Summer of Sport

Staff-time pep talk: 5 top tips on building a winning team

By Emily Sutherland contact

- Last updated on GMT

Making sure staff are confident talking to customers and take the initiative will help busy periods run smoothly
Making sure staff are confident talking to customers and take the initiative will help busy periods run smoothly

Related tags: Staff, Bar, Bt sport, City pub company

Big crowds and a busy bar can put extra pressure on staff, so they need to be prepared for the challenges ahead. Here are five top tips on building a winning team 
  1. Recruit well

Not all of your team need to be die-hard sports fans but they do need to be confident talking to customers in what will be a very busy and very loud environment. Employing staff who take the initiative and are always one step ahead of what needs to be done, will make a big difference. Bringing people who are passionate about service into your business will help make sure that your customers remember your pub for all the right reasons, not for how long they had to wait at the bar.

Read: Pubs expecting bumper sales from 2016 sporting summer

    2. Get organised

Good planning ensures there’s no confusion when your pub is packed full of thirsty customers. Make sure everyone on your team knows their role before, during and after the game, what you expect from them and how busy you expect to be. Trade expert Ali Carter recommends briefing staff on what you want to achieve — for example, what great service looks and feels like — to provide a ‘roadmap’ for teams to follow. Advice on how to plan and execute an event smoothly is available through Sky’s free Making the Most of Sport ​online training for licensees.

   3. Create excitement

Getting staff involved with an event from the get-go ensures they care about its success. Andy Harris, manager at City Pub Company’s craft beer pub the Temple Brew House, says asking staff for their ideas has helped to boost sport at the site. “We involve the team in the planning process so they have a vested interest in it. During the Six Nations rugby, we did six burgers and six beers based on the competing countries and got the team to come up with ideas about the dishes and beers. Giving the team that kind of autonomy is great because they end up running away with it and coming up with brilliant ideas. When you plan an event and do it all yourself, you can find no-one’s interested in it. Those kinds of events don’t work.”

    4.  Keep communicating

Making sure everyone in your team knows what’s happening — and when — is vital when it comes to keeping staff engaged with customers, according to Jane White, operations director at Publican Awards 2016 winners Sports Bar and Grill.​ “It’s easy when you can say ‘Oh, it’s the Champions League tonight, we’ve got Manchester City playing’ but when it’s golf or tennis staff also need to know who’s playing,” she says. “We do team briefs on a daily basis so staff get to know the sport.” Regular training sessions, meetings and memos can all ensure staff are on the ball and a quick quiz on what’s coming up will also help keep the team up-to-date.

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Alison Dolan, deputy managing director at Sky, adds: “If you and your staff can chat about specific matches or upcoming events, it gives a good impression and inspires loyalty. And having that edge is particularly important when you’re showing so many events this summer. Staff can encourage repeat custom by having the answers when asked about what other games or events are being shown in the next week or so. Plus they may encourage customers to arrive earlier than they had previously considered. Don’t assume that customers know the exact dates or kick off times for all the big events — a quick chat with them may be all they need to make their mind up to come back to your venue again.”

    5. Reward success

It’s not the just the customers who should be having a good time. Many operators offer incentives or sweepstakes to help boost staff morale and drive revenue. BT Sport suggests setting up a points-based incentive programme for staff, where points are issued for every sale made on a specific promotion and the winner is rewarded with a prize. Not only will your team get more done if they’re enjoying themselves, customers will pick up on the atmosphere and are more likely to have a good night.

Related topics: Sport, Training

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