Working in Hospitality: Product Knowledge

Certificate II in Hospitality – dealing with conflict at work or at schoolOne of the first things you will learn when undertaking a school-based traineeship in hospitality is that you must be able to describe foods and beverages on the menu in ways that make them sound appetising and attractive, and must give customers accurate information in response to any questions or queries.

Your food and beverage knowledge should be constantly updated. Product and service information can be obtained through many avenues:

  • From the product itself – by looking at and tasting or using the product you sell, you will be able to develop firsthand knowledge of the quality, value and characteristics of the product

  • Seeking information from chefs, cooks and other food service personal

  • By acknowledging customer feedback

  • Food and beverage reference books

  • Recipes and menus

  • Seek information and/or demonstrations from the supplier

  • Supplier or manufacturer presentations can be organised; particularly in the case where a new or significantly different product has been introduced into your sales range

  • Attend trade fairs and exhibitions

  • Local growers and producers

  • Packaging and product labels

  • The internet

Information sharing is one of the best ways to continually develop your product knowledge and to assist other staff members in developing their product knowledge.  The release of new product and service lines occurs on an almost daily basis. It is essential that you maintain your product knowledge at a very high level if you are to truly be an effective staff member.

To keep up-to-date, it is important to have the most recent and relevant information in relation to what is happening in your venue – changing trends, new techniques, technologies and seasonal produce.

Keeping up-to-date with your local specialities and offerings is extremely important, as customers come to a region or city to experience the food, service and wines indicative of your area. These specialised offerings offer a point of difference for the region, but can also mean that your establishment offers something that nobody else is and you can entice customers to come to your workplace for many return visits.

Expand your local knowledge by knowing the food and beverage items specific to your local area. A great way to do this would be taking the opportunity to attend your local food and beverage festivals.

When working in the hospitality industry knowing the specialities of your area is fantastic; you need to be aware that it is even more important to know what your establishment has to offer. If you do not know the wine list, menu or specials of the day, your customers will not be impressed and may order less. Know the basic menu styles, food and beverage items, and how to serve them appropriately.