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Restaurant Business - employee Training & Evaluation.

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Gone are the days when the employees were satisfied with their working condition without expecting much. These days they are not satisfied with their pay checks only but also have burning desire to learn new skills, opportunities for advancement and no stagnation,job satisfaction. Training should be so designed that it may inculcate loyalty and commitment, imparting job knowledge and skill, dedication to service, concerned with customer care, understanding of management responsibilities of the organization.

Saiful, whose father started the Matahari Family Restaurant 40 years ago, has taken over the running of the family restaurant after obtaining his degree in Business Administration.

Saiful has always been involved in the restaurant operation since young, having had to help his father in every aspect of operating a restaurant. Saiful was passionate about the business but thought his father ought to diversify the restaurant business into other related Food and Beverage (F&B) businesses.

In less than 10 years, Saiful did just that. He started a western-theme cafe catering to the younger set of clients; he also started a Halal sushi and ramen chain. His latest venture is vegetarian cuisine for the health conscious. All these are managed under the Matahari Group of companies which has more than 30 outlets in Singapore and another 30 outlets in Malaysia and Indonesia. He plans to add another 10 outlets in China and India by the end of this year.

Traditionally the F&B sector employs mostly non-graduates. When Saiful took over the family restaurant, most of the employees of Matahari Family Restaurant did not have a formal academic education nor were they trained in any skills related to F&B. Even the cooks picked up their skills from other cooks.

The labour crunch in Singapore in recent years, specifically in the F&B sector, made Saiful rethink his recruitment strategy. Instead of the traditional non-graduate labour pool, Saiful now regards the universities and polytechnics as a viable source of talents for his chain of F&B outlets. He partnered Spring Singapore in recruiting university and polytechnic graduates under the Management Associate Partnership (MAP) programme. This programme promotes high growth SMEs to university and polytechnic graduates and to strengthen the image of SMEs as Employer of Choice.

The programme provides a 12 to 18 month training to groom the new graduates to take on leadership positions. The Matahari Group of companies currently has 55 graduates under this programme. The plan is to recruit 30 graduates per year. The company currently spends about 5% of the total payroll on skills upgrading.

Shanon is one of the management trainees recruited under the MAP. Shanon has been in this programme for only 10 months, but he has already worked in the various restaurants and the head office. Shanon has been attached to the marketing department; the HR department; the planning department and even has a stint working in the kitchen. He is now preparing for his attachment to both China and India at the end of the year. He will be involved in the planning of new overseas ventures in these two countries.

Shanon is full of praises for his experience. He said that the program has helped him to grow and to discover what he truly wanted to pursue in his career. He also said that the job rotation provided him the opportunities to learn many new skills.

However, Shanon is anxious about the planned trip to China and India. He is particularly concerned over his lack of experience working in these two countries. Although he does read up and has searched the internet extensively on information about working in China and India, he is still anxious about having to deal with a workforce that is different from the one in Singapore.

In fact Saiful has begun exploring setting up his outlets in developed countries like Japan, US and Europe in view of the rising popularity of Southeast Asian cuisine. He plans to have 10 outlets in Japan, US and UK by the end of this year. Management trainees like Shanon is part of this plan. The HR Director, Ms Eunice Goodfellow, shares Saiful's vision passionately. Saiful's vision is to have 50% of university and polytechnic graduates in Matahari Group as compared to the current 10%.

One of the main tasks that Eunice is working on is to prepare the management trainees in managing diversity not only in the Singapore context but also in countries which Matahari is expanding into. Eunice's other immediate task is to enhance the employer branding for the Matahari Group as an 'Employer of Choice'. Employees in the F&B sector are known to work long hours, which could be a factor that drive away potential graduates. There are many other negative vibes about the F&B sector. Eunice plans to change all these. Both Saiful and Eunice believe that happy employees are the keys to productivity and loyalty. That's the reason why the company's new motto is 'Smile and the World smiles with you'!


1. Discuss the need to evaluate training effectiveness given that the amount of funds spent in employee training is substantial. Suggest how the 'return on investment' on training employees could be measured using quantitative and qualitative indicators. Examine the challenges/obstacles and ethical issues that you might encounter in the evaluation process. Apply examples of a job/position in a typical F&B sector in your answers.

Training programs cost money and hence important to evaluate the return of the program. Trainee employee should have gained job knowledge and skill, service with a smile even under pressure, working long hours, realization of the responsibilities, job knowledge of the other sections of the business so that if the need be one employee may be deputed to the other and may serve as a good replacement, willingness to work in other countries, his productivity has increased after going through the training.

F & B sector is very demanding sector expecting prompt service, and with a smile. The ways customers are served, how their orders are being catered to, offering ear to the customer's suggestion & complain and as far as possible amicably settle it then and there.

Often some employees are slow in learning the skills and pay less attention to the training being imparted and don't show any improvement in their performance. Restaurant business is such a business where service to customer is very important. It requires lot of patience to earn the goodwill of the customers but hardly an instant to lose it.
The concerned employee should be made aware of his area of weaknesses and suggested ways to improve upon them.

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Solution Summary

In any business, knowledge of key areas of, and passion for business is essential for the owner-entrepreneur. It helps exploring the need for training to employees and after the training evaluating the success of training. Employees should have dedication to their job and a strong desire to serve the customer best so that he not only may go satisfied but feel liking visiting again - patronizing the restaurant.

It is equally important to have the knowledge of language, culture, taste, etiquette of other countries. After all in these days of globalization and stiff competition the business must expand in other countries .

The employees should be well educated in their area of specialization, must be capable of accepting responsibilities, have knowledge of other sections of the business and may be prepared to take up the work of these other section when their is short vacancy

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"Saiful and Eunice rightly believe that happy employees are the keys to productivity and loyalty. That's the reason why the company's new motto is 'Smile and the World smiles with you'!"

Restaurant business is a highly competitive and customer satisfaction oriented business where employees' loyalty, productivity, sincerity, and desire to serve the customers with a welcoming smile is highly valued. Customers like to interact and be served by an efficient employee with charming disposition.

Discuss the need to evaluate training effectiveness given that the amount of funds spent in employee training is substantial; Return on investment in training:

Evaluate training effectiveness:

Training in fact is a recruiting tool. These days' young workers are not satisfied with a paycheck only; additionally they want to learn new skills, advancement opportunities, job satisfaction. Training is a retention tool inculcating loyalty and commitment from good workers avoiding stagnation in the same job for longer periods. In absence of any training the employees feel frustrated and don't see any future in the job. Their productivity will be low and indifferent. Nearly 40% of them leave within the first Year

It is an excellent idea to cross train the employees so that they are able to take up the challenges of other aspects of the business. They will be competent to handle sales, customer service, administration and operations. It will have two benefits - the company can fill in the short term vacancy effortlessly from within the existing staff, they will understand the challenges and responsibilities of their other colleagues, generate team spirit and hope for future promotion.

Crossing training also helps in knowledge transfer as one specialist shares his knowledge and experience with other colleagues. Spreading of knowledge, acts as diversification of your investment.

Formative Evaluation:-

Indicators can be qualitative and quantitative both. The latter shows the size of your enterprise or efforts and the former about their effects. Qualitative indicators help in deciding what is working and can be improved.
Indicators are like the road signs giving you right direction towards your ultimate goals. With the help of indicators you know whether you are going in the right direction or no and correct the direction as the need be in time. If you have strayed very much out ...

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