Pre-shift Meetings Keep Training Fresh


Somewhere between new employee orientation and today’s shift, employees lose some knowledge and skill. How much or how little depends on the frequency of practice and reinforcement. Guests, meanwhile, don’t care about the past. They’re interested in the service they’re receiving at the present time. Are you confident your employees can deliver? Ongoing training, role-playing, and pre-shift meetings help ensure employees implement their training on every shift.

Make Your Pre-Shift Meetings Mean More

By design, pre-shift meetings have to be quick. But that doesn’t mean they have to lack substance. Make the short amount of time you have in your pre-shift meetings really count with these tips.

  • Lead your pre-shift meetings with a fill-in-the-blank approach. Multiple-choice tests seemed easier than other forms of testing, didn’t they? You could figure out an answer from the list of possibilities. But was the information really understood? To succeed at fill-in-the-blank tests, on the other hand, you really had to know your stuff. When you challenge your employees to apply skills during pre-shift meetings, they will be able to apply them with guests as well.
  • Inspire excitement about your menu with the “recipe-of-the-day” activity. Select an item or a few items to review with the front-of-the-house crew. In the back of the house, have kitchen crew prepare the item exactly to standard. Cooks get to hone their preparation skills, cashiers/phone reps get to taste items which, in turn, they can describe to guests in better detail: “We tried one earlier today and it’s outstanding!” Who can resist?
  • Dial up product knowledge. One by one, have front-of-the-house crew name a characteristic, price, or other information about a featured menu item. What’s missing? Who provided the best descriptions? Managers don’t have all the information — employees do. This exercise encourages employees to share product knowledge best practices and hear from peers, not just the boss.
  • Empower employees by making them trainer for a day. Assign a menu-item or restaurant policy to an employee and have them lead a short session in your pre-shift meetings. Not only will this train your staff, it will help you uncover mentor potential throughout your staff.
  • Motivate employees with a quote of the day. Post a quote about service, motivation, or positive news each day. Employees are barraged with so much negativity through social media, let their workplace be a source of positive inspiration. You control the environment in your restaurant. Positivity is contagious — pass it on!

The restaurant landscape is filled with competitors who deliver ordinary experiences extraordinarily well. Your pre-shift meetings give you the opportunity to set your restaurant apart. Use this time to build excitement, reinforce communication, enhance product knowledge, and improve service skills. Pre-shift meetings also foster fun interaction with guests. And fun translates into exceptional guest experiences every time.

Restaurant Service and Sales Training

The Service & Sales Excellence Waitstaff Training Series is based on Service That Sells!, a restaurant training philosophy developed by restaurant owners for restaurant owners. Click here to learn more.

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