Restaurant Training: 10 Steps to a Great Service Training Plan for Independents - Podcast Episode 15

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Restaurant Training: 10 Steps to a Great Service Training Plan for Independents

In this episode of The Restaurant Prosperity Formula podcast, host David Scott Peters welcomes back Darren Denington, CFBE, founder of Service with Style. Darren has more than 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry and has an extensive background as a food and beverage director, executive chef, general manager, restaurant owner, staff trainer, restaurant coach and consultant. He holds the most prestigious certification available for a hospitality professional being a certified food and beverage executive. Service With Style Hospitality Group is a hospitality firm offering secret shopping, restaurant coaching and team training services. For today’s discussion, we focus on Darren’s 10 steps to building a great service training plan for your restaurant.

To achieve prosperity, you have to follow a very specific formula made up of leadership systems, training, accountability and taking action. The topic of this episode centers around the principle of project management and great service. Darren and I have a great conversation about how you can easily get those projects you need to get done from idea to completion. As a bonus he walks us through his 10 steps to a great service training plan.

As an industry expert, Darren talks about how he looks at the industry as having 12–15 little categories inside your restaurant that have to be really good if you're going to do anything really special. The three categories, areas, departments, whatever you want to call them, that have to be right before you can do anything are leadership systems and steps.  

If you have the leadership, the right people that have bought in, that communicate well and you have the right systems, that's the foundation. Then Darren looks at what's next. He sees a lot of restaurants that have been working on the foundation, so when the foundation is set, pick a project. For Darren’s example, he uses service as a project.

Service is a great example because right now there are high levels of burnout, and we need to be re-energized. In the coming months, you will restaff your restaurant and be serving your guests. Service is critical. The focus on service has pivoted to to-go and delivery. When your dining room opens back up, you could be a little rusty on great service for a busy, busy restaurant. Plus you’ll have new employees, and you want to teach them what your expectations are for service in your restaurant.

One thing to note here is that service is topical primarily based on reports Darren is reviewing through his secret shopping services. He says they’re seeing a really big trend in secret shopping reports that early on when the pandemic happened, a lot of service mistakes were being overlooked or forgiven by the consumer. They were willing to give someone the benefit of the doubt if they had to wait three or four minutes because the restaurant was short-handed. After nearly a year of the pandemic, servers and staff are fatigued. It's been a really, really hard year on them. But while the guest was willing to look past that because they understood what everybody was going through, now because where a lot of the economy is, they expect value for their dollars. They’re looking for really good service while employee morale is struggling. So service is a great topic to focus on in this episode. 

Even if service isn’t the project you want to tackle first in your restaurant, Darren’s 10 steps will get you from start to finish on every project you take up.

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