September 13, 2012 |

Cross Train for Rushes

By Dave Ostrander

Big Dave Ostrander

Cross training covers all your bases
By Big Dave Ostrander

Its late afternoon Friday. Within an hour, the phones will be ringing off the wall. Your best crew is checking and double checking stock levels and doing their last minute prepping and fine tuning of their work stations. Then the phone rings and one of you best staff has just called in sick. And then it happens again –– two call offs in ten minutes. It’s going to be pretty hard to call in a pinch hitter employee at the last minute. You, the owner or manager will probably be able to fill one of the empty slots. What about the other one? 

If you have a cross-trained staff, you’ll make it through the rush without making customer service or meal quality suffer. After a little reshuffling, you’ll have your bases covered again. The highly cross trained staff can fill any position that is getting buried. I call it “make it, bake it and take it” training.

During my applicant screening and probationary process, I analyze the new hires chances of being cross trained. Do they have the right stuff to grasp mastering more than one skill set? Do they have a driver’s license and good record? Do they have the basic building blocks of customer service mentality? Do they have a sense of humor and do they smile? I can’t teach people how to be friendly. The higher they score on their ability, attitude and likeness of being cross-trained the higher their chances of being hired. 

I’m not proposing that your entire crew be cross trained nor am I suggesting that your best prep person be your best phone/counter person or driver. I am suggesting that when extenuating circumstances arise your cross trained staff will rise to the occasion and be able to flawlessly complete their shift. In today’s economy, lean and mean beats fat and sluggish every time.