Training Consultant at Vapiano – What does the job actually entail?
Everybody is familiar with the Vapianist at the cooking station, but there are loads of other exciting people who are worth watching at work. In Part 1 of our series on professions at Vapiano, we introduce Training Consultant Markus Wendling. The 27-year-old from Eppingen, near Heilbronn, has been with Vapiano for 6½ years now. He tells us about his exciting career from Vapianist at the pasta station to trainer at the Bonn head office.
Hi Markus, it’s great that you have time for an interview. You are a Training Consultant at Vapiano – tell us what exactly that means.
A Training Consultant has a lot of different duties. But it mainly involves training – in other words, training employees at our continuing education centre, the V-Academy in Bonn. I am highly specialised in providing technical training to trainers for the Vapianisti in the restaurants. In doing this, I pass on the correct methodology to them and explain, for example, what they need to bear in mind when communicating with employees, or what role body language plays in communication.
Apart from training at the V-Academy, what else do you do?
I share responsibility for our e-learning section – what we call V-Learning. Here, I show our employees how individual dishes are prepared, using online video. A second element of my work is the development and updating of training documentation with which our trainers and new employees are inducted. These also serve as a reference work if an employee has forgotten something – details of the individual stations, for example.
You’ve been working with Vapiano for 6½ years now. What did you do before that?
I’m a trained chef, and I did my training at a hotel in Eppingen. I thought the Vapiano concept was fantastic so after completing my compulsory civilian service in Stuttgart, I simply enquired, and started as a Vapianist at the pasta station in 2009.
How did you progress from there?
Right from the start, I had the need to learn more, and alongside my work on the pasta station, I also acquired the skills for working on the salad station. When a new branch was being opened in Karlsruhe and the pasta trainer fell ill, I was allowed to stand in for him. This wasn’t the only opening, and a short time later, I was also in Freiburg. Then I had my first international opening in Taipeh, where I spent 2½ weeks. From then on, I gave the Training Department more and more support.
The opening in Taipeh must have been particularly interesting…
Definitely! But it was also a small culture shock. I simply hadn’t thought about certain things beforehand – for example, that Asians eat less salt than we do in Europe. That was something I had to get used to.
What duties did you take on when you returned to Germany?
I helped to developed training tours, and then I travelled around Germany and Austria with a team of trainers – the V-Team – in order to pass on Vapianisti insider knowledge – how to prepare pasta or coffee, for example. I travelled a lot, and I was rarely active as a Vapianist in my own Vapiano in Stuttgart. Then I had the opportunity to switch over to the Training Department full-time.
Sounds great! What do you most enjoy about your job?
As a Training Consultant, I can train and develop people who are in the position that I was in over six years ago. It’s a good opportunity to show them where their journey can take them at Vapiano. And, of course, it’s great to track the development of people with whom I’ve been working for years.
You are not only a Training Consultant, but were also named the Vapianist of the Year 2014. When did you hear the good news?
Last year in May at the opening of a new Vapiano in Fürth. I can remember the situation perfectly: I was in the middle of training Vapianisti, and was suddenly interrupted by the director, who gave me the good news. Of course, it was a huge surprise to me – but that made it all the better.
When you’re not working at Vapiano, what do you most enjoy doing in your spare time?
I really enjoy cooking, although not necessarily pasta. Apart from that, I like going to the cinema.
Do you have a favourite Vapiano dish?
I often eat the Pizza Tonno with a little chilli powder when I’m at Vapiano. And the Pasta Pesto Rosso.
Many thanks for talking to us, and giving us this fascinating insight into your work, Markus!