One of the major failures of coffee businesses is the lack of a solid and effective training program; one that starts the moment the employee is hired and ends when he/she leaves. The failure to implement such a training program and maintain it through continuous improvement causes many businesses to operate beneath their potential, hinders growth in business value and has caused many a new business to fail.
Businesses run without effective training systems are difficult to run and by the time an owners have been in business for a few years they are so tired and exasperated they just want to get out. Unfortunately, by that time the lack of an adequate training system leaves little or no value to the entity beyond resale value of used equipment and furniture.
Effective training must be documented
Training is defined as: the action of teaching a person or animal a particular skill or type of behavior. At JP’s we teach, train and exhibit behavior (attitudes, actions, words) new hires are expected to imitate and we reward them with an opportunity to stay working in our business and receive a paycheck. If someone can’t or won’t learn what we teach them, they will not stay employed at JP’s. To ensure new employees receive everything they need to accomplish the job we document and checklist every step of the program. New employees are required to sign forms, fill out checklists and turn them in within a required period of time. Without this we would never remain consistent.
Following are major categories you need to focus on (our approximate timeline-may vary for your store):
- Day 1, store familiarity. Acquaint the new person with the store: a brief tour to show them where everything is.
- Day 1-5, store policy. Go over all aspects of employment: sign all employment forms, give them an updated handbook (and make sure they read it), train them on how to get a replacement for a shift, etc., where to park and anything else they need to know.
- Week 1-4, customer service, POS system and menu. Employees must be taught how your store greets customers, how to effectively use your POS system and what the complete menu consists of. This should be done before they are even trained on how to prepare or serve anything.
- Week 5-12, daily execution and feedback. JP’s hires all employees on a 90 day trial basis and we feel it takes at least this long for an employee to get comfortable with the store and for us to get an accurate picture of them. Job shadowing for all tasks is valuable and time must be allocated for all aspects of job requirements.
- Week 13 or later, bar training. Once an employees are comfortable with the store, have proven themselves capable and ready for the next step, we send them through bar training. Bar training must be a systematized training program with multiple sessions over a period of weeks, and provide adequate training in menu items, quality and efficiency and then test to insure consistent execution to your store standards.
- Ongoing training. Quality never stops. Continuous improvement is our mantra. We are always learning, changing, and improving, and our training must reflect that. If your training program has not been reviewed and changed in the last year, you are falling behind.
- *Store opening training. This step deals only with those who are not yet open. The challenge is taking the first 5 categories and getting as much of it into your initial group of employees as possible without breaking the bank. When you open the doors your store will benefit greatly from employees who are able to thrill the customer with great product and service. And that comes from you training them well in advance of opening.
Benefits of an effective training program
Creating and overseeing a quality training program in your store will yield multiple benefits and is a critical piece of any successful coffee shop.
- Quality operations – well trained employees will do what you want them to…which satisfies customers!
- Increased job satisfaction – employees who work for a business that knows what they are doing will be motivated, energized and love their job…which satisfies customers!
- Increased productivity – employees who are well trained are efficient, which means less in labor costs, more in profits and faster service…which satisfies customers!
- Product consistency and quality – effective training ensures all menu items are served with quality and consistency…which satisfies customers!
- Customer service – effective training shows employees how to thrill the customer…which satisfies customers!
- Increased profitability for the business – which means more money to pay bills, pay employees and put in your pocket…which satisfies you!