Nobody Told Me
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You've probably heard the best way to inform people about what you want to say is to tell your audience what you're going to tell them, then tell them, then tell them what you told them. This may work for speeches and result in temporary improvements, but it is not the best way to ensure that what you've said has been understood.
The challenge is, how do you communicate your policies, procedures, recipes, expectations, specials and more to your staff in an efficient way with the certainty that they've absorbed it?
Many restaurants write employee manuals that are infrequently updated and take a great deal of time to create and print. While the employee must sign off on having read the manual, few employees have actually read it cover to cover, let alone remember it if they have read it. And when you want to update it, it means re-printing, re-binding, and re-signing.
Inevitably, when you have the moment of truth, your employee hasn't followed the policies and you address it with them, they most often say, “But nobody talked to me about it. This is the first I've heard of it.” And there you are wondering how this person could say this, when you've told them about it for the upteenth time.
Why write the thing in the first place? There are some very good reasons including setting expectations but more than anything it helps limit your liability as an employer. Read more about why you should have an employee handbook here.
The same goes for your menus. Some restaurants change menus daily, others seasonally. How will you communicate your expectations for what you want? Is there an item that is particularly profitable that you'd like your staff to highlight? Did you get a screaming deal on an ingredient that you want your kitchen to utilize? How can you share this with your team? Especially if you have multiple locations?
We suggest using the magic of the Internet. We know, the Internet is a big, scary behemoth sometimes that can steal your time and run away with it. But enough about YouTube. We're talking about sharing your menus, your recipes and your policies in a way that will allow your staff to read them on their own time, and be tested for their comprehension. This way, you can avoid the “I didn't know” response, because you'll be able to view who has completed their training, read the documents you've suggested, and passed tests about them. Learn more about how to do this, by clicking here.
There are lots and lots of resources for creating employee policies, so don't feel like it's all on your shoulders. Companies like www.RestaurantOwner.com and others are great sites that offer standard language that you can customize for your restaurant.
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