If you can imagine the chaos leading up to opening night, you can bet it will be a mad dash. The weeks and days preceding it will be almost a blur and the pressure you feel to get it just right. There will be last minute woes, concerns and even curve balls; you should be ready for any challenge. In the midst of all the noise, do not forget your restaurant staff. You do not want botched guest experiences for your restaurant. Instead, invest in preparing your team. Here are some training tips to opening night.
If you’ve never done it before you have to understand that starting early is imperative to opening night being successful. Start early, gather your staff into one place and start putting a plan together. Do not procrastinate, be proactive instead. A confident opening team will be well organized, efficient and dynamic. It will take weeks of advance training to be ready for the long haul.
Your restaurant consultant will provide a road map to start off with. Although your schedule will experience a number of changes as the days get closer the launch, your employees need a structure to make the best out of the given time. Your employees should understand their job description and know what is expected of them so that they can do a great job.
Create written material so that your team can always look at as point of reference. It should be a comprehensive service manual with a clear and detailed idea of your vision so that you can put down your thoughts and teach it to the team.
Your team should be held accountable for everything they are taught throughout the process. Make sure your employees are given the time to commit to important information. Be clear about commitment levels you expect from them. Training daily with little exercises will help them become confident when they have to actually answer real questions from guests.
Practice makes perfect so have some dress rehearsals to get your staff into the mood of opening night. Have a mock opening night with friends and family so that your staff can practice on them, and ask for feedback and reviews so that you can work, alter and perform better on the real night.
Remember, this is your team so you are directly responsible for anything that goes wrong or for everything that goes right. Opening night comes only once, you do not get a do-over. Do it right and you will have opening night success as the foundation for more success in the years to come.