QSR: How to Hire and Train Top Talent
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Of course, quick-service brands have to think about more than just a restaurant’s individual team members. That’s why Dickey’s Barbecue Pit created its Barbecue University program to ensure that all franchisees are properly trained in tricks of the trade.
Chris Kelley, dean of Barbecue University, says the four-week training program offers A-to-Z instruction for new owner-operators. It covers everything from the financial books to a beginner’s guide on brisket. The program aims to prepare franchisees to play a hands-on role in the business, rather than managing remotely over email.
“It’s hard work, but it’s not hard work. We’re not putting rockets on the moon or curing cancer,” he says. “But you’re on your feet and engaged all day. You’ve got to deal with people each and every day.”
And dealing with people, both customers and employees, is the toughest part of running a restaurant, Kelley says. That’s why the training program focuses on how to lead a team, communicate effectively, and handle unhappy customers.
Kelley’s corporate team produces daily training videos for store employees, who learn about new menu items, company updates, or general refreshers before each shift begins. He says the training has grown more important as owners struggle to retain staff. Right now, workers know they are in demand and that they have leverage.
“Believe you me, I deal with it on a daily basis on my team,” Kelley says. “It is, ‘What have you done for me lately? When do you give me a raise? I’ve been working for you for three days now; when do I get my raise?’”
Dickey’s reinforces among staff members that working in the restaurants can be more than a job; similar to Pork & Mindy’s, the company is focused on developing career paths for employees. “If they’re not happy, we’re not happy,” Kelley says. “Their success is our success. We realize that.”