While the main job of a budtender is to dispense marijuana, they also have to be able to educate and delight customers. The tips below will help you manage your budtender staff more efficiently so that your employees become another reason that customers keep coming back.
1. Educate & Empower
As most marijuana retailers already do, management staff should aim to educate budtenders on all products available. Your budtenders should know what each strain’s effects are, what they treat, how they taste, where they came from, what the harvest date was, and any other pertinent information regarding the marijuana product. Those coming into the marijuana retail store are likely going to ask questions and the budtenders need to have an understanding of what you’re selling in the store.
If you were buying a car, how would your shopping experience be if the salesperson knew nothing about the type of car you wanted?
Consider a daily briefing before each shift. All budtenders should be required to review new strain additions and new products, along with refreshing their minds on the products already existing on the menu.
Tip for aspiring budtenders: Attend budtender education courses. Be selective with the program to ensure that it is an accredited source. You should take more than just a simple marijuana education class. A simple “marijuana 101” type course will not prepare you for advancement beyond budtender in the marijuana industry.
Now, as a manager, it is important to enforce this. If one budtender is given a free pass, simply because you are short staffed, all budtenders are going to expect that free pass. Consider appointing a lead budtender for each shift. This lead budtender can help new staff and answer questions immediately if information is forgotten.
Extra Tip: If you are having trouble managing budtenders in terms of education, it may be ideal to create a company game and use associations and memory functions to remember product information.
Educating your budtenders will equip and empower them with the knowledge they need to delight customers.
2. Be Present
As a manager, simply being present in the store or on the floor can help you better manage your budtenders. Being present doesn’t mean you have to “micro manage”. You can be there for back if your budtenders need help or have questions of their own.
Your marijuana retail store should also have proper video surveillance, which should be reviewed to ensure that your budtenders are completing transactions properly. Watching the recorded activities of the day also helps you see how your budtenders interact with the clientele.
When you are present on the floor, you’ll also be able to see which members of your staff are less comfortable working directly with customers. You will notice right away if a customer walks out the door with something that wasn’t rung up, and you’ll see which budtenders are developing caring friendships with repeat customers.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to always be on the floor or watching your budtenders like hawks, but you should be aware of what’s happening in your marijuana retail store at all times. Having a physical presence on the floor will also help you see when a budtender might need a break. Dealing with customers all day, and some not in the best of moods, can be stressful. Stress can spill off onto other patients or customers, creating negative experiences.
Extra Tip: Have a motto or mission statement that all employees can adhere to. Creating a specific company culture is especially important, which is why selecting budtenders who fit your company culture is a good place to start.
3. Teach Best Practices
Ensuring that your staff doesn’t pick up any bad budtender habits, like working too ‘medicated’ as an example, is also part of the job of managing budtenders.
Part of learning how to manage budtenders is also learning how to enforce company and industry policy. A private conversation is ideal, especially when personal hygiene such as dirty uniforms, an unkempt look, or body odor are an issue.
4. Create Teams
Putting together budtender shift teams that work well together can help create a positive experience in the store. You will have less trouble managing budtenders when the members of a shift group get along well and complement each other in terms of personality and knowledge. Once you see how groups work together, pick out a couple to consider for shift leader positions.
5. Develop a Standardized Training Program
Most marijuana retailers have multiple members of management. All members of management must be on the same page when it comes to regulations, company rules, and marijuana retail best practices. It’s up to all employees to make sure that state and local laws are upheld.
Determine a proper or best practices program that includes a shadowing phase. Shadowing top budtenders or budtender managers will help new hires understand the company’s approach to serving customers.
Summing it up
Managing budtenders starts with hiring the right budtenders for your patient/consumer base. If applicable, double check all certifications and ensure that the background check results are acceptable.
One of the most important aspects of management is to earn the respect of those working under your direction. Without that, you will have trouble managing budtenders since they’ll find it difficult to take your direction seriously.
Have fun while ensuring that all guidelines are followed at all times – because the industry itself is fun so your staff should enjoy coming to work every day.
Link – Green Bits