Workplace development in the industry is of the upmost importance, says Julie Barker, chair of the University Caterers Organisation
The primary function of the hospitality industry is to be of service. This ranges from procurement, to cooking and cleaning, to serving. The significance of staff training and development within the industry cannot be overstated, as every role ultimately works towards customer satisfaction.
It's important to begin training staff the moment a member is hired. This allows new recruits to start on the right path to understanding and adhering to not only operational procedures but also government legislation, therefore cutting out any bad habits from the outset. However, training should continue beyond the new recruit's initial orientation, in order to continue advancing and developing the performance of the operation.
Training is required for specialist knowledge, such as EU allergens legislation, which is one of the many challenges faced by university caterers. With 54% of allergen suffers saying they feel that staff don't understand their requirements, and one in four people with a food allergy having suffered a reaction while eating out, staff training is key to the successful implementation of the allergen legislation. Courses such as how to understand, purchase, handle and prepare allergenic foods and how to best communicate allergen risks to customers, can be carried out in order to ensure that all staff and customers are happy. Failure to provide allergen information on the food that you provide is not only bad service, but is a serious criminal offence and can result in unlimited fines.
At TUCO, we understand the importance of developing skills, as every member is integral to the success of an operation. From our annual study tours around the globe, to our training courses here in the UK, we aim to drive skills development in the higher education catering sector at an individual level. Every year we hold numerous events, competitions and conferences in order to continue development in an 'out of classroom' setting, showcasing the great talent that the higher education hospitality industry has to offer. If you are interested in attending or competing in any of our events, please visit the 'learn' section at www.tuco.org.
The hospitality industry is fast-paced and ever evolving, the best way to stay ahead of the game is through developing staff's expertise in their respective fields, even when performing day-to-day activities, as it often the smallest things that make the biggest impact.
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