Day 2 of the National Restaurant Association Show served up plenty of learning experiences that we’re happy to dish out to our small business owners. From new training technology to team-building, and restaurant inspection from both the industry and regulatory standpoint, Sunday certainly did not disappoint.
Wearable technology has been around for a while now, iWatches and Fitbits have been tracking everything from heartrates to steps so it should be no surprise that training technology for the restaurant industry is developing too. Wearable Learning (w-Learning): The Smart Training Modality of the Future for Restaurants was an interesting look at how smartglass technology transforms how the food industry trains staff. What is smartglass technology? Any hardware device you wear like glasses – Google Glass for example, that has technology built-in. Smartglasses can stream live video, take and receive messages, even deploy a flashlight. This technology can help streamline training by creating a more immersive experience, with consistent, adaptable training. It also can allow for livestreaming of best practices across locations, and even for beverage and bar service.
Next on our agenda was Team Building Techniques for Ever-Changing Teams. Patrick Yearout, Director of Recruiting and Training for Ivar’s Restaurants delivered some strategic points on the importance of teamwork, especially in a restaurant setting. The consequence of bad team-building can lead to slow service, unhappy guests, loss of profit and low productivity. Off the bat, Patrick suggests that defining your company should be your priority. Create a mission-why does your company exist? Vision – what does your company aspire to be? And, Values – What does your company stand for? Once your company is defined, hire based on finding the right fit. Let your criteria guild you, and make sure that your employees know the mission. Once your new hire is aboard, make them feel welcome by creating opportunities for them to connect with other employees. Clarify roles within your company to prevent confusion and duplication of work. Share metrics with employees and ask for their input. What are they working for each day? Praise not only results, but effort.
Our final session, The Art of Inspection, was useful from both a regulatory and industry standpoint. Vito Palazzo, Manger, Food Safety and Industry Relations and Federal National Restaurant Association Solutions, and Ashley Miller, ServSafe Regulatory Team, gave us useful ways to handle your restaurant inspection, from both sides of the table. They both emphasized that establishing transparent communication and understanding dual communications are the keys to both parties meeting their food safety goals. It can be scary to get a health inspection in the middle of a busy lunch service, but both parties share the main goal of providing safe food and protecting the customer, so it’s better to work together instead of trying to hide something. By using the experience as a training opportunity, rather than feeling like your establishment is in trouble, you and especially your staff – will benefit in the long run. It’s also ok to ask your inspector for clarification, and even help to prevent further violations down the road. Another great tip is before you spend big money on a fancy piece of equipment, ask your inspector if that will even pass an inspection. In many cases, equipment and certain kitchen techniques are violations without the owner knowing – so use your inspector as a resource because they are on your side and want you to succeed.
That’s just a slice of Sunday here in Chicago. Stop by tomorrow with some more coverage from the show.