Rule Of 7 – Hospitality Training

If you want to teach people a new way of thinking, don’t bother trying to teach them. Instead, give them a tool, the use of which will lead to new ways of thinking. R. Buckminster Fuller

Staff training is the ingredient that turns your venue into a destination. When people decide to go out they are looking for an experience, whether that experience is the convenience of not doing dishes or having a three-course meal that one couldn’t possibly create themselves. The reason they are going out and spending their hard earned money is for the experience. There are many things that contribute to a guest’s experience, but nothing is more imperative than how your staff makes them feel. A staff composed of gracious hospitality and superb menu knowledge is your ticket to long-lasting success.

Unfortunately, these aren’t natural characteristics that your staff automatically come hired in with. Rather, they are characteristics that are nurtured and developed from within your staff training. From my experience working in the industry and meeting with BarWit clients, it’s become apparent that most medium to small sized restaurant groups have no onboarding structure and certainly no continuous training plan. I get it – it’s expensive not only monetarily but the time it takes to develop, deploy, and measure your training is overwhelming. But don’t worry, you aren’t in this alone. You’re about to discover that there are indeed solutions to these problems that will save you time, money, and countless headaches down the line while staying true to the one of a kind experience only your restaurant can provide.

Regardless of what the content is and your learning objectives, there are ways to optimize your time and maximize your staff’s retention. In an age where attention is a rare commodity, you need to deliver your training in a quick, sensible, and engaging way.

There are many variables to consider when developing and delivering training to your staff.

  • What do they need to learn?
  • What is the best date for a training session on which most of your staff can attend?
  • What material can/should you have a tangible copy of for each staff member?
  • Should there be a quiz on the information?
  • Should there be a review? When? How?
  • How long should the training be?
  • Will it be a lecture or hands on?
  • Is there video content or a slideshow you can use to enhance the lesson?

Regardless of what the content is and your learning objectives, there are ways to optimize your time and maximize your staff’s retention. In an age where attention is a rare commodity, you need to deliver your training in a quick, sensible, and engaging way.

Before we get into how to do this, let’s define why. It would be a shame to spend a lot of your valuable time and energy cultivating training for it only to bear no fruit. I’m betting that you’ve felt like your training efforts in the past weren’t as effective as you imagined they would be. Let’s look at why that might be and then identify some solutions.

Three psychological premises to keep in mind when developing your training:

1. The Rule of 7

2. Sequencing

3. Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve

The Rule of 7 & Sequencing

Enter one of the most highly cited papers in psychology, “The Magical Number Seven.” It argues that the number of objects an average human can hold in working memory is 7 ± 2. Knowing this limitation, it becomes reasonable to understand why you need to chunk your training into manageable sequences.

Just like there is an order in which you add ingredients to your cocktails there should be a particular sequence in which you deliver your training. Sequences meaning you want to consider delivering your training in a sensible order in which the information you are presenting builds upon the previous topic. Sequencing can normally be done intuitively by reverse engineering the objective of the learning outcome.

Example: Learning Objective = Building 20 cocktails simultaneously and serving them at relatively the same dilution, temperature and time with minimal redundancy.

  1. Begin the lesson by teaching how to think about cocktails by their families, shared ingredients shared preparation method, then glassware.
  2. Secondly, set up glassware in this logical order in front of mixing glasses and tins you are preparing the cocktail in (glassware acts as a mnemonic) and ice down/chill appropriate glassware.
  3. Third, starting with the least expensive ingredients (bitters, citrus, simples, muddled elements) begin building cocktails from left to right, pouring each ingredient into each deserving cocktail before putting the ingredient away.
  4. Fourth, repeat with the next more expensive/more voluminous ingredients until all recipes are complete.
  5. Fifth, muddle warranted cocktails.
  6. Sixth, ice down appropriate waiting glassware and mixing glasses for stirred cocktails, then ice down tins for shaken cocktails (everything is chilling and diluting now).
  7. Seventh, shake cocktails from left to right, add soda/champagne when appropriate, then strain/double strain into glass, hustle to next tins to shake (remember less time required since they’ve been on ice for a bit, the goal is now integration more than dilution and temperature).
  8. Eighth, empty chilling glassware and stir appropriate cocktails (look at dew on side of the glass to estimate the duration of the stir, should require less time as they’ve been on ice, now you only need to integrate ingredients).
  9. Ninth, strain into glassware and garnish, then straw appropriate cocktails.
  10. Tenth, serve with a smile and collect your money.

Now, that was long winded but with intent. You must deconstruct your learning outcome into independent functional pieces that when placed in order lead your staff to your goal.

Onto the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve.

The above learning sequence is an excellent training session to do live. But what about those that can’t make it? And for those that do, will they retain the information? According to Herrman Ebbinghaus, there is a speed at which you forget what you just learned, best known as the Forgetting Curve. With repeatable tests, it’s proved that by day 7 of a lesson, we forget 90% of what we learned. That means that if you are teaching an important process or technique to your staff on a Saturday, by the following Saturday they only remember 10%, and of that 10% only 5% is accurate. So with all the time and energy, you spent in preparing and delivering your excellent training, only a dismal 5% is remembered. Ebbinghaus’s findings were replicated in 2015. That’s not a good investment of your talent and time – you deserve better.

So, how to combat this? Review. Does this mean you review the previous training in your next live training? Not likely. That’s costly and inconvenient since you’ll want to deliver different lessons to your staff this time around. Do you print an outline or worksheet and pass it out during your lesson? Perhaps, but that is also time-consuming and costly. Here’s why: What if you print errors and don’t realize it until it’s too late? Double the cost. What if your staff throw the paper away or lose it? Ineffective. Are you going to take the time to grade a quiz that your staff just took on your recent training? Unlikely.

To sum up the problems with single event training, they are:

  • Expensive – everyone is on the clock.
  • Tiresome – your staff will start to lose interest after 30 minutes if you’re even that lucky.
  • Absence – not everyone will make your live training and there is no way to make it up.
  • Measurement – there is no way to measure what your staff retained and what they need more time on. This helps you identify not only everyone’s strengths and weaknesses but equally important, the strengths and weaknesses of your training itself. How can you improve your training without feedback?

So what’s the solution?

Training needs to be chunked and intuitively sequenced, then delivered in a medium where all learners have access to it, at their convenience, wherever they are.

Also, you as a trainer need to be able to simply, intuitively, and quickly create and update the training.

That’s where BarWit comes in. With BarWit, you can develop comprehensive training for your staff that doesn’t require any face to face time. This way, it’s there forever and you don’t have to continuously run the same training every time there is turnover. BarWit allows you to create a core training once, that is stored in the cloud and accessed at everyone’s convenience. When you need to update the training, you easily can in just a few minutes, hit publish, and instantly your staff and channel partners all have the correct training.

Gone are the days of trying to coordinate everyone’s schedule, driving to your venue on your days off to update the training binder, wondering if your staff retained any information from your previous training and how frequently you need to give training refreshers, staring into glazed eyes after your typical 45 + minute training, or dealing with no shows from staff. Put simply, you’ll have way more time to spend in other areas of the business doing what you love.

BarWit leverages your expertise and time, enabling your staff to get closer to their highest selling potential. Now you can go lend your attention to other areas of the business.

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