Editor’s Note: ArcLab works alongside Experts and Training Providers to help businesses upskill workforces, improve staff performance to achieve more for the business, and digitally transform for the future.
We’re glad to co-author this article with Lauren Wan of Passioneat Hospitality, a hospitality driven consulting company motivated to ignite lasting memories for teams and guests using the power of culture-based training and positive leadership to create consistently excellent experiences.
The Biggest Asset of your F&B Business
A trained workforce is the biggest contributor to the success of your F&B Business.
Be it front-of-house or back-of-house, well-trained staff make your business operations smooth as butter (pun intended). Customers are attended to promptly, orders accurate and well-cooked, and your staff creates an excellent experience that delights your (returning) customers over and over again.
Returning customers means higher and more consistent topline. So it’s absolutely crucial to train your staff – to achieve more for your business.
Yet despite all the acknowledged benefits of training our workers, 1/3 of businesses surveyed by POS platform Toast encounter challenges in implementing training programmes.
It is perhaps understandable given the lack of time, resources, and manpower, a perennial problem in the Food Services industry – now exacerbated by COVID-19 and the Great Resignation.
The positive impact brought about by training is no secret, regardless of which industry your business operates in. More operators are leaning into the benefits that investing in their teams can bring, especially as the workforce increasingly views training as a sign of a good employer.
How can F&B operators leverage these insights and provide training that enriches both their business and their teams?
Training your F&B Workforce
F&B training can be divided into two main categories – (1) onboarding, and (2) ongoing training and support, both of which have very different objectives.
Onboarding and induction programmes typically offers the following:
- Sense of confidence with the product, brand, and company values
- Compliance with health and safety standards
- Faster competence with guest service
- Acknowledgement of operating procedures
Digitising certain aspects of onboarding allows you to:
- Engage and excite your new hire before their first day
- Make the best use of downtime when your on-the-job trainers are occupied with other tasks
- Ensure consistency between different trainers and locations
- Allow access to training content in multiple languages
Where digital training can really shine is with ongoing training and culture support, because it allows you to create rhythm and repetition that is essential for developing a strong culture and high levels of consistency and accuracy.
One of Passioneat Hospitality’s clients is a multi-concept Japanese restaurant group. We created interventions for Day 0, Day 1, Day 7, Day 30, and Day 90 so that new hires would feel welcomed and supported.
We made use of various mediums to ensure information was consistently shared and recalled by the new hires.
We used static cards to convey operational information like uniform and grooming standards, floor plans, and menu items and company information like Who Am I? introductions so that new hires could learn names and faces more easily, along with fun notes about each person in the team.
We harnessed videos for demonstrating procedures, especially for the kitchen team, so they could see preparation methods, presentation standards, and hygiene integrated in one shot, which is particularly helpful for action learners.
Multiple choice questions help to test retention quickly and develop a sense of personal ownership over information and agency for closing any knowledge gaps.
We complemented the digital with scheduled in-person check-ins with leaders at various levels of the organisation to ensure that new hires truly felt supported.
Approaches to F&B Workforce Training
While there are many approaches to staff training, some work particularly well in F&B and in tandem with digital training.
Digital training often features best practices and ideal scenarios, when coupled with real, on-the-ground implementation that is consistent with what is advertised in the digital learning space the learner feels a sense of security and trust with the organisation.
Allowing your team to engage in their own learning within their area of curiosity has great benefits for their personal development and contribution to your business. You can use digital tools to set up the project process with an overview of the guidelines, support available, tips for success, and preferred reporting back formats.
Developing online content can feel overwhelming at first, but if you keep these tips in mind, you’ll be able to maximise your online learning space:
- Keep it light and fun – the digital content we consume is filled with entertainment. No one wants to engage with a text book that has been split into dozens of small screens. Use all kinds of media to drive your learning objectives – make your content dynamic, moving, and interesting
- Mimic reality – don’t worry about making sure everything feels like a hollywood production. While professionalism is important, being fixated on being overly polished is often hurtful. Tap on your team to share their experiences, best practices, and stories of what it’s really like to work at your company. Creating too much of a divide between the online and offline worlds will create a disconnect for your team member and result in disengagement
- If you cover everything, you’ll cover nothing – how much can we really remember? If we’re being honest, it’s not much. Keep things that can be looked up optional so they can be used as and when they are needed. Understand the importance of being selective on the mandatory parts of your onboarding and ongoing training content and emphasise the how and why of your business
- Remember that training doesn’t exist in a vacuum – training is vital and accomplishes an important role – it helps us know what we don’t already know. However, there are two equally important pieces of the puzzle that also need to be addressed to create consistent, high-quality guest experiences – operational culture and performance management. It’s important to place equal value on all three parts, otherwise you’ll end up with a sophisticated training program that either collects dust on a shelf or is scanned through once and never actioned upon.
Incorporating Mobile Learning
Training should continue for the entirety of your staffs’ employment journey. As pointed out above, ongoing F&B Staff Training improves your workers’ skills and productivity, contributing to better business performance.
As your F&B staff grow into their roles and get promoted, their training needs will also change, as there are now new and higher-level knowledge and skills that they need to be trained in.
Hence, there’s a need for your F&B Business to invest in a system to manage training for different staff in different roles and at different career stages. A good training technology platform will be useful for your organisation to do this.
There are some excellent training tools in the market that complement instructor-facilitated training described above, and workplace learning.
ArcLab is one such innovative training tool that allows you to create, distribute and track Food and Beverage Training for your workforce, fast & easy.
While there are other tools around, one crucial advantage: ArcLab is built for the Deskless Workforce, which comprises virtually all of the workers in your F&B business. In this way, you do not implement a clunky training system which is difficult to onboard for your L&D / Ops / HR administrators and high-friction for your workers to learn how to use – posing unnecessary barriers in their training.
Instead, the ArcLab platform is simple to use for administrators. Your L&D team uses the ArcLab Editor Dashboard to easily create training modules and distribute them to designated staff (your authorised learners). Best of all, ArcLab’s SmartTranslate feature helps you to create multi-lingual modules with the click of a button – to best suit your learners’ individual language preferences and competencies.
Your learners then receive a notification in their email of SMS inbox, and start their ArcLab training module via their personalised secure access link. Content is presented via text, video, pictures, infographics and other rich media, and tested via multiple choice, open-ended and other forms of questions / assessment.
Each learner’s progress is tracked and credentialed, and your L&D / Ops / HR administrators receive a top-level overview and dive into each learner’s detailed journey via ArcLab’s Learner Analytics.
Invest in your F&B Workforce today!
Training your workforce is an important initiative that your F&B Business critically needs.
It’s simple to start, and your F&B Business can too.
2. Start creating simple ArcLab digital learning modules for your workforce today.