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Training and Development in Small Businesses

Training and Development in Small Businesses

The current work describes the development of the small vegetarian restaurant based on the use of various personnel trainings directed at the improvement of the performance. The emphasis is made on the providing of different consultations that form the comprehensive proposal for the attraction of new clients. Thus, they contribute to the growth of the successful and prosperous business through the use of the combination of learning theories. The current work also depicts how the performance of the consultations during the training can lead to the improvement of the restaurant`s position on the market.

Key Elements of Training Development

The opening of the small vegetarian restaurant and making it successful is a rather complicated task, because it is oriented to the special type of audience, meaning vegetarians. All the staff should be familiar with the vegetarianism and accept the idea of the abstaining of the meat consumption. The comprehensive training proposal focuses on the development of the skills of an employee and improvement of the personal knowledge of the vegetarianism for better interaction with the clients. These two aspects would comprise the major directions of the training counselling.

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The enhancing process of the employees’ performance should be based on the following elements: instructing, demonstrating, role-play, and observance of how the obtained knowledge and skills are applied by others. In other words, the methodology can be named as “tell-show-do-apply” (ELearning Industry, 2015). Both the trainer and the employee take an active part in it: while one tells and shows how to perform common tasks and communicate with clients in the most appropriate manner: the other observes the actions, studies the provided information, and applies the obtained knowledge in serving the people.

The first element of the described technique is telling, i.e., providing the employees with the information relevant for the improvement of their work. In detail, the training proposal encloses the presentation of the facts, concepts, and ways of better serving to vegetarians. Furthermore, they should obtain a clear understanding of the restaurant operating system, the way of working on the management style, and the individual level of the expected service. Therefore, the primary stage would be focused on the following topics: restaurant concept, its layout and menu knowledge.

Consultation should start by providing the information concerning the idea of opening the vegetarian restaurant, its name, founder and owner. By obtaining this data each member would feel as an integral part of the business. Accordingly, the next talking stage is the description of the restaurant layout. All the members of the staff should orientate themselves freely in the every room, including emergency exits, restrooms, dining rooms, kitchens, etc., as it would enable a fast movement and providing a better service. Additionally, the consultant should pay additional attention to the description of menu and providing an opportunity to taste several dishes. The staff should have an excellent knowledge of the components of all the dishes and their characteristics (taste, smell, the way of preparation, etc.). Monica Parpal (2015) in her article “Staff Training: Restaurant Server Guidelines” noted the following: “in order to sell the items, it is essential that servers sample as much as possible so they can suggest a favorite or describe the flavors of the special”. The additional attention will be devoted to the installation of the right behavior during recording the orders, as it would improve the persecution and eliminate the forgetful moments that may result in embarrassment. Also, trainers should provide the information concerning the necessity of completing cleaning duties during the working shift and of constant help to co-workers.

One more element of the described teaching techniques includes the performing of the proper ways of satisfying the clients needs. The principle is one of the major elements of the tell-show-do-apply methodology, because it shows the application of theoretical knowledge and the benefits obtained from the correct realization of the received information. The most experienced waiters from various restaurants all over the city should be invited to show their approaches to the interaction with visitors, proposition of various dishes, avoiding and solving issues. Moreover, this stage would also reveal the personal reaction of a visitor to various propositions of a waiter.

The next element of the training plan is the realization of the obtained knowledge. Hereby, the workers should receive an opportunity to apply the knowledge that they received during the course of teaching. For example, they can “take several calls with actual guests and offer them the product” or serve them (ELearning Industry, 2015). Meanwhile trainers observe their performance, provide the feedback and guidelines for the future improvement. The application of the acquired skills should take place in the real-life environment, or the environment closest to it. This will enable authentic and engaging learning experience.

The last element is a practical application, which is particularly important due to its relevance in planning and realizing the use of the achieved competence and experience in the working process. For example, they can set goals for offering some extraordinary new dishes to visitors. Consequently, only the pragmatic experience can help form the decision whether the person should create a pleasant atmosphere or ignore the clients` needs. It is rather important “to find the balance between ignoring the patrons and spending too much time with them” by analyzing the general attitude at the table (Parpal, 2015), namely: guests who consistently look around are probably searching for an absent server. On the other hand, in the majority of cases the avoidance of an eye contact and continuance of the conversation are the signs that visitors do not need the additional attention. Moreover, the implementation of the knowledge is reflected in the development of multitasking skills, as they should constantly keep in mind the needs of their customers, like clearing plates, changing the ashtray, etc.

Potential Challenges in Addressing Organizational Performance

The quality growth in an employee’s performance can be connected with various challenges. The first of them is finding the time for the establishment of trainings, as in the dynamic restaurant environment it can be complicated to abstract the right amount of time for the providing of the necessary information, showing the ways of the realization of serving techniques, and checking the achievements. Consequently, managers should clearly understand that extracting the time to train the workers would lead to better retention and work satisfaction, facilitate the increase in the productivity and in the overall profits.

Another challenge is the high rate of replacement in the restaurant business. Hence, keeping all the members of the staff updated and skillfully trained can be difficult. The last, but not the least of the challenges is the differences in the methods of learning used by various employees. For instance, some people learn best through the visual representation of the information, while others need a tactile experience. Much attention should be paid to the previous working experience of the personnel, as it may assist or create the barrier for the comprehension of the new information, development and mastering of the necessary skills. In addition, managers should consider that people who speak English as a second language may face greater difficulties in learning and working in the future.

Justification of the Effects of Detection Organizational Gaps with Examples

Before, during and after the realization of the training course, administrators of restaurants should perform an analysis of the structural performance in order to detect any organizational gaps. The designation of the best management practices with a high sustained performance depends on the constant “assessment of the strategic plans, employee skills and knowledge, and customer satisfaction level’ (Ongori & Munene, 2013). Thus, the analysis can be equally performed by the workers of the restaurant or by the outside professionals. As for the personal understanding, implementation of the specified analysis by the external experts or a specialized organization would be more beneficial since it could assure the impartial assessment of the workers’ performance and providing reliable feedback.

The example of such external expert of a restaurant review organization is Zagat (Dobkin, 2014). It does not only determine positive and negative sides of the restaurant, but also proposes solutions for the rectification of the existing gaps in its reports. Hence, managers receive the objective judgement of the performance of their restaurant, interior, exterior, menu, etc.; clear determination of omissions, and explanation of what should be done for the quality improvement of service. Several examples of the assessment performed by Zagat are presented in the generalized version of the article “The Best and Worst of Summer Dining in NYC” (Dobkin, 2014). An exemplary analysis of the café called the Sidewalk dining reveals its best feature as “sipping rosé outside at one of the city's many sidewalk cafes” (Dobkin, 2014), the worst detail being the placement of the outside tables directly in front of garbage cans. Accordingly, the company advised to change the location of seating places to refine the atmosphere.

One more instance of the professional evaluation of the restaurant is presented in the article “Behold, the Worst Steakhouse in NY” (Cuozzo, 2015). The author described the negative experience of visiting the establishment by making the emphasis on the following organizational gaps: a high cost of meals, absence of the checkroom, inability to close men’s restroom door (because it was wider than the door frame), small assortment of spices, and the incompetence of the waiter to specify the elements of the dish (Cuozzo, 2015). The description provides managers with the understanding of the existing omissions, which can create the negative perception of the restaurant. The clear determination such cases is essential, because it enables the owners to direct their efforts on the staff weaknesses.

Competitive Training Strategy

The improvement of the position of the vegetarian restaurant on the market can be achieved by using the strategy of employee cross-training (Lewis, 2015). It is based on the sharing the techniques and knowledge among the members of the staff and professionals from other restaurants. People would show their colleagues the most successful methodologies of attendance to the clients’ needs, propositions of new dishes and salvations to problematic issues. In detail, the agenda of the training activities could be the following: evaluation of the most skillful employees, working with them to develop the cross-sectional training program, an assessment of the program, its realization by showing others the proper ways of conducting the service, and determination of initiatives directed to the motivation of the staff to realize the obtained competency and to further the progressing skills.

The described training strategy requires a modest investment for the encouragement of the skillful workers to act as trainers, and cash rewards to employees who successfully apply the acquired knowledge and proceed to develop their techniques. At the same time, the return on investment would be reflected in the attracting of new visitors and advanced selling as a result of the following improvement of the quality of serving, reducing the time of service delivery, and development of the employees’ skills of proposition.

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It is notable that the proposed competitive training strategy combines the characteristics of the two learning theories of social and cognitive constructivism. Firstly, the social constructivism theory is used in the employee cross-training, as members of the staff obtain the knowledge and the experience during the interaction with their colleagues (UC Regents, 2015). Collaborative assimilation into the working process connected with accommodation of new information is directed at the improvement of the service, whereas the training process is observed and guided by the administrator of the vegetarian restaurant. After the completion of the formal observance, members of the staff would actively apply their knowledge to the pre-existing cognitive structures. Provided the stimulation of the further development of their skills and obtaining additional benefits from the administration in the form of cash reward, the personnel would set and determine ways of reaching their own goals. The combination of the theories would be beneficial for the growth of the vegetarian restaurant, that is, on the one hand, the social constructivism learning theory could provide a new information and form a stronger background for further professional development; on the other hand, the cognitive constructivism learning theory would motivate employees to self-improvement.

In conclusion, it should be mentioned that the current work describes the key elements of training and development of the small vegetarian restaurant: informing, showing, performing, application of the knowledge and skills of serving the guests. Moreover, the advancement of the cross-training program would be beneficial for the improvement of the organizational performance. Nevertheless, the realization of the program can be connected with various challenges, like finding the necessary time, the existence of different comprehension styles of various members, and high rate of personnel replacement in the restaurant business. Managers should not only solve the mentioned issues, but pay attention to the determination of the organizational gaps surrounding the process of training in order to make timely and effective rectifications. Subsequently, the assessment of those omissions can be performed by the external professionals and specialized companies to secure the obtaining of the impartial outcomes.

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