Written By: Ben Sick
These days, I’m often asked what will make up a successful post-pandemic event. My answer may surprise you: it’s all in the training.
When planning a reopening of your event operations, you will undoubtedly have a laundry list of items that you need to consider. While training may not be first thing on that list, I’m here to say that it should be.
Hear me out. How often are your employees fully trained on the tools and systems being used to manage the operation? When was the last time you reviewed your catering software setup and configuration? Are you using all the latest and greatest features that have been released?
The foodservice industry was one of the hardest-hit areas of our economy seeing unemployment levels peak around 35%. This industry sees high turnover rates as it is, but this led to extraordinary levels of turnover for many operators. Although still high, unemployment for foodservice and drinking places was just under 12% in March 2021. This indicates an increase in hiring and, as a result, an increase in training that will continue over the next several months as operators ramp up.
Now is the time to assess your training management program and ensure that you and your team are well versed in the systems that you use to manage your operation.
Some questions to consider when evaluating your training program:
- Are you aware of all the capabilities the solution offers?
- Are you leveraging these capabilities to improve your operational efficiencies?
- Are you maximizing your solution’s utility?
- Are you using promotional capabilities to spark activity with your customer base as restrictions loosen in your area?
- Are you placing orders on behalf of your customers? If so, would you prefer they place more orders themselves?
If you’re unsure of the answer to one or more of these questions, it may be time to revisit your training strategy. Training is typically delivered during implementation and then forgotten once an operation is up and running. Ongoing training is key to ensuring your operation is running as efficiently as possible.
We’re Here to Help
All software companies offer self-help offerings like knowledgebase articles, downloadable user guides, and video tutorials. At CaterTrax, we offer those on-demand resources as well as a team of training experts here to help you with live sessions and more.
Having trained tens of thousands of employees on our industry-leading catering management solutions, we know that live training (virtual and in-person) is most effective. Live training ensures that your team is up-to-date on CaterTrax’s event workflow, production oversight, customer management, marketing, and reporting tools – as well as a portfolio of self-serve support and education resources. This type of training allows you to have real-time conversations with an expert and get your questions answered immediately in full.
Let’s not forget about your customers! Training for both internal and external audiences is equally important. You can’t succeed with one and not the other. It would be like peanut butter without the jelly—or fluff if you’re into that kind of thing.
We have conducted hundreds of customer sessions and found that locations that take the time to train their customer base are far more successful than those that do not. Customers should be confident and comfortable with fundamental elements: navigating the menu and locating preferred items, reviewing account history for past and current orders, saving payment methods for faster checkout in the future, and requesting changes to their upcoming events.
Ensuring your customers are placing most of their orders also saves you administrative time. Let’s do the math: if each order takes 10 minutes to enter and you place 5 orders, that’s 50 minutes per day, nearly 4 hours per week, or more than 16 hours per month that can be re-purposed towards other activities—like providing world-class service for custom events that really need a more hands-on approach.
Live training is beneficial for both your team and customers. It gives your customers an opportunity to gain clarity on how they interact with the ordering system and your staff, as well as a chance for you to reinforce policies and reset expectations.
In-person sessions (as safety protocols allow) can also demonstrate an “above and beyond” approach to your brand of hospitality. A catering showcase that invites your clients to try some of your menu items while also learning about your new event practices that will protect them in a post-COVID world, is a great way to re-introduce yourself and energize your customer community.
As the foodservice industry rebounds, now is a great time to assess the training needs of your operation for both your staff and customers. Our CaterTrax experts are here to help you with whatever you need in any flavor you prefer.