The Accidental Salesperson

Online training improves on standard shadowing model

High employee turnover is one of the most persistent challenges for restaurant owners and managers. A majority of restaurants see seasonal spikes in employees, but there is only a small core group of employees who will be there year round. The number of servers will go up around the holidays and in the summer, but then you’re forced to bring in a new crop of employees to manage the year-round business.

Hiring can be a big expense. All companies know that it is much less expensive to retain an employee than hire a new one.  A majority of that cost is in the training, which includes the time and resources needed to make sure the new employee is equipped with the skills and knowledge to do the job.

The traditional training model is for a new hire to follow one of the seasoned employees on several shifts, shadowing them and learning on the job. There are two problems with this training model: inefficiency and inconsistency. First, it is inefficient for a restaurant to have two people doing the same job for any length of time. When you have a new hire shadowing a more experienced server, that’s exactly what you’re doing. You’re paying the new hire for their shift, but they are probably not making any incremental contributions. The second, and potentially more damaging challenge with the old training model is inconsistency. When you trust a seasoned employee to train a new hire, you can’t be sure of everything that’s being taught. Even if you are attaching the new hire to one of your best servers, that doesn’t mean you’re attaching the new hire to one of your best trainers.

How do you fix this problem?  Take the learning online. I have seen more restaurants moving their training online to minimize these issues. After new servers are hired, they complete a web-based, company-approved training series. This way, you are not putting people on the floor until they are ready to go. Also, your senior employees will not be distracted by splitting their time between managing their tables and training the new hire. Because the training is prerecorded, you can be assured that all new hires are learning the exact skills and processes that you need them to have to work at the restaurant.

I have recently partnered with Schoox to create an online training academy for a variety of industries. Because I have seen the trend in the restaurant industry to online learning, the first course that I have posted to the academy is sales training for servers. Everything is based on the concepts in my book, The Accidental Salesperson.

Most restaurants teach “process knowledge.” In other words, they teach how things are done at that specific restaurant (how to greet a table, how to cook the food, etc.) I focus on “product knowledge,” which complements the process knowledge and leads to better performance because it teaches servers how to see the upsell opportunities. By the end of the course, your employees will have learned sales tips and techniques that will help them increase per table average and customer satisfaction. This will increase overall revenue in your restaurant.

I am offering a special discount to all readers of this blog. Simply click on this link to go to the course and register on the site. Please use coupon code: i1MiMaXnjU to get a 25 percent discount off of the price of the course.

Then, send me your success stories!

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