There are the necessary basics of integrating a new employee into your restaurant’s structure. Getting them up to speed on the core values, placing orders, the flow of the kitchen, and how the beverage program reflects the food is important. Once the fundamentals have been established it is time to start thinking about how to hold their attention and prevent a high turn-over rate. The learning process shouldn’t end in the initial training, it should be the precipice for engaging curiosity and extended education.
Pre-shift meetings are a good way to commune and psychologically prepare for each shift. This time is often utilized for going over menu changes and reservations but is also an opportunity to expand on food and beverage training. It can be tricky in juggling prep work, but if possible, get both front and back of the house involved. Having all members of the team present can cultivate compassion and unity by allowing insight and perspective to how the restaurant operates as a whole. Management should communicate with chefs and come prepared with topics. Develop a small informational piece about one of the regions that your wine is from. Have the sous chef talk about the historical origin of a dish or where they find their inspiration. Dig deeper into what questions guests are asking and start compiling a list for future topics to explore.
Field Trips and hands on learning are great way for theory and practice to come together. If your restaurant works with local produce and meat then set up a time at a nearby farm for staff to visit the site. Take the team out to dinner or lunch to a place that has a great reputation for creativity or customer service and then discuss it. You can also bring the field trip to the restaurant. Sometimes there are winemakers who visit and travel with distributors in the city. Have them do a tasting with the staff so that they can learn more about the winemaking process. Let the kitchen flex their skills by giving a tutorial on a cooking technique or breaking down an animal. This doesn’t have to be elaborate. Learning about the anatomy of a fish, chicken, or octopus can be as important as breaking down a pig or a cow. Asking the staff what they want to learn about can always offer more ideas if you’re feeling stumped.
Keeping staff engaged through continuous learning can help enrich and inspire everyone by giving a broader scope and dialogue to service. Prioritizing education shows that the company values personal and intellectual growth. When a team knows that the restaurant is willing to invest in their progress they begin to devote their energy to a healthier environment. Establishing an extended training program can empower people with confidence and professionalism. Preventing high turnover rates will strengthen moral through loyalty which will lend to the longevity and value of the company.