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How to train your restaurant employees and improve staff retention

Friday, October 5, 2018


Brexit is causing serious concern to all business in the hospitality industry. The food supply chain is facing potential disruption and the likely lack of access to EU staff is a major worry. Add into the mix the fact that the weak pound and rising inflation are impacting consumer spending, and you can see why restaurant businesses are fearful about their future.

Chief executive Kath Dalmeny from the UK’s Sustain (The alliance for better food and farming) has recently spoken out about the impact of a no-deal Brexit on the food supply chain: "The UK gets about 30 per cent of its food from other EU countries (a further 11% via deals done by the EU with other countries), so any serious disruption to the trade flow in food would have major consequences.”

A report by Planday reveals that Brexit will cause a shortage of 60,000 hospitality workers per year. The number of EU workers coming to the UK has already fallen significantly. Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that there are 86,000 fewer EU nationals working in the UK than from the same period a year earlier. Brexit is already having an impact on the availability of staff.

In an article published by business website, Ready for Brexit, Planday’s chief marketing officer, John Coldicutt writes that staff retention is key to surviving in the hospitality industry post-Brexit.

Personnel Today have also reported that “Organisations need to sharpen their focus on retention in the light of increased recruitment difficulties” and that “of those organisations that had undertaken an initiative to improve staff retention, the most popular step was through increasing learning and development opportunities.”

Training new and existing staff is more important than ever in the restaurant business. Businesses with a reputation for looking after staff will have a greater chance of attracting new employees and retaining them. Training and development opportunities should be a huge part of any retention strategy. Here are 6 things restaurants should be focusing on.

Offering in-depth induction and orientation

It is likely restaurants will look for experience when recruiting, but just because a new recruit has worked in another establishment, restaurant owners shouldn’t assume they don’t need a full and proper induction.

Orientation of new recruits is often overdone or neglected. Employees can either feel overwhelmed with information or anxious because of a lack of instruction. But welcoming a new employee to the business is key to keeping them on board. Orientation should be well thought out and designed to integrate new staff members seamlessly into the team.

Best practices, goals, history of the business, philosophy and information about the facility and the teams should be included. Orientation should offer new staff insight into operations and the company’s vision and clarify expectations.

Providing a comprehensive training programme

Utilise your experienced staff to mentor and train new employees. Training programmes should be reviewed regularly and evolved to meet operational changes or diversification in the business. Staff should continue to receive guidance and observation to ensure they are practising everything they have been taught. Here are some tips for training restaurant employees.

Upskilling employees

Employees who have the opportunity to learn new skills feel like they are progressing and are more likely to stick around. It benefits the business too. Training restaurant staff to serve in the bar, for example, can ensure your business has more cover. Importantly, upskilling employees shows them that they are valued. Better trained staff offer a competitive advantage.

Reviewing technology

Keep up to date with the technology you use in your business and make sure your staff receive appropriate training in its use. These vital tools can help employees to do their job better and will make a difference to employee confidence and operational efficiency. Technology in the restaurant business plays a significant role in improving the customer experience and will also help employees feel more supported in their roles. To find out how Kafoodle's innovative kitchen management software can support your hospitality operation, get in touch today.

Recognising achievements

In the restaurant business getting service and food quality right is so important. Exceeding expectations is what drives repeat business. Recognising staff who go above and beyond will ensure your staff feel valued and appreciated.

Introducing team-building days

It goes without saying that teamwork in a restaurant is imperative. From the kitchen through to the front of house, effective teamwork will ensure operations run smoothly. The business benefits from teamwork, but so do employees who are more likely to feel engaged and motivated being part of a successful team.

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