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Tools and training trump talent every time

November 20, 2018

Tools and training trump talent everytime

Our customer expectations are increasingly high, we want to tap and pay, not carry cash, and checkout on our own.

And we expect businesses to keep up with this. In fact we want the staff in our local store to be as efficient as their online counterparts, which means customer service training is a must.

But, all too often, staff training and proper equipment is overlooked behind the bar.

Owner of the Melbourne pub The Lincoln, Iain Ling, knows that good customer service is vital to a business:

“Customers are at the heart of any hospitality business, so it’s important to employ staff who respect their customers and have superb interpersonal and service skills,” he told Impos.  

Hiring vs training

If that’s the case, why not just hire great, highly-trained staff, cut the expenditure on training and use it to pay them instead?

Well, some of the best bars would argue you absolutely need to invest in hiring. But some in fact, prefer to hire less-experienced staff and train them from the ground up.

Is it best to hire experienced bartenders or train your own?

Hospitality consultants and bar operators Lewis Hayes and Nate Brown own Merchant House in London. They are not interested in where their bartenders have worked previously as they prefer to train up fresh blood. They told Australian Bartender; “The more bars you’ve worked in, the less likely you are to be employed by us.”

Hayes and Brown understand that putting the time into getting the desired effect you want behind the bar will eventuate in better customer experiences and ultimately, a better performing bar. What's more, when investing in training you’re likely to have more satisfied staff as well as more satisfied customers.

Which comes first, tools or training?

But not all bars understand this. And to compound this, if staff are under-trained, they may be using bar tools incorrectly and making a meal out of pouring a drink.

So, things become yet more mysterious when many bars under-invest in quality bar tools, which can cause negative outcomes, such as poor consistency, over-pouring and waste.

In fact, to turn things around and compensate for poor, badly performing tools, many bars then pour money into hiring expensive and “experienced” bar staff to overcome the negative consequences of using poor quality, inaccurate or badly designed tools. Which brings us full circle.

Well, they say a bad workman always blames his tools. And this old saying will never ring truer than when you notice staff under-performing and still don't provide tools to help them improve.

Going Pro

Give bartenders tools which control flow and measurements, increase efficiency and consistency, and reduce over-pour, and you’re giving them the opportunity to become a pro.

Then all that’s required is to combine these quality bar tools with some training. And that doesn’t have to be hard or too expensive either – in fact, Überbartools™ has some handy, easy-to-digest Youtube videos that are a great option for training the green bartender (and also giving the more experienced bar staff an opportunity to brush up on their skills).

Hiring great talent in the form of a rock-star bartender might put a band-aid over the issue, but it isn’t a feasible long-term strategy.

As with any business, investing in better tools and on-going staff training is a more cost-effective management strategy – quality resources alongside staff development and training go a long way. In fact training and tools will always end up trumping talent.

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