Monthly Archives: January 2010

The cost of not training staff

Good for The Peach Pub Company, who recently won a Best Places to Work award, in their view of staff training and the risk of losing them to other operators.

Sadly there are still a number hospitality businesses that take the view that it’s too costly to invest in training their staff. Some misguidedly believe it’s not needed, or it’s a luxury when business is slow. The cost of not training is far higher – poor customer service, higher wastage, staff needing constant supervision being just some of the consequences.

And others resent investing in training or think it’s a waste of time as the people they train will probably then be tempted to leave and take their new skills elsewhere.  Well, yes, maybe a few will leave, but if they do is this just because they now have better skills?  I doubt it; if anything they are far more likely to stay if they are getting the right development and are well treated.

And when people do leave, businesses demonstrating they are prepared to invest in their team will be one step nearer to being regarded as a good employer and one step nearer to attracting the calibre of people they want.

If every hospitality business took the same view as Peach Pubs we’d all benefit in the long run.


Making the most of it

The recent bad weather may be seen as the last straw for many hospitality businesses on top of what has already been challenging 12 months.  But rather than letting it get you down, make the most of quiet periods, and take the time to put things in place so you are in a stronger position to capitalise when things pick up.

Here are my top ten things you could be doing this week that won’t cost you anything but your time, but will certainly go a long way to your success in 2010.

  1. Set your goals for the year.  Take some time to identify what you really want to achieve in 2010, and establish your plan to do this. You’ll find some useful resources here to help you with this.  Then share these with everyone who has a part to play in achieving them.
  2. Review your staff structure and resources in light of your plan.  Do you have the right people in the right roles to achieve this?  Will you need to hire, fire or develop certain team members to get to where you want to be?
  3. Take stock of your menus and their margins.  What tweaks do you need to generate more profit from each item?  Does your sales mix reflect the high profit items, or are you selling too many of the lower profit dishes? If so does this reflect a need to train your team how to upsell?
  4. Review your stock control systems. Tidy up your stores, take stock of what’s not shifting, what needs using before it goes out of date, and what needs to be written off.
  5. Review your website content. Does it accurately reflect what you are offering and present it in a way that entices your ideal prospective customers to read on and take some action? Do all the links work? (If you don’t already have a content management system – i.e. where you are able to manage the content of your site yourself – you may want to look into this.  I use WordPress for mine.)
  6. Take the customer journey – You and all you team to look at every aspect of your business from your customers’ perspective.  Draw up a list of areas that need attention, priorities and allocate responsibility amongst your team.
  7. Now provides a great opportunity for staff training.  Are all the team up to date on all product knowledge, not just in their own departments, but in all parts of the business.  The customer journey and an analysis of your sales mix may help flag up where knowledge is lacking.
  8. Plan your promotional activity for the whole year, so you can start collating ideas towards each of these promotions.  This includes reviewing your Christmas promotions, whilst they are still fresh in your mind and making notes of how you can improve on this for next Christmas.
  9. Get your customer listing up to date.  (If you don’t already have a contact management system now might be the time to look into this.)  Then get in touch with all your existing customers to remind them how much you value their custom by giving them an offer they can’t refuse.
  10. Review all your customer feedback, whether this is directly from customer comments or feedback forms, or from such sources as TripAdvisor. What can you learn from these, and what are the areas that need attention?

Update your plan and take some ACTION!

Here are some resources to help get you going.


Your Best Year Ever ~ Part 3

Here are steps 4 and 5 to achieving Your Best Year Ever

Step 4

Now the next part of the process is probably the most exciting because this is were you start building your blueprint for the next 12 months. 

What do you really want in 2009?  What goals really matter?

Lots of people come up with lengthy laundry lists of of vague, wishy-washy resolutions with no real oomph in them. Often we don’t even really care about them at all. They’re just fashionable or what we think we “should” care about, or based on what we think other people expect of us.

 What do I mean? You know, resolutions like this:

  I’ll cut our overheads
  I’ll be more focussed
  I’ll be a better ____ (parent/boss/friend/spouse), etc
  I’ll clear our overdraft
  I’ll do more to bring in new business

Unclear statements like this can NEVER engender any real enthusiasm. As a matter of fact, they’re far more likely to cause you to feel bad rather than good because they all focus on something that’s MISSING rather than on what’s truly desired.

The goals that you need to be setting need to be SMART.  You are probably already familiar with the idea of smart goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timebound.  Click here for a more detailed article on SMART goals.  But a couple of areas I would stress are:

That your goals need to be specific. Describe in specific detail exactly what it is that you want to achieve. 

They also need to be expressed in the present tense as if now; as if you already had the goal, and each goal needs a precise time: day, date, month and year, and in some cases it might even be a time of day. 

It is also too easy to set resolutions or goals in some areas which are not then compatible with other areas for life.  For example people often set very ambitious goals for their business, which then conflict with personal goals.  So when setting goals for the coming year it is a good idea to look at all areas of life. Business and career, Personal development, Family, Possessions & things that you want , Spirituality, Relationships or personal relationships, Health and fitness and Financial.  Those aren’t in any particular order of importance and ideally you’ll want to have goals in every single area of life. 

So now what I want you to do is take some time, (this is probably the lengthiest part of this process) and literally dream, literally brainstorm what are all the things that you want to achieve in all those areas over the next 12 months.  At this point don’t worry if your goals are realistic or achievable or not; just brainstorm.  Play with the idea, focus your energy and attention on it until it’s clear and sharp and big enough to be exciting to you, until you feel great just thinking about it. (It doesn’t matter at all what anyone else might think of it.) What are all the things over the next 12 months you want to be, you want to do, that you want to have in all those areas of life.  The being, the doing and having of which would make the coming year the best year ever.

Now thing about what you need to do to reach these goals?  For each goal outline resources you need, action you need to take and the support you’ll need.

Step 5

So now it is time for you to take action in the doing, the being and the having.  Remember there will always be uncertainty, the coming year will be as uncertain as last year and every year to come will be.  They will always be uncertainty in our lives.  The secret is to act with certainty in everything you have put in your journal. 

Give up the all-or-nothing, only-perfection-will-do approach.

You can’t break a resolution by messing up just once or even several times. Whenever you notice you’ve gone a bit off-course get back on-track by shifting your actions to get you back on course.  Re-visit your Rules for Success.  From this list, what single thing if you did it regularly would make the most difference in helping you achieve your goals?

Keep it simple: Pay attention. If things aren’t working try something different. Correct your course.

Congratulations; you have finished your best year ever process.  Just for a moment consider how much time you have just spent creating the coming year the way you absolutely want it.  My guess is about 1 -2 hours and that is probably 1 – 2 hours more than most people you know have invested in creating the coming year as they want it.  Though also consider with whom you share what you have written in your journal.  For many people the best time to discover what your goals are is when they see you achieve them.

Good luck and best wishes for YOUR BEST YEAR EVER