I read an interesting article on Freaknomics recently. It was titled, “Obedience on the Job.” The writer relates a story where he questioned a bus driver on a policy change and the driver responds, “I just do what my boss tells me to do. I don’t question.”

 

If you’re like me, you have been in this situation before — and it can be aggravating.

 

Maybe you’ve called a customer service line that couldn’t answer your questions, or the cable guy didn’t know why your system needed certain cords. Perhaps your server couldn’t explain why there are no substitutions. Regardless of the details, it is frustrating to realize that people interacting with customers may not know why they do what they do, but simply act on instruction.

 

It’s the curse of the zombie employee. What we assume are reasonable, intelligent people outside of work, sometimes walk into the job and decide to go into blasé autopilot.

 

Situations like these bring to light the fine line between basic training and comprehensive training.

If your staff receives minimal information when they come to work, they are unlikely to build on that knowledge because they have just enough to get through their shift. A waiter who is trained can easily share the specials and knows if certain changes to the dishes are possible and why. And a well-trained server always has favorite dishes to recommend.

 

Most importantly, an attentive staff member provides excellent service and is enabled to think for him or herself.

 

Let’s go back to the bus driver. Our frustrated writer was displeased with a new policy, when he complained he received apathy from the driver. Had the driver explained the policy, the customer would still have disliked the change, but he would have felt he received better service. Even if the driver agreed that the policy was aggravating, the patron would have felt like he was heard and understood.

 

In foodservice, you can’t please everyone all the time. Owners, managers, servers and chefs know this. You can try, but no one hits it out of the park every single time because people’s preferences change.

 

Providing excellent service requires adjusting to the customers’ needs and wants. Which is why you need a staff that can think on their feet. If you have a policy that doesn’t make sense in every situation, your staff needs to feel empowered to be lenient, as needed — or how to explain it appropriately.

 

Part of providing this level of service is hiring the right people and engaging your staff so they want to be vigilant. But training your team and providing continuous communication on policy, updates and expectations is the key to avoiding service faux pas.

 

One of the benefits of eLearning is that you are able to provide training in multiple formats. Video instruction for visual learners, PDFs for the readers and SCORM courses for employees who thrive with more interactive training. Additionally, the material is always accessible. If you have an employee who draws a blank when asked about the difference between rare and medium rare, or why you can’t make certain changes to the menu, they can always go back and review the material. With eLearning, it is online all the time so it is impossible to lose.

 

With online training programs, you are also able to take training to the next step. It’s not just about having employees do a quick review of materials. eLearning enables restaurants to track course completion and review test scores.

 

How can you make this work for you? Ensure your staff is absorbing the content by creating tests that ask if they understand why you operate the way you do.

 

When there is a policy change, send it out through the system and make sure every employee in the company is well informed. And if the policy doesn’t fit for some reason, you’ll know that your high performing team will question it.

 

Go from a trained team to a well-trained team.

 

Then, when your customer asks why you no longer accept checks, are out of tomatoes or don’t allow dogs, your employee won’t say, “I just do what my boss tells me to do. I don’t question.”

Views: 236

Comment

You need to be a member of FohBoh to add comments!

Join FohBoh

Advertisments

 

DEPARTMENTS

Social Wine Club for Craft Wineries

Smartbrief

Kids LiveWell atwitter over Twitter party

In its continuing effort to promote more nutritious and flavorful children's menu options, the NRA will hold a Twitter party  -More

Starbucks could become top on-premise wine seller in U.S.

Starbucks is planning to slowly expand its evening sales of wine, beer and small plates to thousands of selected stores throu -More

The evolving nature of snacks

Snacks have shifted from an after-school treat to a meal alternative as meal times become more fragmented.  -More

JOBS & CAREERS

Posting a job or finding a job starts here at FohBoh. Call us about special $25 posting packages to syndicate across all major jobs boards.

National News

Wahlburgers Announces Expansion Plans Including Franchise Agreement in Philadelphia

Wahlburgers has signed a franchise agreement with Hingham Associates, LLC that will bring five Wahlburgers to the metropolitan Philadelphia area over the next several years. The franchise group is actively looking at sites and is targeting a late 2014-early 2015 opening for its first restaurant.

Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. First Quarter 2014 Revenue Up 24.4%

Comparable restaurant sales increased 13.4% - Restaurant level operating margin was 25.9%, a decrease of 40 basis points

Jamba Juice Announces Grand Opening of New St. Louis, MO Location

Jamba Juice Company announced the brand’s continued expansion in the St. Louis market with the opening of a Jamba Juice® store at 11477 Olive Blvd. on April 16, 2014.

Expert in Real Estate Analytics Joins Luna Grill

Luna Grill, the San Diego-based Mediterranean restaurant chain, is welcoming retail real estate industry veteran Greg Thorburn to its leadership team. Thorburn has been brought on board to fill the newly created position of Vice-President of Real Estate.

Rita's Italian Ice Awards Area Development Agreement for Kansas

Rita's Italian Ice has awarded franchise and area development agreements for Kansas and the Kansas City area, which extends to the Missouri side of the city, to franchisees and local residents Jay Miller, Jeff Miller and Pat Reilly.

CROWD FUNDING

If you are looking for capital to start or grow your restaurant, create the next 501c3, develop and launch the next app for the restaurant industry,or want to help your peers in some meaningful way, we want to know about it.

TED TALKS VIDEO

TED: Matthew Carter: My life in typefaces - Matthew Carter (2014)

Pick up a book, magazine or screen, and more than likely you'll come across some typography designed by Matthew Carter. In this charming talk, the man behind typefaces such as Verdana, Georgia and Bell Centennial (designed just for phone books -- remember them?), takes us on a spin through a career focused on the very last pixel of each letter of a font.

TED: Jeremy Kasdin: The flower-shaped starshade that might help us detect Earth-like planets - Jeremy Kasdin (2014)

Astronomers believe that every star in the galaxy has a planet, one fifth of which might harbor life. Only we haven't seen any of them -- yet. Jeremy Kasdin and his team are looking to change that with the design and engineering of an extraordinary piece of equipment: a flower petal-shaped "starshade" that allows a telescope to photograph planets from 50,000 kilometers away. It is, he says, the "coolest possible science."

TED: Norman Spack: How I help transgender teens become who they want to be - Norman Spack (2013)

Puberty is an awkward time for just about everybody, but for transgender teens it can be a nightmare, as they grow overnight into bodies they aren't comfortable with. In a heartfelt talk, endocrinologist Norman Spack tells a personal story of how he became one of the few doctors in the US to treat minors with hormone replacement therapy. By staving off the effects of puberty, Spack gives trans teens the time they need. (Filmed at TEDxBeaconStreet.)

TED: Jennifer Senior: For parents, happiness is a very high bar - Jennifer Senior (2014)

The parenting section of the bookstore is overwhelming—it's "a giant, candy-colored monument to our collective panic," as writer Jennifer Senior puts it. Why is parenthood filled with so much anxiety? Because the goal of modern, middle-class parents—to raise happy children—is so elusive. In this honest talk, she offers some kinder and more achievable aims.

© 2014   Created by FohBoh.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service