“I like this cocktail name, the ‘I Haven’t Got A Clue’,” asks the giggling guest. “Can you tell me what’s in it?” Unfortunately, no, your waitstaff cannot. Someone explained the drink in a pre-shift meeting a week ago, but this is the first time someone’s ordered it from him and he’s forgotten. “Right, hold on a second, I’ll just go find out,” comes the weak reply. The guest’s giggles fade to a groan – they’re quite thirsty after all, and now just wished they’d ordered a beer.
The challenge for hospitality managers is how to make sure that everybody in your team understands all the drinks sold in your venue, in order that service fails like the one described above don’t happen again. And since staff that understand a product sell more of it, managers need to give their frontline service teams not just the information to answer questions, but also the confidence to upsell, cross-sell and make recommendations to guests.
Small Batch Learning has the answer: the Virtual Menu. Freely available to all users of our (also free) hospitality and retail-specific smart learning network, the Virtual Menu allows managers to create an online breakdown of their real-life menus (or stocklists), to which they can add any product or recipe sold in their outlet.
The Virtual Menu ultimately helps reduce service black spots in your outlet
As a manager of a bar, you can add classic cocktail recipes from our ready-written library, or you can input your own recipes for signature drinks. If you want to customize any of the pre-authored recipes from Small Batch Learning so they match the specs (and brands) used in your venue, no problem, you can do that too. And by combining recipe specs with simple talking points introducing style, strength and tasting notes, your staff not only explain your cocktails but help guests make the correct choice. Turns out “I Haven’t Got A Clue” was not what they were expecting at all...
For bartenders, each entry includes notes and tips on method and ingredients, helping them understand how to adjust the drink to suit guest preference or how the recipes can be twisted. It also includes a helpful frequency score, so managers and bartenders can prioritize training on high-frequency drinks first.
The Virtual Menu ultimately helps reduce service black spots in your outlet. Because Small Batch Learning’s online learning platform is free – whether your business has five staff or 5,000 – managers can make sure that all staff acquire the necessary knowledge, not just specialist bartenders or sommeliers. By removing one of the major barriers to training – cost – everyone can be involved and no one gets left out.
Small Batch Learning is also 100% optimized for mobile learning. With consumption of information via smartphone the overwhelming preferred choice for the millennial and Gen Z members of your workforce, you will be making sure you’re giving teams the most effective learning and development tools when it comes to improving performance at work.
In fact, the Virtual Menu is just one of the ways that Small Batch Learning has solved the particular demands facing beverage service training in hotels, restaurants and bars. We offer several hours of pre-written core skills and drinks knowledge learning arranged into experience- and role-specific training plans, plus a completely unique solution to product and recipe training with the Virtual Menu.
But – and here’s surprise #1 – we then allow you, the manager, to customize any of our content to make sure it complements the SOPs and specific service promise of your venue. We know from our own experience working in industry that no two outlets are the same – and the frustration that can arise when a training provider doesn’t give you the flexibility needed because you do things a little differently.
Small Batch Learning offers organizations (large or small) a bespoke training programme worth hundreds of thousands of dollars for zero cost
And – surprise #2 – we offer all this for free. Indeed, once you factor in the hours and hours of free content, the hospitality and retail-optimized Learning Management System (LMS) that all our accounts are able to access without fees (for unlimited users), and finally the 100% unique Virtual Menu training tool, whose library of products and recipes, not to mention technology, would take thousands of manhours and capital investment from an organization to re-produce, we believe that Small Batch Learning offers hospitality and retail organizations (large or small) a bespoke training programme worth hundreds of thousands of dollars for zero cost. Nothing.
If you want all these learning and development tools for your staff too – and less groaning, more giggling, from your guests – click here to set up your outlet’s free training account today.