The changing world
BUSINESS AFTER BUSINESS - Girlie Garces (The Freeman) - March 5, 2015 - 12:00am

There are many changes that we have noticed now.  For a business to become competitive, it has to professionalize its services and invest in training and development.  Sadly though, when a business has been in operation for a long time, training becomes the first item that falls under the important but “not urgent” list, which ultimately becomes a forgotten list.

But just like how parents prepare their children for life through education and encourage them to be curious, business should also motivate their people to always level up.  This can only be done through exposure and training.  People will only gain new perspectives if provided with learning opportunities that could impact positively on the business.

Still, some of the things that need to be done are simply basic and need not involve expensive training activities.  Instead, one could employ localized learning shops through meetings and regular teach-ins from supervisors to their subordinates.

Daily reviews of the work could allow for more reflection and introspection.  It could also bring out suggestions on better ways to do things based on encounters of that day.  Pre and post work talks provide a venue for the employees to be conscious about their activities and take note of what areas they need to improve.

I have observed two of the leading fast food chains here.  Before the start of a business day, the manager starts the day by encouraging the crew to begin the day with a smile.  Then they go through the details of the routine to ensure that even if the activities are done every day, each item is prepared and treated without being complacent.

At the end of the day, the workers are gathered once again to inquire on their encounters.  Problems met are discussed and ways of approaching them are thoroughly deliberated so that if any future repetitions occur, then the crew would be prepared.

If training cannot be at a certain point, afforded, perhaps observing can be fortified.  Waiters can be asked to discreetly observe how their customers react to the service and to note each other’s manner of service delivery. 

A waiter once told me that he noticed that most of the carenderias that served soup are so sloppy that they spill some of the soup to the accompanying plate, which looked unsanitary.  Of course I agreed, having observed the same myself.  That is why he said he would take care to handle the soup he would serve with utmost care and not just flick the vegetables that came dangling at the edge of the bowl unceremoniously. 

He said that even through this small gesture he noticed that customers prefer to line up in his stall rather than in a competing stall.

Having taken this act seriously, he said he moved on to investing on gloves and hairnets for his crew so that when they would serve the food they would look neat and food handling would be clean as well.  Small gestures meant a lot to the business.  One need not be so technology driven in adapting to the changing environment for even if things sound sophisticated, what impacts well on the customer is still the aged old good attitude and excellent service.

Sometimes we need not be so complicated in our approach to change.  In fact, sometimes all it takes is to look back at best practices and learn from them.  For change may mean also just a change of attitude and doing what we may consider routine, better.

Why do you think that in spite of the advancements in technology and design, people still flock to old restaurants with a rustic ambiance?  It could be because they just want to remember the good old days where people mattered more in the gathering and the food spiked it all, rather than just the design and flair served in delightful designer plates delivered by cold, distant  staff.

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