Covid survival training, part 2: making money
By Dan Bignold
Nov 18th, 2020
In the second part of our focus on how staff training can help your hospitality business survive, we look at training that ensures staff are making more money for your operation – crucial when Covid-19 is reducing the revenue opportunity.

The impact of Covid-19 on hospitality is continuing to send shockwaves through the industry, as many countries endure a second lockdown and businesses, once again, close.

As depressing as this downtime might be, it’s crucial to keep your staff training active, not just to keep teams motivated, but to keep get them primed for when your business will re-open.

For everyone, closed or not, a big portion of your team training needs to focus on making money. Especially now, when many businesses have had to switch strategies or product offer to cope, successful execution depends on your people knowing how to sell it.

Remember our four key training objectives from part 1 that we set out for the current situation:

  1. Make sure staff understand your new strategy and product, and how they fit the new market opportunity.
  2. Make sure staff know how to sell and upsell, to maximise that opportunity.
  3. Keep staff motivated to train, so they stay really focused on points 1 and 2 above.
  4. Give new hires the training they need to arrive at points 1-3 as fast as possible.

So in this article we’re focusing on No2 in our three-part battleplan. Right now, your business needs to maximise revenue opportunities. Training staff on sales strategies is the answer, especially the techniques that require the most confidence: upselling and recommending. 

Here goes:

1. Make sure staff understand why making money is important

First, and especially with new staff, you need everyone to understand a simple truth: if revenue < cost of business, “you’re gonna have a bad time”. Make sure training highlights the team’s role in helping your venue stay afloat by maximising revenue.

2. Train staff on selling strategies 

Here are some of the most simple strategies that all staff should be able to master to help your business:

  • Prompt order taking
  • Suggestive selling
  • Upselling
  • Recommending
  • Pairing
  • Re-ordering

These are the most common, and Small Batch Learning’s lessons covering upselling and maximizing revenue are a good place to start. But your senior team members and management will be able to offer more insight from the frontline based on your own product and operations style.

3. Make sure staff understand your products 

While experience on the floor counts for a lot when selling (especially when it comes to perfecting timing, and understanding guest type or occasion), you can accelerate service confidence by making sure all staff understand the products they sell.

At the very least, getting all staff to be able to talk confidently about your house-pour wines, best-selling dishes, a couple of upsells on beer or spirits, or some easy add-on sides is the fastest route to NOT losing money. If they can’t even do this, when you’re already trading with Covid-related restrictions, it’s going to hurt.

4. Create training that’s relevant to sales 

And make sure all training is to the point – that is, focused on generating sales. Knowing the abv of Aperol isn’t going to sell you more Aperol Spritzes. Knowing a fail-safe recipe to produce a consistently excellent drink, however, is.

“Wait. This sounds like a big project… and we’re in the middle of a crisis” 

Yes, sounds daunting. But actually it’s not. Small Batch Learning can get your outlet’s own training platform set up and your team training on this ready-written free content in under an hour. They can then be maximising revenue on their next shift.

Writing your own SOPs and adding further content takes longer, but that task can be made much simpler by checking your calendar and finding 30 minutes per week. Think of it as your weekly window dedicated to positive change.

If you’d like to find out more about training your own team, send us your details here

Read Survival Training Part 1 here, covering the importance of writing SOPs and your staff handbook.
Read Survival Training Part 3 here, on keeping training accessible and relevant.