7 Ways to Prepare Your Staff for a Successful Restaurant or Café Grand Opening in 2022!


7 Ways to Prepare Your Staff for a Successful Restaurant or Café Grand Opening in 2022!

The days leading up to the opening can be hectic and stressful.  The pressure is on and can be overwhelming.  Opening a hospitality business in Vancouver – takes a lot of resources, time and money, especially after the pandemic.  You must do it right and invest in your people, systems and training.  Some restaurant owners would rather cut corners, limit training to save money and time. There’s no doubt money will be saved on labor costs but in the long run, avoiding this will not do anyone any favors. Untrained staff could mean a pile of costly mistakes and scenarios, which usually leads to losing customers and dealing with negative reviews.  This could also lead to low retention and high turnover in one of the toughest times to staff in history!

In the attempt to help small businesses not only survive but thrive in this new normal here at 7 tips to assist you in having a successful open.


Product Knowledge

This is a must! I’ve lost count how many times I’ve been to a restaurant where the wait staff had very little knowledge about the menu, ways to modify and allergy awareness. Just remember, your staff will be the face of your restaurant and cafe.  Guests depend on them to have the knowledge and give them confidence in providing the great meal or beverages.  They want a correct order and to get their meals on time, with excellent service – or they will find another competitor that can offer this.  Print out your full menu and provide it during the training, giving your team time to review (food and drinks). Every team member should be familiar with the menu that interacts with guests.  You want to make sure your employees are ready to answer any menu questions at any time.  Customers rely on employees to give them suggestions or recommendations.  It’s a good idea to have dry-runs and taste-testings. Once they taste the menu, they can describe it better.  They will then be able to share their favorites with guests and offer a personalized offering based on facts.  In addition, you must create a quiz to validate and test your staff’s knowledge.  


Create an Employee Handbook

Creating your employee handbook could be a ton of work but it’s critical to a successful hospitality business.  This handbook or standard operating manual is going to be the road map of how your company operates and help build a high-performance culture. It’ll make it easier to communicate rules and responsibilities to employees, so there’s no question about what’s expected of them. Here’s a list of key points to consider:

  • Company vision
  • Policies – Here’s a list of several key elements to include:
    • Dress code
    • Social Media standards
    • Attendance
    • Total Benefits and Pay; including bonuses, rewards, tips – total compensation and standards
    • Sick Policy and standards
    • Workers’ compensation
    • Equal employment/non-discrimination/anti-bullying policies
    • Paid time-off
    • Do your research and make sure to include as much as possible. 

Train Managers and Supervisors First

Employees don’t leave jobs for money, they leave due to poor leadership!  Leaders set the tone of your business.  Every great café has supervisors and managers to lead their team.  They must be knowledgeable about policies, procedures and products and understand how to coach and lead the standards.  They must motivate and inspire your team, celebrating as much as correcting behavior to reinforce great things and correct misses.  Go over the employee handbook in detail with them. Explain each section as thoroughly as possible. Involve them in hiring and training the staff to build a relationship and to build their high-performance team.


Standardize Employee Orientations For All Staff 

This will be a great opportunity to introduce all staff to each other and to how each reporting relationship works for each level of leadership.  Have your leaders share their background and what their roles will be at your restaurant. Be prepared to answer any questions, most likely your new employees will have plenty.  Get to know your team members personally and professionally to build a bond and connect on a deeper level.  What is your favorite sport?  What is your favorite food? Why did you choose to work here?  Where did you work before – are all great questions to ask and have as ice breakers for new employee onboarding, orientations and training.

Have staff take a tour of the space, including all areas of the restaurant. It’s important your staff is familiar with the location they will be working at. The last thing you want is having staff running around looking for things and wasting time leading to inefficiency.  Save them time and show them where everything is placed and make them feel comfortable.

Safety First 

Safety is one of the biggest concerns at any business. It’s important to keep your establishment safe. Your staff should be aware of the potential risks, hazards and how to minimize them as much as possible. Here are some common areas you should be training your staff on safety:

  • Train staff about food handling.
  • How to prevent and handle injuries – such as burns, slips and falls, eye injury, sprains, strains, lacerations, punctures.
  • Fire safety procedures – train kitchen staff how to properly operate restaurant equipment.
  • Covid safety standards and procedures – sanitation and sanitization plans and procedures for guests and staff

Go Over Service Standards  

Going over service standards provides a clear line of communication and expectations with your staff.  It’s the behavioral template that leads to consistent service. You need a vision of what service should look and feel like before you pass it down to staff.

When you have created your service standards, go over service standard expectations. Train your staff how to greet customers, how to handle complaints and customer recovery.  They will learn as they go when it comes to dealing with different customer issues because lets face it, you are not going to be able to cover every possible scenario. However, preparing them how to communicate with customers will help them provide a higher level of service.   Role play common scenarios you expect to happen in your business and ensure the expectation is clear on how to turn a mistake or complaint into a great situation where the customer returns and leaves happy.


POS Training

The stress mounts when your staff is running around on a busy day with their head cut off. Even more so, when your staff has no idea how to use the POS system can add to the stress and frustration not only of your team, but of customers.  This will slow down each server and no doubt cause a domino effect.  The service slows, the kitchen is getting food out late and seating is now backed up causing customers to become frustrated due to long wait times.

Practice makes perfect.  Print out screenshots of your POS system menu and pages.  This will help when training and having them be familiar with how to navigate. Schedule several practice days where employees are serving other employees and practicing with the system in training mode.  Have them take turns. This is will allow staff to become familiar and comfortable with the POS system.

Overall, there are many key components of opening a hospitality business that must be in place for a successful open.  Be organized and ensure you have the right team to execute a flawless opening.  Leverage experts to support with training where you can.  Ie. Coffee training provided by coffee roasters, pos training from POS company experts.  Also, ensure you have the right mentorship and partnerships in place to lead your team.  This is what our experts at Pinnacle Consulting support you with and we can help for as little as $1500 per month!  Email us at morgan@hospitalityconsulting.co to schedule a free consultation.

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