How Hospitality & Restaurant Trainers can Work Remotely: a Survival Guide…

Hospitality training has usually been done in person – we hospo people like to ‘stand up and do it’. With the restrictions and closing of many restaurants and cafes, there’s an urgent need to present training in new ways. We need very different tools and completely new methods – traditional workbooks with pen & paper don’t translate very well.

Here’s a bunch of tools, resources and ideas to use and experiment with…

Understand the world of online training and teaching…

Training sessions have to be rethought. Once people are online, separately or in a group, you have to get them to actually participate – a whole new set of skills for leaders, and it can be done! There are also important basics about setup and etiquette, especially if some participants are in a regular office, and others are remote.

Staying Connected and Productive with Virtual Events – some great resources from LinkedIn. They’re also offering 16 of their Video Courses for free, on the topic Remote Working: Setting Yourself and Your Teams Up for Success.

Learn how online teaching works: here are some examples from teachers who only work online – Paige Harden and Luke Stein. One you get into the online teaching and training world, you will find an enormous number of resources!

Consider joining the excellent Flipchart Facebook Group for trainers and facilitators – it’s full of experienced people, confronting the need to change how they deliver workshops and training.

Understand the world of your trainees…

“Among trainees we have both digital natives and digital immigrants. We need to be sensitive and aware of those who may need more support and understanding to remain involved as a trainee – there can be a lot of anxiety about showing ‘digital ignorance’, especially in the 30+ age group. There may be some with no PC at home and no smart phone, or very limited skills with them. For many, their phone is their only computer.

Most trainees will have a Google (Gmail) or Microsoft (Live, Hotmail, Outlook) account, if not a work-specific email address. So make resources accessible through OneDrive or Google Drive – they can login with these accounts and maintain calendar appointments.

Some trainees may have issues with Internet connections and data limitations. Employers may consider a small $$ allowances to increase data plans. Trainees may also need to invest in reasonable headphones & mic, so suggest an affordable model – you may be able to get a discount from a local supplier.

Consider LLN (language, literacy and numeracy) issues that may arise more with digital delivery than face to face, especially as a majority of your staff may not have English as their first language, and probably don’t like maths! Consider the trainees preferred learning style – is it V,A or K – Visual, Auditory or Kinesthetic? The highly Kinesthetic (relying on touch) may struggle with screen sessions without some physical stimulating activities. The Visual like pictures and illustrations, and the Auditory are listening for clear explanations.” – big thanks to trainer Gordon Rhodes for adding this section on the world of the trainee.

Add to your toolbox…

Learn to use Zoom – this is my preferred tool for holding webinars and live events – they offer a wide range of training options, including short videos and hundreds of support articles. I highly recommend doing one of their live webinars on using Zoom Meetings or Zoom Webinars – available at a variety of times. There are so many opportunities here for training, team meetings and new ways of working.

Offer in-demand training like Food Safety & Hygiene – it could be through your existing coursework that’s repurposed for online delivery, or making use of the many good online courses. Do any have an affiliate program to give you a commission for recommendations?

Start a simple Blog, where you can share your profile and your ideas. WordPress.com is free, and can be developed in different ways if you get ambitious. For now, just get your fingers on the keyboard, share one paragraph of training tips, and create an About Us page. Add to this once a week, or more if you have time – your hard-drive is probably full of material you could use for blog posts!

Upgrade your blog to a paid Training Site – there are many options for Learning Management Systems, giving people access to free and paid content for one-off or monthly fees. It will take a bit of time, but hey, you have some of that at the minute! Now you have a home for the videos, quizzes and course-work you are creating, and a way to charge for it!

Write short Quizzes that can be used by business owners. Give some away, and keep others for paying customers eg a 20-question Coffee Quiz, Vegetable Quiz, Beef & Lamb Quiz etc. Keep questions and answers short.

Put your Quizzes Online, with a simple tool like Google Forms or Wufoo. Now staff can do them online and the results will be emailed back to you – lots of accountability. There are good YouTube videos that will show you how to do this – important to move away from paper.

Add bulk SMS texting to your communications kit – I like BurstSMS for setting up a list of mobile numbers and sending messages to a group. Costs about 8c per text – chicken feed! You could include a link to a quiz or new video – if it’s sent to a phone, there’s a 95% chance it will be read. You will of course get permission from the business owner to do this!

Learn to do Screencasting – record your PC screen as you show people how to do costings, or fill out application and leave forms etc. Here are some free and low-cost options – I recommend Loom as a good choice.

Create simple ‘how to’ videos with your phone. Buy a $10 tripod to hold the phone steady, and start to talk to the camera, or demonstrate skills. Make sure the light is on your face, and be conscious of good sound. A bit scary at first, but you’ll build confidence. They could be as simple as how to pronounce food names, and how to explain menu items. Get others involved as your ‘models’ or ‘talent’ – there are thousands of useful ‘how to video’ guides on YouTube.

Learn simple video editing to make the phone videos look sharp – edit out pauses, add extra photos and titles. Start with the free iMove on Mac, or Moviemaker on PC – they have everything you need.

Collect relevant YouTube videos – there’s a massive number on every topic, and most are pretty ordinary. When you find something good, add it to your collection for showing at the right time – your skill here is being the curator.

Use existing video training sites – like Ananas, Typsy and Innform . They have hundreds of hospitality training videos already made, and often need an experienced trainer to guide trainees through them, and ensure that courses are completed. Some of them allow you to upload your own videos as well.

Work within a restaurant’s private communication site: it could be a Facebook Group, Microsoft Teams, WhatsApp or Facebook Workplace – here is where you add short videos, quizzes, how-to tips, reminders and acknowledgement. You might commit to adding something 3 times per work as part of a training contract. if they don’t have a comms system like this set up, your (very easy) job is to get one started!

Watch the SilverChef Training Webinars – an exciting new development, using a combination of Eventbrite for bookings, and Zoom for delivery. Numbers keep building as we focus on hot topics for business owners. It was sad to cancel recent live events, but we’re reaching a lot more people this way.

Your comments and suggestions are very welcome – please send them to me through Linkedin or Facebook.

This Post is a Work in Progress: I’ll add new training events and resources here and on Twitter. Lots of exciting ideas are being shared as we find ways to pivot from live to virtual.