Staff Development

Whether you are big or small, you cannot give good customer service if your employees don’t feel good about coming to work. ~ Martin Oliver

Continuous development of your staff is important to the growth of your business.  The best sellers are often the products your staff is most excited about, and the best facility is a prison cell, if your staff doesn’t enjoy the time they spend there. As an experienced specialty retailer I have a deep understanding of our craft.  Through years of studying the team dynamic and what motivates an individual to perform, I can help your employees achieve their goals and appreciate their role in your shop, leading to higher sales and a happier work environment.

Here are some areas where I can help your staff grow their skills, resulting in more profit for your business:

Product Care – Keeping your product in optimal condition will result in lower cogs, and higher profits.  Of course, in gourmet retail, our inventory is often front and center for our customers to judge. Lets make sure what they see is appealing and what they don’t see still tastes great.  We can help reveal the telltale signs for when things are headed in the wrong direction. We can help you become a food whisperer. Hint: Learn to listen to your inventory.  It will tell you what to do to.

Spoilage- What to do when things have gone wrong

Wrapping – How to ensure that your product stays in good shape, while looking it’s best.  Also, when to wrap, when not to, and when to do something else.

Cheesemonger Affnage – as far as building your business, this is a comprehensive program that I can help experienced mongers add value to your inventory, and also produce salable product from items that are otherwise destined as waste. If you have aspirations for an aging program, the first step toward ripening and aging cheese is understanding how it all works toward increasing revenue.

Preparing an item for sale – I just brought in this new item, now how do we get it ready to sell?  Sometimes reps are not available or knowledgeable enough to help you go from the package to the customer without losing inventory to unnecessary trim loss.  I can teach your staff how to make efficient use of the products you carry. (Insert range of trim and how that can effect the bottom line over time.

On the line…

How to setup a workstation – this is different than workspace ergonomics. Based on a typical day’s tasks, I will teach your staff how to approach the day with a properly setup station.  What to have out, what to have available, what a clean workspace should look like, and how to keep it that way.  An innefficient work station results in innefectual and unhappy employees. Through lessons I learned working in Michelin starred kitchens, I can help you create habits that will serve your staff and your bottom line for years to come.

Knife Skills – accuracy of cuts, cutting to desired weight, and how to maintain a safe environment for your team.  This includes a comprehensive training on electric slicers.


Customer Service – I can help your team understand the empathetic approach to customer service. They must understand that success is a matter of building trust based relationships, through attentiveness as well as product knowledge.

Negotiations – You may want to empower some of your employees to make some big deals to move a large volume of inventory with one sale.  In this case, giving them the skills and information to be successful can give you that big day, from time to time while maintaining a positive trust relationship with the customer.

Merchandising – I can teach your staff how to build a small display that looks abundant, or a huge display that keeps your inventory in great shape.  One things for sure: It has to look attractive and appealing.  I can teach your staff simple techniques to make your merchandise POP !

BOH – You know you are a cook, right?  Let’s start acting like a pro…

Sanitation – Understanding the local rules is very important.  Understanding how to translate that without over burdening your staff and keeping the inspectors happy is a skill  I can teach you.  My work spaces have been inspected by health departments in LA, NYC, Chicago, Boston, and Brazil, and I have always passed with flying colors.  Understanding the sensibilities of our sanitation regulators is the key! Hint:  You should work clean;)

Proper Labeling – If you have not been instructed properly on how to keep track of what was used when, I can teach you a simple system for making sure your customer always gets the freshest, and when something should be tossed.  It may sound easy, but systems create consistency and in labeling, like many other things, consistency is key.

Knowing your pars – Yeah, you should know how much you typically use, but you should also know how much you have.  Even if you have thousands of items, it is reasonable for everyone on your staff to have an idea of what you have available at any time. I can teach your staff techniques for having this info at the ready.  On a daily basis, this will keep your merchandise in peek form, and can ensure your staff has the tools to convert potential sales.

FIFO – When is it good, when is it bad?  Believe it or not, FIFO is not always the answer.  Learn why, and when it is a good idea to employ other systems for keeping your product quality at it’s highest when it gets to the customer.

Passion – Unlock the secrets to what motivates your staff and use that passion to work for you

Study – Producers are constantly trying to improve their product offering, and new producers pop up all the time.  Here you will find techniques and resources for incorporating research and learning into your routine that will benefit your bottom line.

Lifestyle – Balance must be reached to ensure you and your staff don’t “burn out”.  These techniques will help provide for steady growth and a more enjoyable work atmosphere.

Philosophy – Staying true to your vision, knowing what is mission critical and understanding where you can be flexible without losing your focus are important.  Your philosophy provides your staff with direction, and your guests with a clear understanding of what they can expect from their experience at your shop.

Team Perspective – Every staff member brings something to the table.  Like a good baseball team, wins come when everybody plays their role.  However, sometimes the roles we play run outside our “job description”.  Understanding how to appreciate each other, helps each person celebrate the wins, and helps us share the burden when we don’t. Alienation is contagious and if your team atmosphere is struggling, that’s probably the culprit.  I can relate lessons to your staff that will help them understand that success means never having to say your sorry.

Real Skills – Every specialty food store has the opportunity to be world class.  Product offering is key.  And, how your product is cared for, how it is sold, and the cohesion of your staff are what raise your shop’s potential.  Consistent practice of these techniques will create a fun environment which will enrich the lives of your staff, and keep the customers coming back.





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