The Complete Guide To Cross-Training Your Hospitality Staff

A Los Angeles Attorney Shares Legal Advice On Reopening Safely!

Sunday, April 7 2024

Creating a self-sustaining, well-rounded team for your hospitality business starts with hiring the right people. From there, it’s all about training and encouraging your employees to do their best every day. Cross-training your hospitality staff aids in that process. If you’re looking for one trick to engage your staff and improve customer satisfaction, cross-training is the thing to do.

In this Culinary Staffing blog, we’ll walk you through the importance of cross-training your hospitality staff. From there we’ll explore the most efficient ways to go about the cross-training process. By the end of this blog, you’ll be ready to curate a team of ready and able staff to support your business.

Why Is Cross Training Important In Hospitality?

In the hospitality industry, the one guarantee for you and your staff is a fast-paced work environment. Hospitality can be unpredictable and hectic. The key to managing this schedule is with a staff capable of filling any and every role. Cross-training your hospitality staff creates that all-encompassing capability. 

10 Ways Of Cross Training Your Hospitality Staff

By now you might be asking yourself, “How can I cross-train my staff? Where do I start?” These 10 steps are the place to begin! Cross-training your hospitality staff is a mix of consistent training efforts and constant effort to create opportunities for learning. These steps get you and your staff to that place of continuous education and growth.

1. Front Desk Shadowing

Front desk shadowing is a staple of cross-training in the hospitality industry. By a terminological definition, this shadowing work is ideal for hotels and other stay-based locations. For restaurants and bars, front desk shadowing can mean shadowing the host and other front-of-house professionals

2. Food and Beverage Support Training

Every type of hospitality business does some work involving food and beverages. Every hospitality employee, therefore, benefits from food and beverage support training. An easy option for starting this training is by having your staff work as bussers and servers from time to time, to learn the lay of the land.

3. Sales and Marketing Familiarization

How many people are on your sales and marketing team? Are they strained to get all their work done and engage with campaigns and sales tactics? You can ease the pressure on these departments by cross-training for skills such as upselling, referral recommendations, and community engagement.

4. Customer Service Practice

Customer service practice is a must for everyone on your staff. Your cross-training program for customer service skills can be open and expansive, allowing everyone a chance to step into customer service roles. The best way to start this process is by creating a set of guidelines for basic customer service support for staff to refer to and learn from.

5. Event Management Opportunities

Does your restaurant host monthly events for clubs and local groups? Is your hotel a space for companies to gather for banquets and celebrations? If you answered yes to either of these questions, our next question is, does all the event management fall on your management team? Open up that responsibility by bringing employees into those roles when events come around.

6. Lead Staff Experiences

Any of your team members can become more impactful at your business through lead staff experiences. What are these experiences? They can mean different things in different departments. A lead host could be given primary seating responsibilities. The lead server could schedule breaks for other servers. 

7. Wine and Spirits Education

Every top-tier hotel and dining establishment is well served by having a sommelier and a cicerone on staff. Hiring for these positions is important. What is equally important is having staff who can recommend and speak about the attributes of your wine and spirits collections. Offer education on these topics to support your staff in this learning experience.

8. Management Shadowing

If you’re looking to expand your management team and share responsibility, management shadowing is the next step for your staff interested in more expansive roles. You can offer this shadowing experience by department so that staff members can choose the skills they expand on. This leads to excellent opportunities for in-house promotions.

9. Upselling Technique Training

You might think the only people who can upsell are wait staff and similar selling roles. In any hospitality instance, however, any member of your staff has the capability to influence your guests. Provide training in upselling techniques to the entirety of your staff to keep them ready to promote your products, services, and best offers.

10. Community Awareness Experiences

One of the most organic ways to grow your business is by engaging with your community. Your staff can work toward this purpose with you through community awareness experiences. You can set these up by hosting community events and giving team members leadership and engagement roles to get them involved.

Key Outcomes Of Cross-Training Your Hospitality Staff

When you engage in the process of cross-training your hospitality staff it won’t be long until you see direct benefits. These benefits support you, your staff, and your customers and guests. They include:

  • Improved staff flexibility
  • Enhanced customer service
  • Increased employee engagement
  • Greater efficiency in operations
  • Cost savings across the business
  • Reduced staff turnover
  • Faster staff response times
  • Improved team cohesion
  • Expanded knowledge and creative problem-solving
  • Better work-life balance
  • Increased productivity
  • Improved cross-team communication 
  • Consistent service standards
  • Reduced bottlenecks around the business
  • Competitive advantage

More capable staff leads to less time wasted, happier customers, and empowered team members. The more opportunities you provide for cross-training, the more your staff will rise to each occasion in your hospitality business.

Frequently Asked Questions About Hospitality Staff Cross-Training

Cross-training for hospitality staff is one of the best choices you can make for your business. It’s also an extensive process. It comes with twists, turns, and training beyond the basics. Our answers to these frequently asked questions about hospitality staff cross-training will help get you started. Read on to learn how cross-training your staff boosts your business.

What Is Cross-Training In the Hospitality Industry?

Cross-training, both in the hospitality industry and in all industries, is the practice of training your team to be able to work through many positions and situations in the business. Cross-training revolves around enabling a staff member to shadow other employees in their positions and tasks, to share knowledge and experience. This can be done in an official capacity and at any time when a learning opportunity presents itself. 

How Do You Train Employees In the Hospitality Industry?

Some of the best ways to train employees in the hospitality industry include:

  • Role-playing exercises
  • On-the-job training
  • Customer service workshops
  • Product knowledge sessions
  • Shadowing and mentoring opportunities
  • Online training programs
  • Cross-training programs

Within these training practices, you can cover the important areas of hospitality, including:

  • Food protection
  • Food handling
  • Alcohol safety and regulations
  • Allergen awareness
  • Guest etiquette and customer service
  • Bartending skills
  • Housekeeping practices
  • Concierge programs
  • Operational procedures

The best way to train hospitality staff is through continuous learning. You can use all of these practices on an ongoing basis to ensure your staff is always learning and ready for every guest.

What Is an Example Of Cross-Training In a Restaurant?

A good example of cross-training in a restaurant is the opportunity for front-of-house staff and back-of-house staff to learn each other’s tasks and responsibilities. This is one of the biggest ways to ensure your entire restaurant staff is ready to help at a moment’s notice. You can train servers to work as bartenders, kitchen staff to manage customer service, and managers to work as hosts.

What are Examples Of Cross-Training In a Hotel?

Some examples of cross-training in a hotel are:

  • Training hosts to work as concierge representatives
  • Training housekeeping to work in customer service
  • Training front office personnel for marketing, sales, and public relations
  • Training sales associates to work in customer service

… and so much more! The more opportunities you can find to cross-train your hotel employees, the more efficient your staffing system will be.

Why Is Training So Crucial In the Hospitality Industry?

Training is critical for the hospitality industry because of the guest-facing nature of the industry. The more you train your employees for general practices and up-close customer service and satisfaction, the more your business will grow. 

Additionally, the more effort you put into training, the happier and more supported your staff will be. This leads to longevity and low turnover rates, which boosts productivity and guest satisfaction. Starting with quality training keeps your business going strong.

Hospitality Staff Cross Training: Building Your Team Internally 

This complete guide to cross-training your hospitality staff highlights the benefits of cross-training in a hospitality environment. Cross-training helps you to build a team you can rely on to get the job done. Expansive cross-training helps your team grow together and become a better team over time. 

Additionally, successful cross-training efforts ease the hiring process when it’s time to add team members. When you have a team of able, communicative, reliable workers, it’s easier to find candidates who fit your team and business goals. 

Hiring through a staffing agency like Culinary Staffing helps you along the way. Our pool of qualified candidates is at the ready to join your team and expand your cross-training capabilities. Reach out to start working with our staffing experts today!