How To Educate Your Servers
The single most important element to running a great restaurant.
Then why is it so ignored?
Maybe because your servers are experienced.
Let us consider. Remember the last time you went out to eat and had bad service? Do you think you were your servers first table?
When she let your water get low…
And forgot your side of sauteed mushrooms…
And didn’t know if your appetizer contained gluten…
And didn’t ask if you wanted another martini…
And didn’t fill your wine glass…
I doubt bad service occurred because your server didn’t have the experience. In fact, I bet she had a ton of experience, it was just experience at doing things wrong, and I bet if her manager had known what to look for, and how to coach her, you would not have received bad service.
Experience is not the same as being educated. Education in your restaurant is the glue that will bind your staff to you and your restaurant. If you are the one to teach someone how to be better…it is usually paid back in loyalty, higher review ratings and more revenue.
But maybe you don’t know how to educate your staff? Don’t worry, I do. Don’t forget, I have a lot of experience and I want to help you and your team, and I’ll tell you everything that has helped me. I’ll even tell you what I wish I had had at my jobs.
How to Educate?
Educate yourself! If you don’t know what to look for, it’s going to make for a long battle in educating others. Join my newsletter and receive an e-mail every Monday. I’ll include things to look for on the floor, leadership ideas and help you improve your restaurant management skills,
Head hunt a lead server for your restaurant.
Don’t do that unless you are willing to make the changes that they suggest.
The potential problem there is, the servers that are the ones that could actually change your service around, or vastly improve it, are already leading teams or are on strong ones. That translates to $$$! You will have to compensate them for leaving their money making job. If that is possible for you, I would suggest it.
Hire a reverse stage. It’s like hiring a consultant, it’s just called something different.
- and it’s way fricken cheaper
- and it focuses on service
A stage [stahj] is someone, typically an aspiring chef, that will come into an establishment and learn as much as possible from the head chef. Stages usually come in for free just for the honor of learning from the acclaimed chef. Sometimes a stage will come in with the wish to be hired; staging is a way for the head chef to see if the wanna be has what the hiring chef is looking for.
But, we aren’t talking about a stage.
We are talking about a reverse stage.
What in the heck do I mean?
In this case, rather than spending $600.00 + per day on a consultant to come in and re-vamp everything, you can hire an exceptional server to follow your best server around.
You don’t even have to tell the server what is going on, that way the reverse stage will get the best understanding of how things are run.
The reverse stage can ask the questions of the trainer or team that they need to get an understanding of how things are run.
Where the service problems are.
Who the service problems are.
Then you talk to them!
You hired them, reap the benefits!
You can hire a secret shopper who will tell you what their one server did wrong or didn’t know, but with a reverse stage you can see faults of the system from the inside, from the trainer, from the whole service team.
This is a new set of eyes. Eyes from a person who knows good service and how to deliver it.
They can give you ideas to implement, team members who need assistance in education or an escort to the door.
They can help your service staff!
What if you like what they say and want to implement some changes?
Ask them for simple steps that you can take to get there.
Hire them to come and train a couple days out of the week, until you feel like your trainer is a new man (or woman).
Then your trainer can re-train your staff!
Daily Line Ups that have IMPACT
First of all, if you are not conducting daily line ups, why aren’t you? They’re gold.
Second of all, line ups can be power houses for training your staff! You just have to conduct them correctly.
Do you already conduct line ups? Read on to learn how to improve them.
Line ups should be held at the same time every day. That goes with my education and repetition theory:
It takes repetition to have knowledge stick! Don’t expect to tell your service team an important piece of information once and have them remember. If it is important, it is worth being repeated. If it is important, it is worth being repeated. If it is important, it is worth being repeated. If it is important, it is worth being repeated.
So, what is worth repeating during your daily line ups?
I don’t know. The good news is, you do.
What are the problems you are noticing? Figure them out. Write them down.
Ask some questions! Ask your bartenders, your hosts, your servers!
- What do you wish you knew more about?
- Tell me about our wines by the glass.
- What wine would you pair with our XYZ dish?
- Can you explain the XYZ dish to me?
- How many glasses of wine are in a bottle?
- How many ounces do we pour for a glass of wine?
- If I order a martini, what follow up questions would you have for me?
- Do we put vermouth in our martini’s?
- What is a gibson garnished with?
- What is the silverware sign for “I’m finished eating”?
- What is gluten?
- Explain what “shellfish is”.
Your list could look like this:
- Go over Martini’s
- Basic wine info
- Talk about gluten
- Dining etiquette
- Establish signals
Figure out what your staff needs and give little pieces of info, everyday. Once everyone knows it, move on!
The difference between line ups and workshops is duration and information.
The duration is much longer. You can take 30 minutes or 6 hours to conduct one. (6 hours??? Zzzzzzzzzzz)
The good thing about conducting a workshop is you can cover much more information. Rather than line ups, which cover a small amount of things over a longer period of time, you can have one or two workshops and cover all the things that would take you months to go over in a line up series.
But you have to be organized and prepared to conduct an effective workshop series.
If you are going to ask employees to meet up for an extra curricular activity, you should be ready to pack a wallop of information.
You don’t want to be overwhelming. And you want the information to flow in a way that makes sense.
Sound like a lot of work?
I mean, it is.
How about this…it is worth it!
Imagine having an entire staff that knows…everything! Well, maybe not everything, but enough to give you a strong sense of trust and pride in having them be your restaurants representatives.
This is your army.
You are the general.
How are you going to arm them?
Are you going to trust that they already have ninja training, grenades and guns?
Or are you going to go over the terrine that they are expected to navigate and give them the weapons and the training to use them?
My personal recommendation is that you do the 3, 4 combo.
Conduct a workshop. Go over a lot of information! Pack it in!
And then reiterate that information every single day.
Every single day.
If it is important, it is worth being repeated. If it is important, it is worth being repeated. If it is important, it is worth being repeated. If it is important, it is worth being repeated.
Idea 6: My Online Booze course
Educate your staff, use my booze course to help you.
Your restaurants alcohol profits are 10% to 30% of your revenue. Do your servers know anything about that 10% to 30% of
What if EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOUR SERVERS, was an expert on EVERY SINGLE PRODUCT BEHIND THE BAR?
How would that change your life, your restaurant and your service team? I know how:
- You would be less stressed
- Your restaurants profits would go up
- Your servers would feel more confident, comfortable and loyal to your company
- Your servers would have higher check averages, therefor make more money
- Server turnover would decrease
- Your restaurants reputation would make a slow and steady journey up
Look at my Restaurant Membership Booze Course. It will help you. It even has a Money Back Guarantee and comes with my Server Reference Sheet Bundle Pack.
Here are some crosswords to download, print and hang up in your server alley. Give your servers something to do that will expand their knowledge…
I think, I hope, that I have given you enough ideas to move you forward with your restaurant education.
I hope I have inspired you to create the change that you need, to have the restaurant that you want.
If you feel overwhelmed at the prospect of going about this alone, fret not my lovely fretter!
Let me help you further.
I can come to your restaurant to help you. I can conduct a workshop for your servers or I can spend time with you, finding issues and solutions to those issues. I can train your trainers and help relieve your stress.
I'm Jennifer and I would be honored to be your virtual restaurant consultant. I'm a real human, immersed in the industry, here to provide you with the most helpful ideas, information and products to make you more money and more successful.
No stone is left unturned here. I cover it all. So shoot me
a message, ask a question or just introduce yourself!
I can't wait to hear from you!
Latest posts by Jennifer, iamWaitress (see all)
- 7 Types of Restaurant Guests and How to Please Them All - December 26, 2016
- 8 tips to earn higher tips - December 12, 2016
- Seating Guests Like A Pro: Table Mapping and Section Planning - December 1, 2016