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Is Training Limiting Your Restaurant's Potential?

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Not having the right program in place can hinder your business's success.
By Christopher Conner March 2017 Expert Insights

At the heart of any successful foodservice business is a well-defined, meaningful training program. My work is primarily in the franchise market, and the ability to scale or replicate your business is enormously impacted by the quality and consistency of business training. The importance of these programs is magnified in the foodservice industry with the high volume of staff, part time employees, and customer transactions every day in restaurants. When a business is considering franchise growth, or even when company stores and partnerships grow, great training programs need to be in place and well-organized to teach a new franchise owner how to train his or her staff.

The Upsides to Good Training

Employee turnover is drastically reduced with solid training models. Studies have shown that over half of your team will leave within the first year of their employment if they aren’t receiving the proper training they need or want. With less turnover, there is more consistency, fewer operating costs, and a more engaged team managing your restaurant, you can have better customer experience and likely a stronger bottom line. With this consistency comes the opportunity to promote and grow your team from within, as well to make management decisions and key employee recruitment simpler and easier. Retaining employees longer also builds an empowered staff that isn’t focused on minimizing responsibilities, but focuses on finding ways to help the team and support the restaurant’s success. 

Signs That You Need a New Training Program

The obvious indicator that you need to revamp training is a decreasing level of productivity from your staff and team. You will see larger numbers of employees on your roster filling the same number of roles, meaning the average person is doing less. You might notice that you are hiring more staff at a faster pace and that you need to either fill new vacancies or that more of your team members are going part time. Either way, it’s an indication that you need better training systems. New technology or business practices require a focus on training systems to help your team make the transition with the business. If you are moving into a growth mode for your restaurant like franchising or new unit expansion, these too would require a closer look at your employee training models. 

How Do You Create and Design a Successful Staff Training Program?

First, figure out what your staff should know and how you would like them to perform on the job. With this in mind, you should be able to define what they will need to successfully do their jobs.

Second, you should work on structuring your training program. What does it look like, where is it held, and how will the information be communicated to the staff members?

Third, you need to work on the development of the actual program. This means you’ll need materials, your curriculum, and programming, and you’ll be identifying who will be delivering the training and how the process will work. This takes time and effort, but with the right model in place, your training program can be delivered effectively and consistently to produce great results.

Next, develop a plan for how the program is executed and delivered, like timing, scheduling, and other details for your implementation.

Finally, you need to review and report how effective your training has been. It is an ongoing process that requires good mechanisms to keep tracking your team and their progress in not only learning from training, but also maintaining their skill sets and operating behavior. 

Whether your goal is to grow your bottom line of your single restaurant location, expand your business through franchising, or open additional corporate units, training will be at the heart of your ability to scale and replicate your business. It’s time to look at how you train your staff and re-evaluate the program your team is relying on. 

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Christopher Conner is president of Franchise Marketing Systems, a full service franchise consulting and development firm with representation across the United States and Canada. Franchise Marketing Systems works with food service and restaurant businesses to develop systems, infrastructure and organization that will allow the business to scale through franchising, licensing or company-owned growth.