Training Your Food Trailer’s Staff to “Go Green”

January 30, 2013

Outfitting your food trailer to be environmentally friendly is only the first step to creating a sustainable vehicle. Just as with any attempt at positive reform, retrofitting your mobile food stand to be green is only effective if you and your staff adopt and use the products correctly. And of course, the process is most valuable if the entire staff backs it – making the transition easier and more successful.

Your goal, as the food trailer owner, is to make “going green” and supporting processes to seem like second nature. This can be accomplished through education and training. To start, begin by gathering the entire staff. Communication is the most effective tool for the adoption of green practices, so first meet with the staff to discuss the transitions that will be taking place. This training should be mandatory for all members of the team, even if they join after the changes take place. Teaching your staff the “whys” of what you’re doing will help them more readily accept the green movement.

Telling your staff why is not enough, though. You must also provide personal incentives for the staff. Each member should be compensated during meetings and trainings on going green. After all, your food truck business will be saving money by undertaking these initiatives – and you’ll therefore have extra cash to share with employees. Furthermore, make the initial and all subsequent meetings interactive. If you bore your staff, they’ll be less likely to retain the information you’re sharing with them. Make the meetings fun, enjoyable and lively.

Next, educate your staff. Your staff may understand the financial benefits of your choices, but they’ll be more likely to partake in the activities if they understand the holistic effects of your food trailer’s sustainable measures. In terms they’ll understand, teach your employees how each modification in behavior will affect the environment. You can also use visuals, hands-on-learning techniques, and group activities to make the training sessions more engaging.

Once your mobile food stand’s staff is properly educated, you should assign responsibilities to each of the members for each shift. Since your kitchen and service window will be fast-paced during your operating hours, you’ll need to separate responsibilities to create problem-free shifts, in which the expectations of each employee are clear. You may also consider creating a “Green Team,” a group of internal employees, to educate new employees, monitor behaviors and reduce environmental impacts in all possible ways.

Lastly, if you really want the transition to take off and stick, ensure that the staff of your food trailer is adequately rewarded for its behaviors. The most effective way to make changes permanent is to support positive performances through rewards and personal attention. If you see an employee participating in a positive way, go out of your way to say “Thank you.” You may also consider offering the employee free perks, such as a snack/meal between or after the noteworthy shift.