Your front of house team is one of the first opportunities you have to make a good first impression on your customers. Whether they’re the only person working in your small, family-run tea room or one of a huge reception team, they are the face of your company and should project what you’re all about, how much you care and how good you are. They are a reflection of your business, your brand…and of you! Recruit carefully and wisely to create a front of house team which is welcoming, engaging and informative.
Charm and friendliness coupled with an innate sense of service cannot be taught or trained. Look out for these traits at interview, and dig deep when asking candidates about excellence in customer service. Relevant past experience is all well and good, but I go for a warm, winning smile and sunny demeanour over a so-so character with more experience every time. That said, ensure your preferred candidate has a bit of common sense, good numeracy and literacy skills, and is tech savvy in our increasingly tech dependant world. Staff are required to operate on-line booking systems, deal with requests on social media and pull reports from tills so you need to be confident that they’re trainable and can carry out these tasks effectively and efficiently.
As well as engaging with your customers, your front of house team needs to be able to engage with one another. After all, no customer wants to see the bickering and arguing that airline cabin crews can renowned for. When recruiting, think about how the candidate will gel with the rest of your team. Would they fit in culturally? Are they a big personality who may conflict with another strong character? Would their particular skills complement existing skills within your team or, conversely, would their shortfalls only add to your woes?
Once you find a good ‘un, make sure you keep ’em! Get to know your new recruits, notice their particular skill set, and recognise vision and ambition. Keep staff morale high and turnover low by introducing an engaging induction plan which introduces new staff to all other members of your team and different parts of your business. Design a training and development programme, which sounds expensive and scary but can be easily implemented by involving your suppliers, taking advantage of free on-line programmes and looking out for scholarship and work experience opportunities.
As manager or business owner, carry out spot checks on your team, or organise a Mystery Shopper who can provide a fresh, objective pair of eyes. With vast experience at many other hotels, bars and restaurants, they’re in the perfect position to benchmark your business and put your front of house team to the test.
So, how would your team fare? If average, make them good. If good, make them great!
Victus Consultancy can help small, independent catering and hospitality businesses achieve their potential. We guide, advise and support new, budding and more experienced business owners with all elements of your business, such as staff training & development as well as menu offering and pricing, licensing, allergens, and compliance. Give us a buzz on 07732 454 639for a quick chat and we can take it from there!