level of quality and customers will simply come back.

2. Consistency: - Customers love getting the same thing all the time, the same way they had it the first time that makes them love it. Someone once said “if I go to this particular restaurant I know exactly what kind of food and service I’m getting because they are consistent”.

3. Hospitality: - Hospitality is the relationship created with your customers to choose you against the competition. Hospitality is a relationship, not a transaction. Customers who felt cared for and appreciated will always come back.

The key to every restaurants success is what draws people in (Value) and what brings them back (Quality).


9 Qualities that make an effective Restaurant Trainer

An effective trainer possesses many different skills. Of course, he/she must have the knowledge, but knowledge alone does not make a great trainer. He/she must desire, enthusiasm and people skills to communicate with others. Here are the 9 Qualities that make an effective Restaurant trainer:-

1. Knowledge: - of the job, the product, the people. As a trainer you are a resource to all employees. This means that you are not only committed to their learning, but yours as well. The restaurant industry is one of constant change and improvement. A trainer must stay abreast of these changes, as well as understand them. You are expected to have extensive product knowledge, though you are not expected to know everything. If you come across a question that you cannot answer, you should know where to go to find the answer.

2. Enthusiasm: - Enthusiasm is key to the success of a training program. Without it, you are not putting your best foot forward. What the trainer is saying is not as important as how it is being said and what is being said with body language. If the trainer is not excited about the company and the training, the trainee will not be.

3. Patience: - Remember your first day on the job? Remember how nervous and overwhelmed you might have been? Do you remember everything that was told to you on that day? Of course not! There will be times when you have to repeat yourself over and over again. That's okay - it's part of the training process. We must be patient with new employees and peers if all are to help them learn.

4. Positive Attitude: - A trainer must be able to maintain a positive attitude in any situation. As we all know, the restaurant industry is a very dynamic industry and we often have to handle these problems on the fly. A trainer must be able to handle these situations with grace and be able to see the positive attributes of each trainee.

5. Communication Skills: - Communication skills are imperative for a positive, successful training experience. An effective trainer must be able to communicate clearly, concisely and accurately. In addition to conveying information, the trainer must be able to put the trainee at ease. Communicating also means listening. Listening for questions, concerns, and ideas. It is also important to be able to "listen" between the lines for body language, indirect comments and other "hints or clues" that indicate what trainee is experiencing.

6. Organization: - Being a successful trainer is founded in organization. Because there are so many components of the training program, trainers must be able to keep track of schedules, content, and trainers/trainees...all while performing their jobs! The trainer’s level of organization also impacts the trainee's perception of the company and their level of organization.

7. Appearance: - Every Restaurant should strive to have a clean, professional appearance - both in their physical surroundings and in their employees - at all times. The trainers must not only adhere to the professional uniform and grooming standards, he/she must serve as a role model by which others can measure their own appearance.

8. Professionalism: - The term "Professionalism" is determined by many factors. The way you speak, perform your job, carry yourself, and relate with others reflects your personal standards. A professional trainer remembers that he/she serves a role model at all times, whether he/she is training or not. Professionals treat themselves and others with respects and dignity and handle him/herself appropriately in good and bad situations.

9. Teamwork: - The success of any restaurant does not rest with any one individual. As a team, you are only as strong as your weakest member. Your commitment to your guests creates a common goal for you to strive for together. Your trainers must create an atmosphere of teamwork and cooperation, existing even after the trainee graduates.


5 ways to motivate & inspire Restaurant employees to enhance guest experience.

There are many highs and lows in the restaurants industry, the daily grind and hard work of employees could drain them mentally and physically. Part of a restaurant manager’s accountability is to motivate and inspire his or her staff to deliver extraordinary service to ever guest, and to provide exceptional experience. Every employee in the restaurant from the Host staff to the dishwasher has a share responsibility to impact the guest experience. Here are 5 ways to motivate and inspire your employees to enhance guest experience.

1. Pre Shift Meeting: - This is the time to educate the staff about current events, menu items, steps of service and opportunities from previous shifts. Also entertain the staff by reading positive dining comments from yelps or other sources, praise employees that has guest compliment, the line cook with the best ticket times or zero re-cooks. During this meeting you can spot employees who are prepared and motivated for the shift, check their moods if they look tired or not engaged then have a separate conversation with them before they start their shift. You can bench them if they aren’t ready to play.

2. Server Productivity report: - Restaurant employees want to know how they are performing just like other industries. I find it useful and motivating for servers and bartenders to be inspired to do more when they know how much they contribute in the sales of the restaurant. There is a sense of ownership and pride in them knowing how many bottles of wine, appetizers, desserts, liquor and beer they’ve sold in a quarter. By posting this information every month servers and bartenders will be highly motivated to do more, servers can also use the report to view how they are measure against their peers. The employees with consistent high sales in wines or appetizers can share their selling techniques to help other servers improve.

3. Fun Contest:- Create a monthly or quarterly contest that will inspire the employees to perform at a high level. The contest should be fun and rewarding for the restaurant and the staff. A smart measurable creative contest such as sell 1000 bottles of wine in a period, first figure out how many wine sold last year same period or same year previous period and set a goal from there. The guest will benefit from the contest because having a bottle of wine on their table puts them in a different class of diners and is economical. The staffs learn more about wine varietals’ and characteristics which will boost their confidence. You can always create a contest for the host, food runner and even Kitchen staff.

4.Restaurant Knowledge: - Highly successful restaurant employees acquire a great deal of knowledge, the familiarities, facts and information they have helps them provide extraordinary service to make the guest experience memorable. Nowadays guest are more educated about customer service than they were 30 years ago, customers can easily notice a non confident server versus a confident server. In this day an age of social media customer awareness is at a new height, new standards of services have been created and the bar is raised. Knowledge is “justified true belief.”

5. Management Support: - Restaurant employees tend to be a bit sensitive, so it is imperative for management to be there to support the staff when needed. During the busy hours operation manager floor presents is critical to the guest experience to make sure employees are assisted in getting a bottle of wine, table visit for a guest opportunity or connection, deleting an item from a check or a server might have a question about ticket times. Manager support and floor presence inspires employees, reduce their frustrations, get them out of the “weed” and keep them engaged and present to the guest.


Lessons Restaurant Operators learned from the last Recession.


The recent recession sparked a slew of changes at restaurants as fine-dining went casual, casual concepts added value, and eateries learned to do more with less. As recent stock market slides have economists raising the specter of another downturn, have the lessons learned recently prepared restaurants to cope better this time around?

Markets continued to fall Monday as investors reacted to a historic downgrade of the U.S. credit rating, sparking concerns that the economy is headed into another recession before many have recovered from the last one. Nobody wants to think another recession is on the horizon, but economists began broaching the possibility in earnest after last week’s massive market slide.

The last time around, restaurants closed; others moved from fine dining to less-pricey casual concepts; casual chains drove traffic by focusing on deals, which customers only recently stopped expecting; and the industry saw the rise of Groupon and other daily-deal websites, which drove bargain-hunting traffic without always leading to long-term business gains.

Even before markets slid last week, restaurant companies were struggling with balancing still-tight consumer budgets with margin-squeezing higher commodity costs. Many were in the process of raising at least some menu prices. Given that, it’s likely many restaurants and chains would have much less wiggle room to offer recession-era promotions this time around.

Some chains are already feeling the fallout from higher prices. Last month, P.F. Chang’s China Bistro said sales were down at its flagship restaurant and Pei Wei Asian Diner. The company said it was cutting its forecast for the rest of the year, as guests shied from spending after menu prices increased 2% this year, Reuters reported. Time will tell whether other chains that are increasing menu prices — including Chipotle Mexican Grill, which said in June that it would raise prices for the first time in three years — see a similar drop.

Restaurants have had several years of learning how to do more with less, and it’s likely those lessons will help if tougher times return. In addition to finding ways to cut costs and increase productivity, restaurants also have had time since the last recession to define value propositions that prove popular with recovery-era consumers who are still wary about spending. In a Fast Casual story this summer, Food IQ President Phil Daniels wrote about a value proposition that has emerged since the recession, driving high-end concepts into more casual territory and spurring quickservice and fast-casual concepts to add more premium items.

So, what lessons have restaurant companies learned from the recession, and how will they guide eateries should we have to live through another?


Food Costs Rising as Coke, Chipotle Pass on Commodity Gains

Food prices in the U.S. may be rising faster than the government forecast as companies including Coca-Cola Co. (KO), Safeway Inc. and Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (CMG) pass higher commodity costs on to consumers.

Rallies in meat, grain and dairy products since February may mean the increase in food costs will surpass the 3 percent to 4 percent that the U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts, said Christopher Hurt, an agricultural economist at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. The USDA today left its forecast for this year’s gains unchanged and said 2012 prices will increase 2.5 to 3.5 percent.

“Food inflation will continue to increase through this summer to this fall,” Hurt said July 19 in a speech in Washington. “We can’t replenish supplies until a new crop comes in, and that puts a lot of basic pressure on food prices.”

Costs for groceries and restaurant meals rose 3.7 percent in the 12 months through June, government data show. During the period, rice, wheat, corn, soybean and milk futures touched the highest levels since at least 2008. Yum! Brands Inc., owner of the KFC and Pizza Hut restaurant chains, said July 13 that U.S. commodity costs this year would rise as much as 7 percent, after previously predicting a 6 percent increase.

Corn futures rose 76 percent in the 12 months through July 22, wheat jumped 16 percent, raw sugar advanced 71 percent, and rice was up 65 percent. Cattle and hog futures climbed at least 21 percent.

Coca-Cola Prices

Coca-Cola, the world’s largest soft-drink maker, said July 19 it will raise North American drink prices 3 percent to 4 percent in the second half of 2011, after 1 percent to 2 percent increases in the second quarter. The Atlanta-based company cited higher costs for raw materials, including fruit, metal and oil used to make plastic packaging.

Futures for orange juice traded in New York, which is used in Coca-Cola’s Minute Maid beverages, were up 37 percent in the past year through July 22 as inventories declined. Coke, which also uses corn as a sweetener, is trying to stay ahead of inflation by managing retail costs, Gary Fayard, the chief financial officer, said in an earnings conference call July 19.

PepsiCo Inc., a Coke competitor and the world’s biggest snack-food maker, said last week that profit will increase more slowly than projected, partly because of commodity costs. Spending on raw materials will rise at the high end of its forecast of $1.4 billion to $1.6 billion this year, from a base of $18 billion, Hugh Johnston, the chief financial officer of Purchase, New York-based PepsiCo, said in a conference call.

Covering Inflation

“We will try to cover as much of the commodity inflation as we can,” Chief Executive Officer Indra Nooyi said.

Chipotle Mexican Grill, a Denver-based burrito chain whose share price has more than doubled in the past year, reported July 19 that second-quarter profit was less than analysts estimated as commodity costs rose. Chief Financial Officer Jack Hartung said costs for avocados, dairy and meat are rising and he expects food inflation of about 5 percent this year.

Food inflation was “stronger than expected” at Pleasanton, California-based Safeway supermarkets, with prices rising 2 percent in the second quarter, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Steven Burd said July 21 on a conference call with analysts.

Damping Effect

Food and fuel increases have hurt demand, “and that’s particularly true for that segment of our shoppers that believe we’re still in a recession, which is the largest segment” of customers at Safeway, the fourth-largest U.S. supermarket chain by sales, he said.

Inflation may be able to stay within the USDA’s range should crop inventories improve, said Mark Waller, a grain economist at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. Adverse weather and oil prices, which have averaged just under $100 a barrel this year, could quickly send food costs higher, he said.

“There’s an awful lot of uncertainty because of where we are in the crop cycle,” Waller said by telephone last week, noting that the Midwest heat wave may decrease production. “With the late planting of some crops and the really dry conditions, crop production is vulnerable over the next 60 days to any additional problems.”

Food prices measured by the Bureau of Labor Statistics rose 0.2 percent in June. The USDA left all of its estimates for different food categories unchanged in today’s report, except for processed fruits and vegetables, reducing its estimated increase by 1.5one-and-a-half percentage points to a range of 1.5 percent to 2.5 percent.











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