The food service industry can be a brutal business, and sometimes the differences between making it and breaking are very, very thin. As the manager, you have a lot on your plate – from training and supervising employees to running budgets and purchasing new equipment and supplies.
This series is intended to help you navigate the treacherous waters of restaurant management.
Train Your Staff To Handle Multiple Jobs
This technique is also referred to as cross-training, and is one of the most effective ways for you to reduce labor costs.
Inevitably, gaps are going to appear in the line of tasks involved in seating, serving, and feeding your customers. Line cooks get sick. Bartenders quit suddenly. Servers and hosts no call no show.
And even if you get through a shift with every one of your staff present and ready for work, a busy night gets hectic, and someone is always going to need extra help.
This is where cross-training comes in. Some examples include:
- Train your hosts to be backup servers
- Train your servers to be backup hosts
- Train prep cooks to run the grill
- Train bussers to expedite and run food
- Train top servers to bartend, and bartenders to serve
Effective cross-training makes your staff more efficient and brings better service to your customers.
It also allows you to save on employee hours: on a slow night, cut your hosts and let servers handle both hosting and serving.
Bussers who can run food allow your servers to handle more tables, meaning you can schedule one less server for that shift, saving you money and making your servers happy because they will get more tips.
The list of benefits you reap from cross-training goes on.
Conduct periodic employee reviews. Tracking staff performance is always an important task. The best resource you have when it comes to evaluating your staff is the staff themselves. Sit down face-to-face with each member and get a feel for how they and the employees around them are performing.
Use these meetings as a way to hand out raises, promotions, and feedback. Meanwhile, you’ll be getting feedback on how your restaurant is running, and what areas need to be addressed. Employee reviews help you cut the staff that aren’t working while quickly promoting the staff that are performing well.
The review and cross-training process are mutually supportive. Every review period should reveal the areas that require more training, and as you train more you’ll be able to conduct more reviews to track progress.