Lights Camera action!
Incorporate role play for a winning training program
Take one … take two … take three … ready on set?
Are your teams delivering their best performance with every guest that walks through your doors? Incorporating role plays into your training programs will help your guests receive a repeat performance every time.
Role play is one of the most effective tools in the trainer’s toolbox where participants can experience real life situations and ‘learn by doing’. Role play can be used to train any level of company staff, including company staff, managers, and even executives.
Role play allows teams to experience real life situations in a simulated and controlled environment. With participants playing the roles of guests, employees, and managers, they may be better equipped to handle situations.
Due to the controlled environment, role play allows the trainer to assess an individual’s strengths and weaknesses and come up with an action plan for growth and development. When used to master a skill, role play builds confidence as the skill is practiced and training is administered by a coach. Since the trainer is next to the student, you can easily determine if the student has mastered the newly discovered technique and is ready to work in their solo position. When role play is used to emphasize another person’s feelings, it allows teams to acknowledge those feelings and understand the effect of their behavior or that of others. For example, role-playing in a guest situation will allow teams to better understand how a guest is feeling. As a result, they will learn the level of service that must be provided to provide a quality experience. Another benefit of role play is helping team members understand the consequences of violating policies, such as being late for work, and the stressful impact it can have on the entire team. As a result, they will learn the importance of being on time.
How to start
Prior to the scheduled training date, company assessments should be conducted to determine specific areas of performance / improvement that need to be addressed. Next, the business facilitator must determine the overall results to be achieved and how the issues will best be addressed. For example, the trainer must determine if the problems are more related to emphasizing feelings or strengthening a skill.
Next, the company facilitator should determine the specific characters associated with the problem and the particular roles they will play. There are many roles that can be played such as a guest and a service representative, a manager and a team member, a service representative and a kitchen team member, or similar combinations.
Finally, the company facilitator, armed with the necessary scripts and scenarios, can develop training aids and other training tools to address the overall objectives of the program.
As a starting point, we have listed some suggested scenarios to help you role-play with your teams. Before starting the role play, always ask for volunteers so that shy or less experienced teams can observe each other first to help them build their confidence.
1. Cashier talking on the phone and not recognizing a walk-in guest
2. The server is gruff and rushes a guest while taking an order (asks short and quick questions and displays hasty body language)
3. The server is too friendly and talks too much to a group of business guests having a meeting.
4. Server scolds a kitchen worker for an incorrectly placed order
5. Host / Hostess is sarcastic and short-tempered when a guest asks for information about the menu
6. Host / Hostess saying defensively to a guest: “I told you the wait was 20-25 minutes and you only waited 10 minutes.”
7. The waiter is cold and unfriendly while the sole diner seeks attention and conversation.
8. Bartender chatting with some regulars and ignoring a guest who obviously needs something (drink refill, a napkin, condiments, etc.)
9. Two people on the bus talking about personal problems while ignoring a guest’s signal for service.
10. A member of the kitchen team calls out for a waiter to pick up an order.
11. Disrespect for the dishwasher when waiters throw away dirty dishes without scraping them first
12. A troublesome team member causing co-workers to do extra work; creating disagreements among staff; undermine management; constantly being late; and similar situations.
13. The manager tells the guest “no” or “we can’t do that” without apologizing, adding an explanation, and offering options.
14. Manager pointing fingers and arguing with a guest when handling a complaint.
15. Manager threatening the work of a team member
Alkis Crassas, president of EVOS USA, Inc., a healthier fast food chain based in Tampa, Florida, routinely uses role play and says, “Although role play pushes the limits by placing participants in the spotlight, after the butterflies are gone, will soften and your team will start to see the overall goals of your restaurant. “
If the role play is designed properly and effectively, it can be invaluable to the success of any business. More importantly, when role play is interactive and fun, your training goals will stick and result in a high return on your investment. Role play adds to each participant’s life experience and when people experience something, they will take it with them more than any book, video, or lecture could replicate.