I like to watch people in their businesses, their staff doing what they do, or don’t do… Case in point a restaurant. Even better when an industry expert with 25+ years of experience is with me.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles from

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles from

I like seeing the little things, the details, the ‘one percenters’ as I call them, the details which can snowball into a drop in efficiency a drop in quality and eventually lead to staff bad attitudes and fast staff turnover.

So there we were watching, table service people arrived and one had an attitude that was abrasive, short tempered, end of the shift type “gnarly-ness”, It was noticed. We had a simple order so things happened in an okay time frame but “with attitude”.

Earlier in the day we had a more positive experience at another establishment that we will cherish and smile about because it was great food, served professionally by pleasant attentive staff.

So here I am pondering the ‘experiences’ we had during the day and my mind flips through many other experiences I have had and my thoughts on how things can improve.

A big example shows up from my memory bank… Watching staff get behind in their service standards  in a fast food joint. Any semblance of a systematic approach seems to fade when they are under any pressure (more than three orders at one time.) The Manager seems flat out at the back frying chips or some such offering no guidance, motivation or positive communication to get and keep the team in line.

Years of experience mean I am on the lookout for things that don’t seem right and my analytic brain goes into overdrive as to how things can improve. The short answer is it’s all in the training, or lack of it.

I go back to my own experience delivering pizzas 25+ years back. Grab the packaged pizza, read the address, head out the door deliver, collect the money. Simple enough.

After doing this for a few nights I start to notice the guys processing the orders as they came out of the oven, slide the pizza onto the cutting board, cut then slide into a box, easy. The challenge is  however getting the practice to be able to do it fast without mistakes.

A few weeks in and box folding became a thing you had to do when things were quiet, a few paper cuts later and  you realised it wasn’t as easy as you thought it would be. Good practice however made it easier. The same with the slice and box routine, after a while you could recognise which pizza was which, put it int eh right box, cut the right way and all was good but heaven help you if any part of the process was slightly out the pizza could end up on the floor!

Any training takes instruction, followed by practice to get it right. Then when things end up getting into pressure cooker mode, it’s easy to do more of the right things, simply because the skill has become automatic, the  you do the right thing.

As I see it most people in business are not natural trainers, they are busy running a business and many see the training side as a cost rather than a thing to get right and save money later on in reduced staff turnover and by keeping customers satisfied with timely service and staff with a positive demeanour.

Learn to train your staff and do it long enough for the staff to really know the skills, if you let them loose on the customers before they are competent problems will arise. It’s up to you to get it right.

Steve Gray -

Steve is a business educator – Trainer – Speaker (Steve You can get his Leadership E Book from
The info provided in these articles is for educational purposes only and is intended as a starting point for you to build your business from, not as specific advice.

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