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  • Derek Engles

Building a Hospitality Education Program

I have been building food and beverage education programs for restaurants for over a decade, and there has not been a lot of changes to the programs and modalities that are available. The educational landscape for hospitality pro's is slightly stale.


There are the traditional routes available that will charge you a lot of money to teach you the same higher educational theories of yesteryear. There are "professional" organizations offering certifications, many without their own education program. And my favorite is the countless $50 classes touted around the internet that plan on teaching you through their cutting edge formula of copying and pasting tidbits from around the web. These, I believe, are all of the reasons why our employees hate learning, and really hate learning from their leadership teams. They are consistently let down by the lack of consistently good educational content.

wine training sommelier
Keeping education programs on the practical side is the way of the future.

I have found that there are few places more rich with eager students than a restaurant, as the subject material is both pertinent and fun. Most who work in the fine dining arena love to eat out and drink wine, so your audience is easily engaged about their work material. It is when we roll out a new lesson, a new dish, a new service step and a new cocktail all on the day that these item begin their run... that's when we lose them.

We have lost the faith of our subordinates the moment we appear unprepared and disorganized. We get that faith back by consistency, precision and execution. Staff members are never shocked when you roll out a new F & B training calendar. They are very shocked if you stick to it.

quotes on wine and business
The question is, what happens to the manager after he says it?

I make my best effort to always keep these things in mind when designing Somm.Site. Hospitality professionals need their educational content in 5 to 15 minute bites, with reiteration. They do not do well with the corporate handbook of 350 copied sheets of the Wine Bible mixed with Bacardi's free online literature.


Leveling up is so crucial these days. I am happy that I am building something that will make an impact on the careers of those who chose to spend time on the sight, learning the material.