How to train young aspirants for f&b jobs

Short Description
According to a survey recently conducted by Opus, that’s not what frontline workers want as digital training does not do a good job of simulating the realities of frontline work. The survey polled 110 frontline workers in the quick-service industry between the ages of 18 and 34.
  • Sakshi Singh
Restaurant Professional

The labour crisis burns on. In a recent survey, 78 percent of operators report not having a fully-staffed restaurant. That is due in part to the astronomically high turnover rates that have only grown since the outset of the pandemic. Turnover is partially a product of poorly trained employees who are not as productive as they could be early in their tenure. 

Restaurants need to do more with fewer people. Imagine you walk into your first day at a quick-service restaurant and you’ve never worked in the industry before. You don’t know left from right. The new hire is likely to get inconsistent information and there is no ability to track how well they were onboarded and trained. This is happening everywhere because of staffing challenges. 

Many brands understand that quality training is the key to effective onboarding and retaining employees. The problem is that many of those same brands end up purchasing a learning management system (LMS) that will digitize 100 percent of their training and claim to eliminate the need for in-person training. According to a survey recently conducted by Opus, that’s not what frontline workers want as digital training does not do a good job of simulating the realities of frontline work. The survey polled 110 frontline workers in the quick-service industry between the ages of 18 and 34 and found that the majority of them want a blend of digital and in-person training, but have received far more that is digital-only. 

Those same Gen Z and millennial employees reported wanting more interesting content, shorter lessons, and better translations into their preferred language. Keeping in-person, practical training is important. The challenge is, how to track that data and combine it with what's coming from corporate digitally? How do we capture the in-person moments and get insights into how managers are performing as trainers? 

“Both millennials and Gen Z are pragmatic when it comes to learning something new. However, unlike the millennials, Gen Z is digital natives and digital learning comes naturally to them. At Chowman, we have a very young team and therefore the switch to a modern and digitized module of training that is fast-paced, concise, and target-oriented was easy. We also promote an open work culture to ensure direct communication between the managers and the employee. This encourages the employees to be more participative in sharing their thoughts and ideas about work,” Debaditya Chaudhury, managing director of Chowman, Oudh 1590 & Chapter 2 commented.

Also, the millennials have a very short attention span, so long training modules don’t work for them. It’s best to have easy-to-understand learning content through tools young generations use every day and have a more hands-on approach. Chaudhary believes that it is also important to educate the employees about the various uses of technology within the field, to keep them updated and prepared.

According to Nafees Haider Naqvi, dean - School of Hotel Management & Tourism at LPU, millennials have had a terrible time on the job. They began their careers around the time the global economic crisis rocked the economy, and they have found lower probability than previous generations. However, this has resulted in millennials being more inclined to demand and value employee training, which makes them ideal for long-term development. 

He further suggested three areas to look at when training the younger generation for f&b operations. Younger employees need adequate training or they will quit. One might be surprised to find out which mode of training engages them best.

Feedback Mechanism 

Millennials want to understand what is required of them and how well they are performing. They are the first generation to have raised up with social media and the ability to receive instant feedback on everything they say and do. This has an impact on them at work, and it causes them to crave constructive criticism more than workers from previous generations. If they do not receive feedback, they are more inclined to leave the training.

Skill Advancement

Unfortunately, millennials have entered the workforce during a turbulent period. As a result, they may have limited opportunities available to them, and many have struggled to advance. As a result, millennials see the value in developing specific individual skills because they think it will help them advance in their careers. Consequently, while workers from older decades may regard training as a waste of time, millennials welcome the effort to boost their employability.

Training & Gaming 

Gaming is a big part of the lives of many millennials. It’s a good idea to incorporate the techniques that being used in the games, in order to make training more effective. Use grades, praise, prizes and even badges to show achievement in the same way that a computer/virtual game does.

Andrew Murphy from  Flores Financial throws a very important point post training process stating that millennials won’t hang around for the sake of having a job. If they’re unhappy with a job that doesn’t offer a flexible schedule, they won’t hesitate to leave. This is why it’s very important to offer more flexible scheduling to these younger employees. Knowing the fact that restaurant hours can be demanding, especially over weekends and holidays, workers should be able to easily ask for shift swaps and contact.

Unlike past generations, these young people tend to have stronger opinions about certain details like advancement opportunities, work conditions, wages, and job culture. Historically, many restaurants have asked staff to work inflexible shifts, weekends, and split shifts, but millennials want more flexibility and a better work-life balance that allows time for school, family and leisure.

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