Even when you’re not training, you’re training

I recently participated in a pretraining interview session in which my partner and I visited several of a company’s locations to learn about the individual operations and interview the managers and other key players. Part of the interview process was to learn about how each manager trained and part was to learn about the challenges in the training process.

One interview in particular continues to remain in my memory. The manager seemed dedicated, engaged and extremely into the training we were about to observe. He was very impressive. After the interview he took us on a tour of the kitchen.

Then, during the tour, he stuck his unwashed hand in a pan of taco meat and ate some in front of us and several members of the kitchen staff!

Leading by example is the most important training technique any person within the restaurant can present. As a result, no amount of training could undo what that manager just taught his staff because no matter what he tells them, they will always remember his actions better than his words.

You, your managers, key trainers and veteran staff must have intimate knowledge of your company’s standards and practice them to set the example for incoming staff. A “do as I say and not as I do” attitude does not work and only teaches bad habits or creates an atmosphere of resentment and mistrust.

Regular management and train the trainer refreshers as well as periodic staff training and all staff meetings will go a long way to thwart bad habits before they are formed. But the owner and general manager ultimately set the standard, so ensure you are a good role model.

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Wendy Dimitri

Wendy Dimitri is the principal of The CRB Group, a full-service restaurant consulting group specializing in independent restaurant concepts. With more than 20 years of experience in the service...
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