Restaurant Training – This Is Show Business

In today’s increasingly competitive hospitality industry, owners and managers are constantly seeking the answer to an important question- How do you recruit, retain, and motivate staff who are responsible for creating a “magical” experience which exceeds your guest’s expectations?

Some answers may be found by looking to successful companies that are consistently achieving these goals.


William Shakespeare wrote, ‘All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players’. One company that has exemplified that quote is the Walt Disney World Co. based in Orlando, Florida.


Disney is recognised as one company which creates such “magical”experiences. The Disney challenge is to ensure that all of the 36,000 staff are playing a role in a show which exceeds all expectations.


The Disney approach to people management has helped gain them the reputation of providing a leading benchmark for quality and service in America.


Disney does not just “hire” people for jobs, they “cast” performers for a “role” in the show. The emphasis is in finding ‘people oriented’ cast members who are willing to adapt to the high standards established, and not necessarily on the skills an applicant may have.


Their ‘casting process’ introduces each applicant to the culture of the company, and the important role which they will play in the future success. This way there are no surprises, and it is this approach which helps to maintain turnover at approximately 20%.


Success on the “Restaurant Stage” requires the development and choreography of many different aspects, such as a great cast, script, support and direction.


Quality ‘Casting’ or recruitment, is critical to everything else in the production.


As an owner or manager, you are more director and choreographer of a performance. Your front of house staff, are the actors, and your customers are the audience for whom they must perform.


The supporting crew is responsible for ensuring the script and show is executed as planned. As director, you have to prepare your cast to recognize guest cues, deliver their lines and improvise when it will add to the enjoyment of the performance.


Think of a typical theatre performance- the audience files in, the curtain goes up, the actors make their entrances and speak their lines. If each and every cast member, not to mention the writer, director, stagehands, customers, makeup artists, and lighting technicians, have prepared themselves and the theatre well, the audience enjoys the show and tells others about it.


However, despite the proven talents of individual members of the cast or the presence of an award-winning director or the skills of the backstage crew, the whole thing can be a magnificent flop if just one person fails to do a job on which everyone else depends.


Filling out your service cast with people who can star in their roles is the key to success. But casting for a restaurant show is far more involved and difficult than hiring just anybody to answer a phone, or take orders and deliver food.


The next article, ‘The casting call’ is about how to attract the right cast members. For previous articles please visit the Archives section on our website.


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