How to Train Employees to be Brand Ambassadors

Posted on June 28, 2017 by Michelle Locke

What is a brand ambassador? Traditionally, a brand ambassador is a paid employee that hypes your product. Think Rihanna and Puma or Jennifer Lawrence and Dior. However, in recent years, the term has been expanded to include employees who help promote and spread the word about your business, whether it’s a business like Waitrainer+ or a business like a restaurant. This article goes over the 6 primary characteristics, as well as the importance of brand ambassadors.

So that leads us to something important: how can you, a restaurant owner, operator, or manager, train your employees to act as brand ambassadors? That is, how can you train them to talk up your restaurant, make great recommendations outside of the restaurant, and bring in their friends, family, and other new guests?

Here are our tips.

1. Make sure you have good management and morale.

This has been the focus of many of our blog posts throughout the last month. Firstly, detox your training & management to ensure that you don’t have a toxic work environment on your hands. Secondly, address these 10 issues that effect morale. And finally, address the three biggest issues that you experience with your employees; more on that here.

Once you know you have your management team leading in a style that promotes trust and high morale, you can start to look into training for your entire team to be brand ambassadors.

2. Make brand awareness a priority.

Firstly, do your employees understand what a brand is and how what they say about their job matters? This is really important: while your employees should have freedom to vent about frustrations at their job (rude guests, super busy shifts, low tips), they should also understand that if they say something negative about the restaurant, the management, or the food, it has repercussions.

All your training should center around a central idea of your brand. Here’s a great article about building a brand and brand awareness. Once you have that in place, you can center all your training around this idea: that your restaurant is a brand and that employees are expected to adhere to that brand awareness.

3. Build trust among your employees.

More than anything else, your training should build trust. Your employees should feel they are able to come to you with things they are worried about regarding your restaurant; for example, if they see a manager make a decision that they don’t think is in line with the brand, they can tell you and you will take real measures to correct it. Importantly, this encourages your employees to spread the word about your restaurant and brand, that you take steps to correct wrongs, and you are dedicated to creating a great restaurant.

4. Encourage social media.

This feels a little different from other recommendations, right? But I would encourage your employees to post on social media about their jobs: pictures from the restaurant (behind the scenes), anecdotes from working in the restaurant, what they love about their job. As long as they aren’t saying anything negative or damaging, there is no reason to stop them from sharing their love of their job and your restaurant with their followers. As long as they are trained on your brand and the language to use, it's good to go!