Training Top 125 Best Practice: Wequassett Resort and Golf Club’s Fine Dining Training
Wequassett Resort and Golf Club in Massachusetts was honored to achieve the coveted Forbes five-star award in April. But the organization wanted a five-star award for Twenty-Eight Atlantic, too. Twenty-Eight Atlantic is the signature restaurant on property and has had four-star status since 2005. The restaurant routinely scores highly, but had yet to break the five-star ceiling. This prompted Wequassett to look at its training plan for the restaurant in particular and put a new regimen in place.
Wequassett had the front-of-house employees learn the menu, the wine list, and the 145 steps of fine dining service. It had the back-of-house employees master the menu, flavor profiles, food quality, and plating techniques. Once both groups were ready, Wequassett put together a workshop. It went through the Forbes expectations of five-star restaurants and how difficult it is to achieve the 92 percent score.
The culinary team has the passion about their menu items, so Wequassett lined up front-of-house employees across from culinary employees. The front-of-house employees had to describe an item from the menu. The culinary employees had to figure out which item they were describing and then tell the front-of-house employee how they would explain the dish. It was inspirational for servers to get the chef’s perspective and story about each menu item.
Next, Wequassett had the culinary team prepare dishes from the menu and present them to the front-of-house team. Both teams studied the food placed in front of them, tasted each of the items, and filled out an inspection. This exercise allowed the chefs to see how their food looked on the tables, how it looked after it had been transported out of the kitchen, and how people ate it. This experiment cultivated conversations and led to changes made in the kitchen. It also allowed the chefs to teach the food runners proper carrying techniques, and plate placement on tables.
Twenty-Eight Atlantic’s guest service index (GSI) scores started to improve dramatically. The restaurant is at 93.11 percent extraordinary, up 1.05 percent from the previous year’s GSI score. The organization then started to get confirmation from Forbes inspections. In 2015, Forbes inspection scores landed flat: 87.59 percent in April, 87.68 percent in May, and 87.59 in June. In 2016, the restaurant scored 88.28 percent in April, 89.66 percent in May, and 93.88 percent in June—a five-star score.
The workshop also bolstered the quantitative side of the equation. With more mouth- watering descriptions and confidence discussing wine options, the revenues increased. Twenty-Eight Atlantic saw a combined 10.29 percent growth in beverage and dinner revenue.