Last month we were able to take an in-depth look at just how seriously Bibendum PLB takes training, learning and development within the group, not only for its own staff, but particularly when offering added value services to its customers. Here we take a look on the other side of the fence and talk to Johanna Wimmer, head of training and development at The Ivy Collection, about the challenges it faces in training its own staff and how it works closely with Bibendum to offer specialised drinks and wine training and education.
Finding the right way to train, develop and retain staff is a major challenge for all restaurant operators. Which is why The Ivy Collection is quite happy to run its wine training schemes in close partnership with the development teams at Bibendum PLB, explains The Ivy’s Johanna Wimmer.
How important is training for the group as a whole?
Very important, as we at The Ivy Collection believe in the importance of training and upskilling our teams. We are committed to developing our staff in all areas of product and service and we encourage our teams to learn new skills and broaden their horizons.
Can you describe the type of training you offer different levels of staff in the group?
Depending on job role there are different training levels. We run basic wine courses at our training academy which then lead to the Wine Champions Course developed with Julia Bailey at Bibendum, usually pursued by floor and bar staff, but it is also open to all. From there we find a great pool of talented people who are eager to take the opportunity we provide to study for their WSET levels 2 and 3.
What sort of specific wine/drinks training do you offer?
We have a lot of ongoing in house tastings at shift briefings and these are often scheduled in a development calendar by the site’s wine champions. This everyday development of knowledge is complemented by our supplier sponsored activity. Bibendum runs monthly bite size wine sessions in our restaurants which are organised by the restaurant directly and are popular and productive.
Why did you want to bring in Bibendum to help you?
Whilst we have a dedicated learning and development team and a fantastic group bars manager, we were looking for specialist expertise from a supplier to provide a really thorough wine education experience at The Ivy Collection.
Why did you choose Bibendum as your supplier training partner?
Bibendum is our main wine supplier and have a great reputation for supporting training for their hospitality clients. It was important for us to pair with a supplier to ensure our teams are really well informed about the wines they are selling
What specific areas of training were you looking for Bibendum to help you with?
We really wanted to upskill the teams, increase their product knowledge, so team members can add another string to their bow and enhance our guests’ experience.
Can you give some specific examples of the exact training Bibendum has been able to give your staff?
As already mentioned we have developed a tailored one day Wine Champion Course which has elements of WSET1, but also includes how to suggest and sell certain wines and more importantly how to share that knowledge with the rest of the teams.
Can you give examples of what specific results that training has achieved:
For the company as a whole it has been about improving guests’ experience and we have also seen a result in higher wine sales. For the for members of staff it has been a great opportunity for them to increase their knowledge, introduce cross training and give them extra confidence in their day-to-day roles.
What are the next steps of training you will be looking to do with Bibendum?
We will be taking part in all the online content that they now provide for their wine courses, as well continue with our Wine Champion programme, other aspects of our in house training and the WSET courses that we provide.
- You can read The Buyer’s interview with Bibendum’s main training and development team and the overall work they look to do with their customers here.