A fresh look at hospitality training

06 February, 2019 by Andy Young

The Kan Do Academy has taken a fresh look at hospitality training and come up with a program which co-founders Kent Anderson and Anesan Naidoo believe makes training more engaging and interesting, but most importantly helps participants actually learn.

With staff turnover being potentially quite high for many pub, bar, restaurant and café operators, training can become a huge burden. But with any member of staff possibly being the face of your business at any given moment, training is hugely important for all operators.

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It’s with that in mind that Anderson and Naidoo came up with the Kan Do Academy a program of online videos which venue owners can sign up to and then give access to their staff so they can understand everything they need to know about working in a hospitality venue.

“This really comes from being a hospitality owner and operator,” Anderson told TheShout.

“You’ve got a lot of casual staff made up of uni students, backpackers and generally people coming and going. How do you always make sure you have the time or the money to invest in that training? But you know if you don’t then it can cause real problems.

“The attitude towards training in hospitality is getting better, there’s a lot more training than there was, but generally speaking the vast majority of people we speak to and ask, ‘what are you doing for training now?’ The answer is either ‘nothing’ or it’s ‘we just get someone to show them round’.

“The buddy system training can simply mean though that the trainer passes on their shitty habits to the person, who then just passes them onto the next person. Think of it like when you make a copy of a copy of a copy, it just gets grainer and grainer.”

Anderson said when he look at what a lot of venues were doing, he saw a lot of it was BAD training – boring, academic and dry.

He added: “It’s supposed to be a fun industry, we’re not selling insurance. This is food, it’s beverages, it’s a social industry, it’s a flirtatious industry but somehow we are dealing with all this kind of entertainment and the training ends up being pretty flat.

“So we decided we wanted to keep it short and sharp, but practical and approachable and more than anything keep it Australian and keep it relevant.”

The program offers a series of short, online videos, which staff members watch and learn from and then complete a test at the end of to make sure they have understood the lesson. From induction and on-boarding through the essentials of working behind a bar, communicating in a kitchen and leadership skills, this is a complete development program for hospitality staff and works from everyone from the glass collector through to a venue manager.

“One of the things that Gen Xers complain about with Gen Ys and Millennials is that they have short attention spans and they are addicted to their phones. So we thought, ‘why fight it, let’s roll with it.’ All our presentations are around two minutes and all are accessible through a phone,” Anderson told TheShout.

“There is a full range of training on a massive variety of areas right up to people being a General Manager, because the reality is you can be managing a pub at a relatively young age and be managing people quicker than in a lot of other industries. Also on any given shift you’re going to need to be, or be called on to be, security guard, psychologist, accountant, bartender, cellarman, a garbage collector. There are so many different hats you need to wear so we have modules to help with all those different areas.”

With the pub background of the Kan Do team that is where they have got most of their initial traction, but Anderson said they are getting a lot of cafés and restaurants interested in program and coming on board.

Speaking about the long term plan, he said:We believe that place of hospitality in society is underrated. It’s meant to be about helping people in good times and bad, and if you can’t give that the professionalism that it deserves then there is something wrong. We’re passionate about getting through to all arms of the industry: restaurants, pubs, clubs, nightclubs, cafés, bars and really raising standards. It’s about helping to increase the professionalism across the industry, across the board.

“The industry is changing so much and that should be celebrated, it’s great but we’ve got to keep up with it and training is a massive part of that. Every month we are adding to this, uploading more and more content, so from our perspective we have a really open dialogue with our customers about what they are seeing in there venue that they are not seeing a presentation for. Then we take on that feedback and make sure it’s incorporated into the next lot of filming.”

Kan Do went to market with the program at the end of last year and is already getting good traction as it looks to take its two models, Kan Do Essentials or a bespoke venue program, around Australia.