Time is Money
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You wouldn't rely on guesswork to figure how much you're spending on chanterelles or tri-tip each week— yet many restaurant owners and managers have no idea what their costs are for training and maintaining employees. Employee overhead is one of the largest costs in the service industry and it's also one of the most difficult components to manage efficiently.
There is no down time in a well-managed restaurant. You may be familiar with the phrase "If you've got time to lean, you've got time to clean." Your best, most self-motivated employees can be found helping out with others' side work, prep and closing tasks— and these are usually the same employees you pick to mentor the new ones. A lot of establishments lump employee training into the "side work" area of employee tasks: A needed task that gets done as time between crucial tasks become available.
Using this mentality, a lot restaurateurs default to a mentor-based, "learn-as-you-go," sink-or-swim style strategy— an approach that can exacerbate the already high turnover rate in the service industry. Don't mistake me, mentoring and learning on the job is a huge part of an effective training strategy. But left on its own, it's difficult to determine employee progress or pain points, wasting both time and money if an employee doesn't make it on their own. With clear goals and a solid schedule, you can track progress much more effectively and determine where to focus the training, or tell if an employee is going to wash out much sooner.
If you usually treat your training time as side work, consider treating it more like inventory instead. In short: start tracking it. When you know what your employees are learning and how much time they spend doing it, you can get a much clearer picture of where you need to tweak your system to make it more efficient. Even if you're experienced enough to have a pretty good “feel” for how long it should take to get a new worker up to speed, you might find things you hadn't considered before.
Waitrainer has built-in tools that let you track your employees as they train. For more information, click here.
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