Ken Burgin

Restaurant Productivity


Flavour Training

Taste the Difference: 40 Flavour Training Activities for Restaurant Staff

Designing a food-tasting program for front-of-house staff is a fantastic way to enhance their appreciation and knowledge of food, which in turn can significantly improve the guest experience and average customer spending. Here are 40 training activities for chefs to run for waiters and front-of-house staff within a 15-minute session. They are designed to be engaging and educational and build a competitive spirit. Consider creating a scoring system for each activity to add a competitive

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Kitchen Team

We all need the Support Team!

Knock, knock…Ken, can I see you for a minute?When some people knock on your door it means only one thing – they’ve come to say goodbye: they’re quitting. Maybe one of the quieter type, more reliable and not fired up with fresh ideas. Easy to overlook as you’re putting out fires with the troublemakers who take up most of your time. Not as glamorous as the cool and creative ones who are bubbling with new

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Restaurant Manager

Have you chosen the wrong person to be manager?

Henry Mintzberg, the great management writer talked about the real work of managers, and saw the following characteristics of their work: They perform a great quantity of work at an unrelenting pace – they are busy! Their work is marked by variety, brevity and fragmentation – lots of short activities. They prefer to manage issues that are current, specific and non-routine (rather than planning for the future). They prefer verbal rather than written communication –

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Restaurant Manager Training

20 Challenge Situations for Training Restaurant Managers & Head Chefs in Problem Solving

These are designed for training restaurant managers and head chefs in problem-solving and resource allocation. They don’t have easy answers and will require trade-offs and some difficult compromises. Some of the ways to use these situations for training and coaching… Let people choose the one they want to answer and give them 5 minutes to make notes and prepare their answers. Share and compare. Cut them into strips and let people choose one randomly to

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restaurant training games

30 Quick Training Games for Restaurant & Cafe Staff

Use these enjoyable and instructive games to engage your front-of-house and kitchen staff – they’re designed to prepare and run quickly. And a reminder of the old trainer saying: what we learn with pleasure, we never forget! Make sure to take photos and share on your social media channels. Designing short training games or ‘microlearning’, involves several principles to ensure they’re effective, engaging, and suitable for the purpose: Relevant to the work environment and reinforce

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ChatGPT for training

How to Use ChatGPT to Create Training Material for Restaurant & Cafe Employees

I love using ChatGPT to develop training activities and materials for restaurant and cafe employees. I’ve used it here to brainstorm ideas for training modules for waiters, managers, cooks, head chefs, and baristas. The prompt I used is at the beginning of each section, and notice how I’ve built on one training suggestion (for tea) in the Barista section at the end, asking for the idea to be expanded. This is using the Chat in

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Health & Wellness Guide

Health and Wellness Guide for Restaurant & Cafe Staff – Sample

Our employees often lead high-stress lives: long hours, heat, tension and a lack of proper breaks or time to unwind. It’s the nature of hospitality, but we can’t ignore the negative effects on health and wellness if we are going to fix the problems of staff shortages and our failure to attract career-minded people. The broader issues of health and wellness also underpin concerns about mental health – the old saying ‘a healthy body means

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Restaurant Employee Welcome Pack

How to Create a Welcome Pack for New Restaurant or Cafe Employees

What’s in your Welcome Pack for a new employee? These are easy to set up, and will have you standing well above your competitors – most of them just say: ‘hello, there’s your apron and locker, now get to work!’ A great way to make a positive impression right at the start. Present the pack in a ring-binder that can have documents easily added or taken out – better than in a folder that can

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Restaurant Managers

Podcast 19: Developing Restaurant Managers for the Digital Age

Management is a lot more than carrying a big bunch of keys and covering the roster. A massive increase in operational complexity makes the manager role more demanding, and also more effective if the data available is harnessed accurately to show real-time results. Ken Burgin interviewed Liz Perkins from The Hospitality Company on this very interesting topic – she has a background as a chef and business owner. Liz now coaches hospitality operators on how

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Restaurant Standards

How to Set Clear Restaurant Standards to Avoid Mistakes & Frustration

It’s often easy for staff to misunderstand or ignore instructions. About the correct way to serve drinks, greet a customer or balance the till – if the standards aren’t crystal clear, someone will take shortcuts. There are five key issues to cover so everyone understands – not hard to write down, but they’re often overlooked. And every time you ignore someone who’s done the job incorrectly, you’ve actually set a new, lower, standard. Standards are

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