Effective staff training: What servers don’t need to know

If you’re training the service staff at a restaurant on your wines, it’s just as important to figure out what they DON’T need to know as what they DO need to know.

The amount of information a server needs to know on an average night is pretty daunting and changes constantly. What is out of stock? What is new? What is the feature? All of this while keeping an eye on their other tables, and knowing when to get back to the kitchen to grab plates that are ready to go, in between getting to the bar to grab drinks and stemware as needed.

Servers work in bursts of energy and small windows of time. Your training of them on your wine needs to reflect this.

When training a service staff on wine this means short and to the point is better. Don’t be fooled into the idea that the more you talk the more they will absorb. If you do a staff training and start talking too much about your wine, they will tune out and forget most of what you say.

It’s your job to decide for them what is important to know. Do not leave it up to them to decide what they need to memorize.

A few examples of what they don’t need to know:

  • pH levels
  • Soil types in the vineyard
  • Yield at harvest
  • Total level of tartaric acid
  • Exact RS level
  • Types of oak used in the aging
  • Unpronounceable and forgettable variety names (give them permission to instead call it “some strangely named and rarely planted native grape of Italy” or something like that)
  • Percentage of malolactic fermentation
  • The reviews of past vintages
  • … and the list goes on.

Coming soon: What they do need to know, and how to conduct an awesome staff training.

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