Sunday, January 6, 2013

Restaurant Consulting NYC | Are Your Pre-Service Meetings a Waste of Time? | 4Q Consulting, LLC

Are Your Pre-Service Meetings a Waste of Time?

The pre-service meeting is often the most underutilized time in a shift, if the meeting is done at all due to being in the “weeds” before service.  Managers usually just end up doing a uniform “Line Up”.  

A well-run, well-planned meeting can be a valuable tool in enhancing staff knowledge, product quality and your bottom line.  Train your managers on the keys to conducting a productive and time-effective pre-service meeting: Plan it, Keep it Short and Simple, and Make it a Positive Experience.

Here are the 4 parts to a well-planned pre-service meeting:

Praise – Set the tone for a positive meeting by praising the staff’s achievements: high sales from a previous service; having received a positive customer comment; someone lending a hand when they weren’t asked to; and highlighting the number of days without a safety incident - always aligning the praise with the company’s core values. 

Information - There will be specific information to communicate each service - menu changes or specials, service items, safety and sanitation updates.  Additionally, this is a good time to give a daily reminder of the restaurant’s and team’s goals. This communication is essential for all the staff to hear together as they head into battle for the shift: it reminds everyone that they are on the same team.

Training – There should be a portion of your meeting dedicated to training and skill building. This can be a wide range of topics: wine tastings, suggestive selling, safety, customer service models, etc. Write a topics list and build mini-training modules - now you’ve discovered how to add hours of training without additional expense.  During the training module of the meeting, let the staff talk. Too many meetings are filled with a one way flow of information, with managers lecturing their staff.  Have your managers lead an open discussion and engage your staff in role playing exercises. 

Wrap Up – Have your manager’s wrap up their meeting by summarizing the points discussed earlier.  Managers should remind their teams that they will be on the floor with them if they have any questions or issues during the service.

The expression “those who fail to plan, plan to fail”, fits the bill here.  If planned and conducted properly, pre-service meetings can be a tool which greatly improves the staff’s morale and product knowledge. This in turn can reduce the number of mistakes, resulting in a better customer experience, a safer work environment, improved food safety and sanitation, decreased costs and increased profits.

Communicating and discussing a topic at a pre-service meeting then addressing it during a busy service is a very effective way to manage employees. 

Don’t know where to begin?  Ask yourself, do you have the proper written procedures and operational guidelines in place so your manager can help you be as profitable as possible?  4Q Consulting can develop customized operational guidelines and training programs to meet your needs.  Email us today for a free business consultation!

All original content copyright Noelle E. Ifshin, 2012-2013.

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