Role of Training in Catering Leadership Development

In a previous blog, we explored the exponential growth in the catering industry and the reasons supporting this growth.  A growing industry needs to support their leaders with targeted training to help them in meeting customer expectations and deliver outstanding service. In the catering industry, catering managers are the flag-bearers of the restaurant brand and it is critical to align them with the brand culture and values. This would help in establishing the brand with their crew and eventually with the customers. To achieve this, it is important to groom and train catering managers in certain skillsets and processes. Let’s look at them below:

Interpersonal skills

Interpersonal skills are a key attribute of successful catering managers. Catering industry has a high level of employee turnover and catering managers have to deal with new employees all the time.  It is essential that managers break the ice with employees and get them onboard and ready to perform quickly. Catering managers should be trained in skills like verbal and non-verbal communication, influencing and negotiation skills, and more.

Customer Centricity

Catering managers face customers on an everyday basis and customer centricity becomes a critical skill for restaurant survival and performance.  A manager trained on skills like understanding customer needs, customer behavior, effective communication, and empathy, would work towards building a customer-centric culture. Such a manager and their crew would be able to handle catering events better and deliver exceptional customer delight.

Catering Specific Processes

A catering event is a high-pressure situation with a lot of moving parts. Lack of processes can lead to chaos and bad customer experience.   Catering managers should be able to estimate the right number of crew members to an event.  They also need to keep a close watch on the budget and perform a detailed risk management analysis to make an event successful.

Considering all the above requirements, it is ideal that catering managers are trained to plan activities smartly, follow specific processes, and most importantly, they should be able to take quick decisions. Considering the nature of this industry, a blended learning approach would suit the best. Use of classroom training to deliver key topics, supported by online learning modules supporting micro-learning, gamification, and scenario-based learning can deliver the desired results.

Are you a part of the catering industry? What type of training do you prefer? Feel free to share your thoughts through comments below. If you would like to discuss any training needs or use cases with our experts, drop a note to info@harbingerlearning.com.

Catering Industry – Growing by Leaps and Bounds, and Sustaining Beyond

Catering industry in the United States has grown at an exponential rate in the last decade. In 2017, catering accounted for 11% of the foodservice industry sales with revenue of $12 bn. Caterers have introduced newer menu items and are providing a wider range of services than before to meet the increasing client expectations. Households and businesses are hosting more catered events, and as per projections, the catering industry will continue to flourish at a rate of 5-6% through 2019, as compared to a much lower, 1.8% growth rate from 2013-2018.  Many big restaurant brands have also started exploring catering as a revenue generation option.

So, what is factoring this tremendous growth? Here is what I think:

  1. Increasing Reach of Technology – For the first time in the history of food service, the power of ordering is literally in the hands of consumers.  This acts as a direct link between consumers and operations and speeds up the entire transaction cycle. Mobile technology has made it easier for customers to reach out to caterers through a couple of clicks.
  1. Healthy Consumer Spending – Statistics show that the average catering order value has increased by 65% in the last one year. This considerable growth has been aided by increased consumer spending and corporate profits. More and more households and businesses are expected to host catered events and opt for contractual meals for parties, weddings luncheons, schools, hospitals, and trade shows. Caterers relieve them of the worry of running the meal program, and they are free to focus on their core event or program.
  1. Rise in Catering Avenues- Catering avenues have diversified significantly over the past couple of years. Apart from the traditional event catering, newer forms of catering like mobile catering, boxed lunch catering for businesses, airline and rail catering are on a rise. Full-service catering companies that provide room decorations, lighting and table settings, along with food, are being sought by many consumers. With so many channels available for catering, it is only natural that the industry is growing significantly and will continue to do so.
  1. Better Packaging – Improved packaging technology like temperature control containers make sure that the food you receive as a boxed meal, or consume at an event, tastes and looks as good as at a restaurant and does not spoil. This is a lucrative proposition for consumers who want their guests or customers to enjoy fresh and good quality food without worrying about cooking or maintaining it.

The exceptional growth in the catering industry is commendable. It has paved the way for new job roles, processes and responsibilities.  It is crucial that you set the right standard for all stakeholders involved including third-party delivery partners, to support the growth in your consumer base and services. This requires training your employees and partners on the ins and outs of your brand, how you want your food to be packaged, how you want it to be delivered, etc.

I shall expand more on the role of training in catering leadership development in my next blog. Stay tuned, and feel free to share your thoughts below.

Trends in Workplace Healthy and Safety – My Learning from Safety 2018

The American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) conducted their 57th Safety 2018 Conference and Exposition in the beautiful city of San Antonio, from June 3 to June 6.  The conference was attended by over 640 exhibitors and 5000 safety professionals from around the world.

I had the opportunity to attend this conference on behalf of Harbinger, for the second year in a row. Apart from catching up with some of our clients and prospects, I got to learn a lot about the rapidly changing landscape of the health and safety industry. Here are a few trends that seem to be gaining immense popularity in this highly regulated industry:

  1. Virtual Reality – With its ability to provide a realistic training experience, virtual reality is slowly becoming an integral part of health and safety training. There are many useful applications of virtual reality in training, like hazard identification and site familiarization. With the pace at which this trend is catching up, it won’t be surprising to see it become as popular as mainstream online learning in the days to come.
  2. Micro-learning – Health and safety compliance courses are usually long and tedious, and hence not very exciting and engaging. Organizations are slowly making a shift towards making workplace learning more exciting for the learners using micro-learning, gamification and other rich media. The focus is to include small, interactive nuggets of information, which can be consumed one at a time, and can engage learners better. For instance, breaking an intensive personal protective equipment training session into smaller modules like hearing protection, eye protection, face shields, and so forth, could help in better retention of information.
  3. Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) Management software – EHS management software is constantly evolving, and becoming better every passing day. Most of the newer versions are cloud based, available to be used in offline modes, deliver intelligent data analysis of compliance issues, come with unique customization and integration abilities, provide detailed reporting, and offer better risk management. It will be interesting to see the growth of EHS management software in the safety and health domain.
  4. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) products – Some interesting innovations have been done in the field of PPE and other safety products. Use of mobile based applications, sensor based safety technologies and drone technology is making it an exciting space to watch for in the coming years. These innovations demonstrate that organizations are making safety their key priority by making use of latest technology to comply with stringent safety norms.

This conference was a great learning experience for me and I am already looking forward to the next Safety conference at New Orleans.

Are you associated with any workplace health and safety practices? What are your observations on the above mentioned trends? Share through comments below.

My Experience at ASSE Safety 2017

SAFETYASSE2017

The American Society of Safety Engineers [ASSE] conducted their 56th annual conference, Safety 2017 from 19-22 June at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver. The conference had over 650 exhibitors from across the globe.  5,000 safety professionals, health and safety leaders, key decision makers, safety consultants from 40 countries came together to share their expertise in risk management, industrial safety, industrial hygiene, and more.  With over 300 speaker sessions and events, the conference was a unique opportunity for professionals in the safety domain.

There were various types of organizations exhibiting at the conference; which could be categorized as:

  1. PPE Products – This category included organizations providing safety glasses, safety footwear, hard hats, clothing, glasses and gloves.
  2. Health and Safety Products – Organizations providing fall protection devices, safety ropes manufacturers, chemical safety devices.
  3. Universities, Publishers and Associations – Organizations across the USA who provide accreditation programs on health and safety.
  4. Training organizations – These included eLearning catalog companies, onsite training providers and training marketplaces.

I attended the conference on behalf of the Harbinger Interactive Learning team, and tried to understand the role online learning plays in health and safety training. Here are my key observations from the conference:

  1. Popularity of Onsite Training – Though there are many successful online training catalog providers in the health and safety space, onsite training is still the most popular method to deliver training.
  2. Learning on Handheld Devices – Many of the training catalog providers have their training content in Adobe Flash or PDF formats, however, they seem to be warming up to the idea of providing training through handheld devices like tablets and smart-phones.
  3. Virtual and Augmented Reality in Health and Safety – Virtual and augmented reality seem to be the next big thing in the health and safety training domain.

Safety 2017 provided me with the opportunity to interact with various health and safety training providers and also gave me an insight into the evolution of safety training over the last few years. I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of this conference and came back better-informed on the role training plays in the health and safety domain. Did you attend this conference? What were your key takeaways? Share through comments below.

Digitization of Medical Affairs

Medical Affairs

“Medical affairs” describes a function, typically in a life sciences organization, that interacts with both external and internal stakeholders of the company. It is the broad term that describes the department within a pharmaceutical or medical device company that interacts with physicians and other healthcare professionals who utilize or are involved with research related to the company’s products.

Medical Affairs acts like a bridge between medical and commercial groups in the company and the markets. Examples of Medical Affairs’ functions include:

  • Managing key thought-leader relationships
  • Publishing data from corporate-sponsored trials
  • Presenting educational information about a product or therapeutic landscape
  • Answering questions from healthcare providers regarding product safety or efficacy that is not addressed in a product’s label
  • Supporting research initiatives outside labeled indications for marketed products

As one can imagine, the above tasks are very time consuming and complicated. Since digitizing all these tasks can save considerable time and yet make a powerful impact on the audience, it is of utmost importance that organizations create a digital strategy around these. Below are some pointers on how this can be achieved.

Communication

Medical Affairs is a group entirely focused on internal and external communication. Since no one likes to read plain PDFs on product information or any other communication any longer, the group needs to incorporate ways to make communication interesting.

Here are some digital objects that can be deployed to make medical communication better:

  • Medical animations
  • Interactive e-books
  • Healthcare videos
  • Medical games
  • Healthcare apps

Product Launch

A successful product launch in today’s competitive and regulated marketplace is highly dependent on value-based and science-driven decision making. In such a scenario, the Medical Affairs function plays an important role, beginning right from the pre-launch phase and extending well beyond the launch date.

Critical aspects that Medical Affairs leaders need to focus on during launch are early stage thought leader (TL) interaction, successful TL targeting, alignment of commercial training to demands of key stakeholders and launch resource management.

eLearning can play a huge role into supporting the product launches in pharmaceutical companies. The training that is tied to a product launch is essential to empowering the sales staff with the right message to deliver at the right time. Following are some of the ways in which eLearning can be utilized in a successful product launch:

  • Create sales-readiness educational content for the sales reps
  • Create short, bite-sized infomercials
  • Disease and disease-state based learning content
  • Medical 3D animations to make the material visually attractive

Educational Material

Medical Affairs also deals with the creation and training of educational material for existing and upcoming products. A major part of this education happens in the classrooms.

Replacing this classroom training which mostly contains PDF/PPT based material, with digital interactions, can be a very effective way to expedite most communication and product related activities of Medical Affairs.

This can be achieved by a few different ways, including:

  • Realistic simulations
  • Branching and decision-making scenarios
  • Compliance training
  • Medical animations
  • Serious game-based learning

Putting it All Together

Though medical affairs is a very vast field and not all its functions can be covered in one article, the above examples should give a good idea of how the digital transformation of Medical Affairs can help a life sciences organization to make the most of its resources by saving money, effort, and time.

Harbinger Interactive Learning is a digital content development company. We are able to offer cost effective creative solutions with resources across different technologies and skillsets. A partnership with Harbinger can certainly help you build high quality digital pharma content cost effectively and stretch your development capabilities further. 

Please get in touch with info@harbingerlearning.com to schedule a time to discuss your digital content development plans.