Welcome to the restaurant industry. You must be fast-paced, up to date on the latest food trends and on the cutting-edge of new cooking techniques if you want to stand out from all the other businesses selling equally delicious food, unique cocktails and hard-to-find craft beers. Being fresh and serving attractive meals is enough to get hungry patrons through the doors, but how can you compete night after night, especially in cities and towns renowned for their culinary scenes?
Well, this is the service industry after all, and that means that without a team of A-players both in the front and back of house, restaurant-goers will find a place to eat with staff that cares about its customers.
Now that you understand the importance of skilled and well-trained employees, let’s look at five industry trends to help you identify where to invest in training materials.
1. Bigger locations
Restaurants have long lived by the idea that more seats equals more customers and therefore higher revenue. After all, a single seat at a bar or a table could generate upwards of $100,000 over time at nicer establishments. So, it is no wonder that Eater magazine considered “bigger restaurants” to be a burgeoning trend in 2015.
“Staff training at larger eateries often cannot keep up with the demands of customers.”
However, having almost 150 seats isn’t always a positive. The source noted that staff training at these larger eateries often cannot keep up with the demands of customers. Whether it’s dealing with more eaters or learning all the table numbers, printed training materials are required at restaurants nowadays.
2. No tipping?!
The act of leaving a tip after a meal is so ingrained in American culture that consumers rarely question the practice or its validity in the modern era. While some restaurateurs might claim that tipping is required, it is not. This is a holdover rule from the prohibition era which makes little sense in a political climate that stresses the importance of a living wage. As a result, a new trend has exploded, and Baum+Whiteman asserted that no-tipping restaurants are becoming increasingly popular in the U.S.
In an attempt to counter the lack of tips or make patrons want to tip more, restaurants can train their servers to better cater to customers in hopes of creating such a great experience that further compensation just seems logical. While you might assume we mean that waiters should familiarize themselves with the menu, it is also important to teach your staff members the basics of quality customer service.
3. Restaurant groups
As Americans become more fatigued by chain restaurants, some businesses are taking a different approach to country- and city-wide domination. Eater magazine noted that restaurant groups are a hot trend in the industry, as operators learn that they can scale profits at a single venue by working with other brands.
Restaurant groups are a great opportunity for expansion, and by sharing employees, these businesses can take their group to the next level. However, to ensure that every staff member can recall specifics about your brand and food, training materials are required.
4. The desire for drinks
What is the first thing you look for on a menu? OK, maybe we’re the only ones thinking the wine, beer and cocktail list is the most popular, but most people love a good drink. In fact, fantastic and unique liquor, beer and cocktails are now the focus of many patrons.
According to Eater magazine, one of the biggest trends in fine dining is the inclusion of sommeliers and restaurant wine professionals. In addition, Restaurant Engine highlighted the popularity of artisan craft brews, brewed both locally and otherwise, as well as distilled liquors.
Simply put, servers and back of house staff can soak up a lot of knowledge in regard to alcoholic beverages, and to make learning easier, restaurants should create cheat sheet pamphlets and posters that identify the difference between certain drinks. After all, you don’t want to serve a stout to a hophead or a red wine to a sauvignon blanc fanatic.
“Menus deliver sensory experiences as much as they do nutrients.”
Creating food with a focus on lighting, plating and music is arguably one of the most interesting trends in the restaurant industry. Dubbed neurogastronomy, Zagat explained that menus now deliver sensory experiences as much as they do nutrients.
Training documents are essential in this regard, as many front and back of house staffers have probably never tasted anything cooked via the sous-vide method. With some visual learning tools, those servers and cooks will be able to explain exactly what they’re serving without breaking a sweat.
The average restaurateur is likely to never have considered how valuable physical training assets can be in this industry, but given those five burgeoning trends, those individuals might want to start ordering training documents as soon as they’re done Googling the term “sous-vide.”
RA Sushi streamlines and automates front of house and back of house training at all 28 locations in just a few clicks. Read this case study to learn how Mimeo handles the training content logistics.