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Upper Hill Restaurant’s Department Training Plans Report

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Updated: Mar 3rd, 2021

Executive summary

Upper Hill Restaurant (UHR) is a mid-sized hospitality company based in Singapore. The restaurant has three vital departments, namely customer service, food and beverage (F&B), and security. The three aforementioned departments are vital because the employees therein interact with the customers on a daily basis. Resultantly, customer’s satisfaction or the lack thereof is greatly shaped by how customer needs or preferences are attended to by employees in the three departments.

This report acknowledges that in addition to the three departments, successful operations in the restaurant involve input from other departments, which will not be discussed herein. Such include the finance department, the operations management department, and the human resource department. This report discusses customer service, food and beverage, and security departments because the employees therein affect customers’ perceptions regarding the restaurant. The report addresses proposed training programs for vice presidents, managers and staff in all the three departments. In total, therefore, this report contains nine proposed training programs for use by UHR.

Service

The customer service department is arguably where customers get the first impression of the restaurant. The impression that customers have is obtained from the service attitudes of customer care attendants, their professionalism or the lack thereof, and the manner in which they speak or respond when a customer calls or physically comes into the restaurant (Doane & Sloat 2003). As the term implies, the customer service department offers services to customers, which according to Korczynski (2002, p. 47) are different from product offers due to their “simultaneous production and consumption.” Additionally, services are variable, perishable, intangible, and their production and consumption cannot be separated. As Frenkel (2000) notes, service work involves symbolic interactions between the service providers and the service consumers.

During the symbolic interactions, the two parties convey emotions, attitudes, information and knowledge. Most service consumers are often searching for information and knowledge. In the process of obtaining the aforementioned, they also encounter emotions and attitudes from the customer service attendants. Ideally, every customer service attendant should portray positive emotions and attitudes towards the service consumers. Additionally, they need to understand their role as an interface between their employer (the service provider) and the service consumers. Every employer has a responsibility to foster such an understanding among his employees through human resource development practices.

Training Program Outline for the Customer Service Department

The training programs below are proposed for use as a human resource development tool that will ideally develop the right skills, competencies, attitudes and emotions in different levels of the customer service department. According to Bartlett and Ghoshal (2002), firms can gain competitive advantage through enhancing the skills and competencies that their employees possess.

Training program for the Vice President

In UHR, vice presidents (VPs) are mandated with communicating the restaurant’s mission to lower level managers and department directors. They are also responsible for overseeing their department’s performance. They are further charged with developing good employee-employer relationships by explaining the restaurant’s policies to managers and other lower-ranking employees. They further have a responsibility to enhance corporate citizenship among employees.

This paper recommends on-the-job training (OJT) for existing vice presidents in UHR. Wood (2004, p. 9) defines OJT as the “theoretical and practical training of which the majority is conducted as part of the normal work experience by the employer and hence is conducted in the work place.” Evidence from research done by Goux and Maurin (2000) suggest that in addition to improving the skills set of employees, OJT also motivates employees to perform better in their respective duties. Booth (1991) shares similar sentiments. Notably, and as indicated by Pride, Hughes and Kapoor (2013), OJT is part of human resource management which seeks to develop an organisation’s human capital.

Training goal: enhance VPs’ ability to enhance the performance of the customer service department

Learning objectives

  • Exhibit competencies in developing good employee-employer relationships
  • Exhibit competencies in enhancing corporate citizenship among employees.

Learning activities:

  • Complete a course in customer service management
  • Get expert advice on creating good employee-employer relationships
  • Get a refresher course on enhancing corporate citizenship among employees.

Evidence of learning: The VP working in a customer service department will be expected to exhibit better relations with managers and other employees in the department. Additionally, he will be expected to exhibit better decision-making and problem-solving abilities.

Evaluation: The VP will be evaluated based on how he relates with his subordinates, his communication with the manager, and the overall performance of the customer service department.

Training program for the manager

In UHR, the manager working in a customer service department is charged with ensuring that patrons are accorded the best services that the restaurant can afford. As such, he ensures that those who receive calls placed to the restaurant by customers, as well as the front office staff and servers, understand how to behave and respond to customer’s questions or inquiries. He is also charged with the mandate of working with the F&B manager in order to ensure that the hotel offers the best possible services to its patrons.

Just like in the VP’s case, this paper recommends on-the-job training for the customer service department manager.

Training goal: To enhance the manager’s skills in coordinating customer service attendants in different areas of the department to offer optimum services to customers.

Learning objectives:

  • Exhibit enhanced coordinating competencies
  • Exhibit enhanced knowledge on customer service improvement areas
  • Exhibit willingness to work with the VP, as well as customer service attendants.

Learning Activities:

  • Complete a refresher course in customer service management
  • Get expert advice on improving workplace coordination
  • Get a refresher course on effective communication

Evidence of learning: After training, the customer service manager will be expected to exhibit better coordination competencies. He will also be expected to have better communication skills, and he will be expected to have a better understanding of customer service and the effect it has on the larger restaurant.

Evaluation: At the end of the refresher course, the managers will sit for a test that will be graded by the trainer. Additionally, the manager will be encouraged to self-report the benefits of the training, and any other areas he may need training on.

Training program for the staff

Customer service staff members are also known as customer service attendants or the front-line staff (Deery & Kinnie 2002). Their role at UHR is to interact with customers, give them the best possible service, and enhance the restaurant’s image to all current and potential customers.

Training goal: To enhance the customer service attendant’s abilities to interact well with customers, offer satisfactory service, and correct any valuable customer service and communicate it to the customer service manager.

Learning objectives:

  • Know the qualities of good customer service
  • Know how to identify the need, preferences, and desires exhibited by different customers
  • Comprehend how different emotions and attitudes affect the delivery of customer service
  • Know how to handle difficult customers
  • Comprehend factors that enhance customer’s experience and satisfaction
  • Know how to listen and respond to customers
  • Understand what a professional image is, and know how to project the same
  • Understand the need to create winning relationships at work
  • Understand the importance of inspiring loyalty from the customers
  • Become familiar with best practices in the customer service profession.

Learning activities

  • Lectures from experts in the customer service industry
  • Case studies
  • Panel discussions

Evidence of learning: Customer service attendants will know why their work matters. They will also have an understanding of why perceptions by customers are important. Additionally, they will identify the components of good customer service.

Evaluation: Tests will be administered by an expert in customer service, and customers (who are willing to) will be asked to rate the different service attendants whom they interact with.

Food and Beverage Department

Regardless of how effective other departments in UHR are, the restaurant acknowledges that its patrons are most interested in the food and beverages that it offers. As such, the restaurant wishes to ensure that its food and beverage products are of high quality and that they meet the needs and preferences of its patrons. Going by information provided by Ozdemir and Caliskan (2014, p. 3), UHR could be right in its approach because the two authors indicate that the menu still “maintains its dominant position in restaurant firms, since it is the core of food and beverage operations”.

Due to the critical role that the F&B department plays towards attracting and retaining customers, Ozdemir and Caliskan (2014) note that the department attracts a lot of managerial functions, which include analyzing, designing, planning and pricing. On their part, Johns and Kivela (2001) argue that while the dining experience is not all that a restaurant offers to its customers, it constitutes a critical component, which complements customer service, the restaurant’s atmosphere, and the managerial systems that a restaurant has. According to Yeng (2013), the food and beverage department constitute a major source of income for any restaurant.

Specifically, the author notes that F&B attracts “considerable non-hotel resident business including banquet facilities” (Yeng 2013, p. 56). Arguably, therefore, the F&B department is an important revenue stream for any restaurant. Notably, and in order to ensure that the F&B department accomplishes its mandate well, it needs to be staffed with people who have the right skills and competencies. The training program below intends to ensure that the VP, the manager, and the staff members working in the department receive on-the-job training as a way of enhancing their skills and capabilities.

Training program outline for the F&B department

This training program is proposed for use by the human resource department. F&B department will benefit from the proposed training because as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) (2009) states, it is easier for a person to acquire soft and hard skills in the workplace. The foregoing argument is informed by the perception that people become more conscious of their skills deficiency in the workplace, and as such, are more willing to acquire them if given a chance. Additionally, workplace training is usually free, and this means that employees do not have to set aside some hours of their free time in order to attend training (OECD 2009).

Training program for the VP

In UHR, the VP in the food and beverage department is responsible for approving the hiring and sacking of F&B employees. He is also charged with the responsibility of coordinating on-the-job training programs.

Training goals: To enhance the VP’s interpersonal skills, leadership skills, and the ability to work with diverse people.

Learning objectives

  • Improved problem-solving skills
  • Improved leadership approach
  • Enhanced interpersonal skills
  • Enhanced ability to work with diverse employees

Learning activities

  • A refresher course on leadership
  • A refresher course of human resource management
  • Expert advice on conflict resolutions
  • A refresher course on effective communication skills

Evidence of learning: After training, the VP in the F&B department will be expected to have better problem-solving skills. Additionally, he will be expected to lead the department to greater prosperity, especially considering the critical nature of F&B to the restaurant. He will also be expected to handle diversity in the department more efficiently.

Evaluation: The VP will be evaluated based on how he handles diversity in the department, how he handles conflict therein, and how his followers rate his leadership skills.

Training program for the manager

The F&B manager is responsible for liaising with the accounting department to purchase F&B stock. Additionally, he is in charge of stock and storage control. He is also responsible for costing menus and making the budgets for his department. Moreover, he takes stock on a monthly basis and is also in charge of receiving goods.

Training goal: To improve the manager’s skills in budgeting and forecasting as well as enhancing his problem-solving skills.

Learning objectives

  • Improved problem-solving
  • Enhance comprehension of inventory management
  • Improved working relationships with subordinates
  • Enhanced budgeting and forecasting capabilities
  • Better written and oral communication skills

Learning activities

  • Lecturers from experts in the F&B sector
  • Communication exercises
  • Case studies (especially related to problem-solving)

Evidence of learning: The F&B manager will be a more skillful communicator. He will also handle the budgeting and forecasting requirements in a better manner. Furthermore, he will be more skilled in inventory management and problem-solving.

Evaluation: The F&B manager will be evaluated based on how well the F&B department functions. Usually, running out of stocks indicates that the manager was not entirely effective at inventory management. Additionally, the manager will be evaluated on how best he handles conflict in his department. Finally, the manager will be evaluated on how well he budgets for the products utilized in his department, and how well he reflects the expenditure of his department in the menus.

Training program for the staff

In UHR, F&B employees are the ‘nuts and bolts’ that holds everything in the department together. They are hired and fired at the discretion of the VP, who works together with the HR department during the hiring and firing processes. In UHR, the F&B department has two divisions namely the kitchen and service divisions. The kitchen division is responsible for preparing and cooking foods while the service division serves the foods and beverages to the customers. Employees in the F&B department include the chefs and the servers. Chefs and servers need to be in constant communication because whatever a customer asks for is communicated to the service employee, who is then required to communicate the same details to the chef. Training chefs and servers are critical to the smooth operation of the restaurant.

Training goal: To enhance the communication skills of employees working in the F&B department.

Learning objectives

  • Enhance the communication skills in the department
  • Enhance the accuracy in reporting and processing of customer’s requirements
  • Enhance the working relationships between the chefs and the servers

Learning activities

Refresher courses on effective communication

Case studies

Expert advice by F&B consultants

Evidence of learning: Better communication and workplace relations between chefs and servers. Additionally, accuracy in reporting and processing of customer requirements will be expected to reduce wastage in the restaurant.

Evaluation: customers will be asked to rate whether what they asked for was delivered as they had described it. Additionally, they will be asked to rate the speed at which their orders were delivered.

Security Department

UHR has put in place private security measures, which are not only meant to protect the restaurant and the investment it represents, but also the patrons and their belongings (e.g. cars). UHR has taken up corporate security, which is loosely defined as “security provision that seeks to achieve corporate organisational goals” (Walby & Lippert 2014, p. 2). Due to the complex security arrangements that are needed in the modern-day society where security risks such as terrorism exist, UHR does not have internal security personnel.

Rather, the restaurant has outsourced its security needs to a Singaporean security firm. In other words, the restaurant has contracted an outside firm to provide security services in and around the restaurant premises. Still, UHR recognizes that the security personnel cannot effectively provide security in the restaurant without assistance from the restaurant’s employees. Based on the foregoing realization, UHR has a VP, a manager, and staff who work with the outsourced security team.

Corporate security is important because it deters thefts, averts accidents, and even enhances governance in the workplace (Walby & Lipert 2014). Security also safeguards the business interest of an organization hence ensuring safety and continuity (Edwards & Briggs 2006).

Training program for the security department

Training program for the VP

In UHR, the VP in the security department is in charge of identifying areas that need security. He is also responsible for communicating with the contracted security firm and identifying high-risk areas that could do with some increased security. Additionally, the VP rates the security services provided by the contractor, and where need be; he can change the service providers and get a security firm that is more responsive to the security needs that UHR has.

Training goal: Make the VP more discerning of the security threats that face the restaurant and make him a better communicator, especially in relation to expressing the restaurant’s security needs to the contracted security firm.

Learning objectives

Improve awareness of the risks and vulnerabilities that the restaurant faces

Enhance the security in the restaurant’s environments

Communicate effectively with the contracted security providers

Learning activities

A course on modern risks and security issues

Case studies of security breaches

A communication course

Evidence of learning: The VP will have an enhanced sense of the risks and vulnerabilities that face UHR. Additionally, he will be able to liaise with the security providers in order to manage any security issues in the company. Finally, he will demonstrate better communication skills.

Evaluation: Short tests will be used to gauge the VP’s comprehension of security issues that risk the wellbeing of the restaurant.

Training program for the manager

In UHR, the security department manager is in charge of deploying security officers provided by the security firm to high-risk security areas. The manager is supposed to identify which areas deserve the most security before he deploys the security personnel to their workstations. Usually, the manager seeks employees’ input in identifying such areas.

Training goal: To enhance the manager’s ability to identify high-risk areas that may need more security.

Learning objectives

  • Avoid security breaches
  • Foster secure habits in the workplace
  • Gain awareness regarding security vulnerabilities and risks
  • A gain better comprehension of effective communication and how to use it to identify security risks

Learning activities

  • A course on modern risks and security issues
  • Case studies of security breaches
  • A communication course

Evidence of learning: The manager will be expected to be more aware of the security vulnerabilities in the restaurant. He will also be expected to have better communication skills, and will also be expected to champion secure habits for adoption by his subordinates.

Evaluation: Brief tests will be offered by a security expert to determine whether or not the manager has comprehended sources of security risks and how to mitigate such risks.

Training program for the staff

Security issues cut across all departments in UHR. As such, all staff members will be involved in the proposed training program.

Training goals: Enhance security awareness among all employees working at UHR.

Learning objectives

  • Change security-risk perceptions
  • Enhance the security awareness culture
  • Learning activities/tools
  • Weekly security awareness campaigns
  • Security updates on the restaurant’s website

Case studies

Evidence of learning: Employees will be expected to be more perceptive and discerning on matters related to security

Evaluation: The success of the training program or the lack thereof will be gauged based on the number of suspicious incidences that employees report to the contracted security officers.

Discussion

On-the-job training is advantageous to workers because it uses the workplace environment to give employees practical lessons on and about their jobs (OECD 2009). Lasonen (2005) further found out that workplace training is advantageous because it equips employees with soft skills, which include problem-solving skills, effective communication skills, and initiative. On his part, Aarkrog (2005) found out that workplace training is necessary in order to put the theory that employees learned in class into practice.

Leuven (2005) further indicates that it is much cheaper and convenient for an organization to train its own staff than to grant them leave to go study elsewhere, and probably cater for the training expenses too. Besides, when OJT is used, the employer can train employees for specific skills that may be lacking in the organization. As Acemoglu and Pischke (1998) note, training enables an employer to gain information about the “employees’ abilities relative to other firms” hence giving such an employer more power to direct the firm’s performance.

The three subject departments highlighted in this report, are all critical to the performance and profitability in UHR. The customer service, food and beverage, and security departments are fundamental in shaping the perceptions that customers have regarding the restaurant. As Suttle and Jo Vest (2009) indicate, customers are not always right in their perceptions. However, it is a firm’s job to ensure that customers do not get the wrong perception about the service provider in the first place. In the hospitality sector, customers are likely to get the wrong impression about a restaurant or other service providers from the customer service.

Customers’ perceptions are also easily influenced by the food and beverages that the hotel serves. For example, if the servers take too long to deliver a drink that the customer has ordered, the customer will most likely associate the restaurant with slow service. Consequently, and regardless of how good the meals or drinks are; the customer will most likely avoid going to that restaurant especially when he does not have much time to spare. The training programs proposed herein are to a great extent meant to equip VPs, managers, and employees with the skills and competencies needed to manage customer perceptions well.

Conclusion

This report contains nine training outline proposals for vice presidents, managers, and employees in three departments in Upper Hill Restaurant. Based on how the training programs are implemented, they have the capacity to enhance communication in the restaurant, enhance security, enhance the customer service provided to customers and enhance the food and beverage services given to customers.

Additionally, the proposed training programs can collectively improve the restaurant’s service provision to customers, hence increasing the likelihood that they (customers) would have positive perceptions regarding the service, food, and security arrangement therein. Consequently, it is possible that such customers would become loyal patrons, something that would assure the restaurant of sustainability.

References

Aarkrog, V 2005, ‘Learning in the workplace and the significance of the school-based education: a study of learning in Danish vocational education and training programme’, International Journal of Lifelong Education, vol. 24, no.1, pp. 137-147.

Acemoglu, D & Pischke, J 1998, ‘Why do firms train? Theory and evidence?’ The Quarterly Journal of Economics, vol. 113, no. 1, pp. 79-119.

Bartlett, C & Ghoshal, S 2002, ‘Building competitive advantage through people’, Sloan Management Review, vol. 43, no.2. pp. 34-41.

Booth, A 1991, ‘Job-related formal training: who receives it and what is it worth?” Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, vol. 53, no.3, pp. 281-294.

Deery, S & Kinnie, N 2002, ‘Call centres and beyond: a thematic evaluation’, Human Resource Management Journal, vol. 12, no. 4, pp. 3-13.

Doane, D & Sloat, R 2003, 50 activities for achieving excellent customer service, HRD Press, Amherst, MA.

Edwards, C & Briggs, R 2006, The business of resilience: corporate security for the 21st century. Web.

Frenkel, S 2000, ‘Introduction: service work and its implications for HRM’, The International Journal of Human Resource Management, vol. 11, no. 3, pp. 469-476.

Goux, D & Maurin, E 2000, ‘Returns to firm-provided training: evidence from French worker-firm matched data’, Labour Economics, vol.7, vol.1, pp. 1-19.

Johns, N & Kivela, J 2001. ‘Perceptions of the first time restaurant customer’, Food Services Technology, vol. 1, pp. 5-11.

Korczynski, M 2002, Human resource management in service work, Palgrave, New Hampshire, UK.

Lasonen, J 2005, Workplace as learning environments: assessments by young people after transition from school to work. Web.

Leuven, E 2005. ‘The economics of private sector training: a survey of the literature’, Journal of Economic Surveys, vol.19, no.1, pp. 91-111.

Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) 2009, Learning for jobs: OECD policy review of vocational education and training. Web.

Ozdemir, B & Caliskan, O 2014, ‘A review of literature on restaurant menus: Specifying the managerial issues’, International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science, vol. 2, no.1, pp. 3-13.

Pride, W, Hughes, R & Kapoor, J 2013, Business, Cengage Learning, Boston, MA.

Suttle, M & Jo Vest, L 2009, Who’s your Gladys? : How to turn even the most difficult customer into your biggest fun, AMACOM, New York.

Walby, K & Lippert, R 2014, Corporate security in the 21st century: theory and practice in the international perspective, Palgrave Macmillan, New York.

Wood, S 2004, Fully on-the-job training – experiences and steps ahead. Web.

Yeng, D. S 2013, ‘Analyse the hotel industry in Porter five competitive forces’, The Journal of Global Business Management, vol.9, no.3, pp. 52-57.

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