As you know, first-class service is a must-have in every successful restaurant operation. Because of this, it’s essential to invest the time and energy to properly train your foodservice staff. But, to make sure your employees stay interested (and aren’t bored to tears), go beyond the run-of-the-mill training methods and get creative.
To ensure your staff’s ready to bring their A-game, give these out-of-the-box training exercises a whirl.
Run listening drills.
When it’s busy, it’s easy for staff to shift into autopilot mode and not slow down enough to actually hear what customers are saying. With the right drills you can help sharpen their active listening skills and make them a better resource for your customers. For example, prepare a script with orders from a table of high maintenance customers that have lots of order modifications and questions. Once your “table of customers” has placed their order, test your staff to see who can recall their order details and answer the customer questions accurately. Not only is this a good practice for honing your staff’s customer service skills, but it gives you an indication of whether they’re prepared to tend to customers’ needs.
Be the “worst customer ever.”
Don’t be afraid to mix things up with even more interactive role-playing games. Give their customer service skills the ultimate test by setting up sticky, maybe even ridiculous, situations. For example, pretend you’re a customer who has a host of complaints. First, you’re not happy with where you’re seated. Next, you send your order back — not because anything’s wrong with it, you just changed your mind. Have fun with it, present them with challenges and get them thinking on their feet.
Let your trainees take the reins.
This goes back to our earlier point — don’t do all the talking. Find unique ways to let your staff educate each other. Get their creative juices flowing and have them prepare clever training lessons for the other trainees based on what you’ve already taught them. For example, ask them to create video tutorials about how to deal with picky customers, have them create manuals with customer service best practices, or challenge them to a show-and-tell showdown with select menu items. Keep it fun, and for those competitive types, incentivize them with rewards and bragging rights.
Engaging training exercises pay off.
Your foodservice staff is the face of your company. If they’re engaged during training, they’ll be prepared to deal with customers, which can pay huge dividends for your business.
Like you, we’re also dedicated to delivering knock-your-socks-off service. Since 1950, we’ve been providing foodservice professionals with award winning solutions and easy-to-operate equipment. Find out more about Hatco and our tradition of excellence!