Great service has the power to make or break a customer’s dining experience. In a perfect world, everything would always run smoothly, food orders would never be entered into the system incorrectly, and they would never run out of your pub favourites. Unfortunately, we all know that is not how the world works. Sometimes things go wrong, for reasons totally out of anyone’s control. We’ve all experienced it, and the reality is that people generally are fairly forgiving, as long as the staff are polite and they receive service with a smile. There is no better way to truly see how well a team works together than when they are put under pressure if things don’t go quite according to plan. We don’t want to focus on the things that go wrong, but if your team can get it right even when the going gets tough, then the world is really your oyster.
A foundation of great training is essential for stellar service. We believe that the best way to achieve this is through a careful concoction of practical and theoretical learning, the right level of healthy pressure and a hearty helping of the tried and tested ‘lead by example’. The other essential ingredient is confidence. I remember once walking into my local pub in my hometown and quietly enjoying a beer at the bar. One of the new barmaids was taking her break in the back of the restaurant area. Her manager came out to her with the most enormous club sandwich I’ve ever seen in my life (I ordered one very shortly afterwards - once again, lead by example.) She looked at him, fairly puzzled, and said “are you sure this is meant for me, I never ordered a club sandwich?”, and he replied “Of course it’s for you. How are you going to know what you’re selling if you’ve never tried it?” That to me, was a prime example of great training. It wasn’t about the sandwich, it was about instilling a young lady with enough confidence to really understand their brand. All of the Eden Fine Wines training modules are tailored exactly to your business, because it is paramount that the information your team receives is relevant specifically to them. The service your customers receive should give them an understanding of who you are, what you stand for and your entire brand identity. For example, you would not receive the same style of service in a three Michelin star restaurant as you would your local pub, and nor should you, but it is possible for your customers to leave both feeling very happy. This confidence that is essential for all great customer service, is perhaps even more crucial in the wine industry because there is an underlying level of complexity. There is so much more to tasting wine than just how it tastes. In our training, we do not solely cover the fundamentals of different styles of wines, how they are made and the key influences. We incorporate a huge amount of practical training so that your team can confidently conduct a formal wine tasting, and discuss elements such as appearance, nose, palate and flavour characteristics using all the correct terminology. Essentially, we want to help them become masters of their trade.
Hospitality is also, famously, an industry that is based on fun, and that should be integrated in every step. We don’t believe in long, boring training sessions where your staff have to listen to someone lecture on about how important it is to provide service with a smile. We believe there’s more to it than that. If people want to work in the wine trade, it’s generally because they have a passion for wine. There is a story behind every bottle, a rich history behind different winemakers and regions, and obviously, it’s down right delicious. Curating your own personal wine list is one of the best bits. It might be a blend of wines that are personal favourites, wines with a story behind them, wine that is ‘hot right now’ and newer wines that are slightly ‘untouched gems’. Either way, it’s a process that requires a lot of thought and different inputs. If your team is passionate about the product, and understand the ‘who, what, when, where, why’ behind every bottle, the chances are they’re going to sell more (and let’s face it, that’s always got to be the priority.) Great training also ensures they will have an understanding of successful food and wine pairings, beyond just ‘white with fish and red with steak’. If you are running a hospitality venue, all of the different elements should work symbiotically together, the food should help you sell more wine and vice versa.
In the words of our MD Gary, “our business will only ever be as good as our team”, and that is a statement that holds a lot of weight. Your team is your brand, if you have wonderful people around you who are passionate about driving the business forward you are in very safe hands, but in order for them to reach that full potential, it is imperative that they are nurtured along the way.