A Manager in Training Program: Why it’s Worth Implementing

The word “manage” means to “direct, control, handle.” So, isn’t investing in your staff by teaching them to direct, control and handle the running of your restaurant in the same manner as you do worth it?

According to the National Restaurant Association, eight in 10 restaurant owners say they got their first industry job in an entry-level position. The message here: In order to grow great managers, they need to work all facets of the restaurant. From the ground up.

At VSAG, our restaurant consulting team believes in training and investing in staff, hence building loyalty and trust, and diminishing turnover. We have successfully installed our Restaurant Manager in Training program (or as we like to call it our Cultural Immersion Program) in many of our clients’ restaurants and strive to continually build their brand.

Creating an MIT program takes planning, passion and persistence. Here are some starting points:

Who:  Start with a great Trainer. A leader with multi-faceted experience that is good with conveying big ideas, good with organization and good with reading and understanding people. Managers wear many hats, therefore look for dynamic candidates who are: Passionate about the industry and service (i.e. people pleasers with great communication skills will be adept at handling irate guests!); Organized (overseeing many areas will get overwhelming if candidate is not methodical); Dedicated to maintaining the highest level of standards; and Responsible (not only for themselves, but for daily operations, the books, the brand, and the like).

What: A management program committed to quality, excellence and a full understanding of company culture is a must. *Note: Conduct honest candidate assessments. These will help ensure shared visions, expectations and growth.

When:  Put a time limit on the duration of your program. It might be six months. It might be twelve months. Find your balance, and then fill all timeframes with specific structures. For example, focus the first two weeks on the basics, such as orientation, food testing/running and menu overview, and then follow with the more challenging aspects of operations.

Where:  On that note, make sure to fully immerse candidates in every aspect of the restaurant. From front-of-the-house to service to kitchen to bar to back-of-the-house…No area is off limits and each one presents a new opportunity to garner hands-on learning and situational experience!

Why: Your overall goal is to build confident, loyal talent and instill corporate culture, all while providing candidates with the management skills to become better team members. It may seem like a tall order, but your efforts will be well worth it in order to continually grow and improve your business.

To see if implementing an MIT program is right for your business, visit our VSAG Restaurant Management Training and Development Systems section of this website and the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s ManageFirst Program. Who knows? Before you know it, you could be celebrating your first MIT graduate!