by Cliff Bramble
Have you been wondering if your team is ready for the new way of doing business? You should be.
Right now, some of your competitors are out there training new hires, and retraining their current staff. All because they want to be ready for the pent up demand once customers return in droves. What are your doing to get ready?
Here are a few ways for you to get ready and to get your staff ready for the onslaught of guests, because it will happen, and it will be here faster than you think.
Retraining your team. If, after begin furloughed, many of your team returned, you are one of the lucky ones. It is those staff members that should be your trainers for any new staff members that are coming aboard. Think about it. They already know your philosophy. They already know your standards, and expectations. They probably know many of your returning guests. They are your ambassadors to keep you going. Start with them and at this point, I would think that many of them may be more motivated than ever. Make sure they are aware of the new perceptions by the guests. Review with them on the way the guests will be watching their service, and making sure that they are aware of the health procedures. They want and need their job. They will help you in any way possible. Pay them the best, and ask for their help. The rewards will make your team better and the sales will rise.
Management: If your management is up to the task of retraining and making changes, then sit with them and make sure that they are on board for the new way of doing business. Ask them if they still want to be a part of the team. Give them goals and direction for their front of the house and back of the house. Ask them what they want to learn. Ask them what they can contribute to help the team. Give them new responsibilities to keep them motivated. Ask them to clean and then clean again. Make sure they are fully aware of the health related consequences of making any mistakes, especially at this time. Now is the perfect time to cross train them. Their actions have a direct effect on the entire team, and their income. Make sure they are on the floor talking with the guests, watching labor, and helping the staff. This is the time where your Management team should step up, and if they are not up to the task, begin interviewing. There are lots of highly experienced people out there looking for a job.
Kitchen: Now is the time to look at your menu and taste your food every day. Test your recipes. Ask your staff to taste the food. Double check on everything. Check your pricing and review your inventory. Look for the excellent menu items and look for the dogs of the menu. Get rid of the high cost items or price them accordingly. If you think it is time to change the menu, then do so. Now is not the time to sit on ones feet. It is the time to rise to the top and do something that will get you noticed. If you have not pivoted to change with the times, take a look at your competitors and see what they are doing. Can you do something similar or totally different? Train your current kitchen staff so they are more aware of the new sanitation procedures. Make sure they are wearing masks or being as safe as possible. Get rid of their cell phones. They are not needed on the line and if the health department walks in and a cell phone is on the line, it will only get worse for everybody. Now is the time to lead your team and make sure you are in the forefront of your competition.
Cliff Bramble is an Atlanta restaurateur, business advisor, and real estate investor. He is the Founder and CEO of Hungry Hospitality as well as the prior owner of Noble Fin restaurant. Previously, he co-founded Rathbun's Restaurants in Atlanta. He recently released his new book, Within Our Walls, An Inspirational Restaurant Story for the Hospitality Industry and the book is available on Amazon.