Tuesday, April 26, 2011

If I train them and they leave - If I don't train them and they stay??

Published: 12th March 2011

Gavin King has now referred to the service at a Cairns restaurant, similar to two snowflakes or two circumcisions; no two are the same??? Well Advance Cairns has decided to do something about it and through its food project will assist restaurants with ‘Aussie Host’ customer service training.

Great news, as this comes on the heels of a recent survey by Restaurant and Catering Australia that for every dollar you spend in a restaurant 44 cents goes towards wages and salaries. With staffing costs taking the highest percentage of earnings, you would expect great service, but alas that is not always the case. Finding good staff and retaining them is the bane of the industry these days and no one is prepared to train the itinerant backpackers who are filling the void. But what a vicious circle?

About 15 years ago ‘Aussie Host’; a customer service training program was rolled out across Australia. This one day course taught front of house staff in the tourism and hospitality industry, the art of making service a memorable experience. Something that today is repeatedly reportedly lacking in numerous establishments in this region! Back then many of our hotels, restaurant and tourism operators enrolled their staff in Aussie Host and surely this contributed to a more customer focused reputation in hospitality of the region at that time. Unfortunately management staff move on and Aussie Host was by-passed. It was a couple of years ago that Aussie Hosts made a comeback and although not taken up with the same zest as its former incarnation, it’s still an excellent training course that should be encouraged in every hospitality and tourism enterprise.

As a prerequisite to work in a restaurant, you need to have completed a Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) course. To uphold the reputation of this region, I believe it should be mandatory also for everyone (including backpackers) to have completed an ‘Aussie Host’ training course before serving customers in our restaurants.

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