Teach your staff how to use your dispensary POS software with automated curriculum around point of sale, e-commerce, inventory and more

Are you properly training budtenders to set them up for long-term success? Are you set up to repeat this process consistently?

A 2020 survey by Indeed revealed that 39% of people who quit their jobs within 6 months of being hired reported that better training would have kept them in the role longer.

In this guide, we'll delve into the step-by-step process of training budtenders effectively, ensuring they possess the knowledge, skills, and mindset required to thrive in their role and contribute to the long-term success of your dispensary. Let's explore how to cultivate a team of knowledgeable and customer-focused professionals who can elevate the dispensary experience for every client.

Budtender training manual

Why is proper training important?

If you fail to take the time to properly train your new staff, they will become frustrated, confused, and will make costly mistakes. Your dispensary will become vulnerable to theft, increased inventory shrinkage, and you will experience more staff turnover. In the worst-case scenarios, your customers will feel this too. They will experience longer than usual wait times due to slow processes or they will suffer from errors made, such as purchasing the wrong product or being charged an incorrect total at the point of sale. To avoid this, take the necessary time required to properly train your staff. It will benefit you in the long run!

Begin with the basics

Understanding the role

Before diving into the specifics, it's crucial that both you and your new staff understand the importance of the budtender's role within the dispensary. Budtenders are not only salespeople; they are frontline representatives of your brand and educators of your customers. They should have a beginning understanding of cannabis products and their effects, or at least be willing to learn on the job. They should be able to provide personalized recommendations to clients based on their needs and preferences. If your dispensary requires other responsibilities, be sure to communicate that effectively to your new staff member.

Identify their Learning Style

It's important to note that not all employees retain information the same way.

According to Business News Daily, there are three learning styles that you'll want to keep in mind as you prepare to onboard new dispensary staff:

  1. Visual. Some staff learn processes by watching and observing tasks.
  2. Hands-on. Other new hires may benefit from a hands-on approach and benefit from opportunities to practice executing tasks themselves.
  3. Reading. Other employees may prefer to read instructions in their early days on the job.

Identify what type of learner your new budtender is, and tailor your training plan to accommodate their preferred learning style.

Budtender Training 101

Topics to cover: Budtender Training 101

General Product Knowledge

The cornerstone of any effective budtender training program is product knowledge. The role of a budtender at a dispensary is typically entry-level, so they do not need to be cannabis experts immediately. Of course, experience is preferred, but a basic level of product knowledge should include:

  1. Strain dominances & their corresponding effects (Indica, Sativa, Hybrid, CBD)
  2. Consumption methods & their duration (Smoking, vaping, consuming edibles)
  3. Cannabis terminology & product categories

The standard level of knowledge required could differ from store to store, but before starting their first shift, a budtender should be capable of speaking to a customer about smoking weed. There are countless resources online for them to study; otherwise, a great way to begin is by exploring products on their own. Ask them to shop around the retail floor and read product packaging. Have them record any questions they have and take the time to respond to them.

Customer Service Skills

Exceptional customer service is what sets apart a good dispensary from a great one. Train your budtenders to actively listen to customers, ask curated questions to understand their needs, and provide informed recommendations based on their preferences. Emphasize the importance of professionalism, empathy, and discretion in every interaction. A great way to begin is by having them shadow your top sellers and best dispensary employees.

Budtender Training Guide

Basic Point of Sale Software Understanding

Before their first shift, new budtenders should complete any training courses that your point of sale system provides to have a general understanding of the system before they step out onto the retail floor. If your point of sale system does not offer this type of support, you might waste time and overhead especially depending on their learning style.

With Meadow Mastery, a library of free cannabis retail courses from Meadow, it's never been easier to train new hires, level up your team, and master all of the connected cannabis retail tools that Meadow offers.

Begin with the introductory courses:

  • Getting Started: A general overview for anyone using Meadow.
  • Point of Sale: How to use the POS app to attach customers, create/edit orders and check-out.
  • Check-In: How to use the intake app to check in new and returning customers and medical patients.

Once complete, your new budtender should test a few transactions under the supervision of a trainer. Begin with completing a sale, processing payments, and review any imperative security measures that are important to be aware of during each transaction.

Include training on point of sale hardware; resetting bluetooth scanners, connecting receipt printers, and more.

Compliance and Regulations

Compliance is paramount for every cannabis business. Ensure that your budtenders have a basic understanding of regulations regarding the sale of cannabis products. This includes age restrictions, daily purchase limits, packaging requirements, and any other store policies your dispensary must adhere to. With Meadow, your staff has access to our help center which outlines regulations in easy to read articles that could be printed or accessed from any device for future reference.

Cannabis Software System Training Programs

Advancing the Role: Turn your green employee into a successful budtender!

Continuing Education

The cannabis industry is constantly evolving, with new products, research findings, and regulations emerging regularly. Establish a culture of continuous learning within your dispensary by providing ongoing education opportunities for your budtenders.

Employees value opportunities for growth and development in their careers. Continuing education programs provide avenues for individuals to acquire new skills, expand their knowledge, and stay updated on industry trends. When employees feel that their professional development is supported and encouraged by their employer, they are more likely to feel satisfied and fulfilled in their roles, leading to higher retention rates.

Expanding Product Knowledge

This aspect of training goes beyond basic familiarity with cannabis products and delves into the nuances of different strains, their chemical compositions, and how they affect the human body. Whether it's the calming and sedative properties of indica strains, the energizing effects of sativas, or the balanced blend of both in hybrids, budtenders should be able to explain these distinctions to customers. They should understand the role of cannabinoids such as THCV, CBN, CBG, and others in producing specific effects, whether it's pain relief, relaxation, or mood enhancement.

Additionally, budtenders should be familiar with the varying potency levels of different products to guide customers in selecting the appropriate options based on their tolerance and preferences. Empowered with this expertise, budtenders can confidently navigate customer inquiries, make personalized recommendations, and contribute to the overall success of the dispensary.

Sales Techniques

While the primary goal is to provide excellent customer service, budtenders should also be proficient in sales techniques to maximize revenue for the dispensary. This includes upselling complementary products, introducing new offerings, and effectively communicating the value proposition of premium items. However, it's crucial to strike a balance between salesmanship and genuine care for the customer's well-being.

Cannabis Dispensary Point of Sale Budtender Training Tips

Advanced Understanding of your POS Software & Cross Training

Continue with Meadow Mastery on all levels to effectively cross train this new budtender. This keeps them entertained and excited to learn, while also expanding your scheduling options for other roles. Take interest in what they're interested in learning about. Give them the tools they need to succeed and advance in their role.

  • Inventory: How to adjust, track, and conduct cycle counts.
  • Products and Purchasing: How to create products, purchase orders, work with Metrc and more.
  • E-Commerce: How to sell online with live menus for pick-up and delivery.
  • Loyalty: How to reward your best customers and keep them coming back with customized loyalty programs.
  • Shifts and Drawers: How to open, close, and customize shifts and adjust drawers.

These video lessons are designed to make it easy to quickly train both front of house staff as well as new managers.

Ensure you have a complete process for onboarding new dispensary staff

Your budtender training program & onboarding process should be well documented and easy to repeat.

Create your training materials

Typically a dispensary manager offers an onboarding packet that includes important details that the new hire can reference on their first day and continuously thereafter.

  1. Create a personalized document that includes the job description & specific responsibilities related to their role.
  2. Create and offer a copy of your standard shop training manual for their future reference. This should include an overview of your shop's mission and values.
  3. Clearly communicate store policies that they are required to know.
  4. Offer a copy of your standard operating procedures related to budtending. If they're shared, make sure your staff is aware of where they are located.
  5. Publish their schedule and slowly conclude training sessions.

Depending on your operations, it's standard for a budtender to receive 2-4 training shifts with supervision from a designated trainer before going solo. Typically trainers are managers or shift leaders who can dedicate their time to properly training your new staff.

Complete and file their official paperwork

  1. File their completed tax documents (I-9)
  2. Make copies of their credentials (License, SSN)
  3. File their completed schedule availability sheet and adhere to it
  4. Onboard them into your tech stack (Company email, Slack, Asana, etc)
  5. Require their signature on SOPs and other required documents related to their training materials
  6. Enroll them in your Time Clock (Clock-in and Clock-out) software
  7. Assign them their designated personal space or locker assignment
  8. Issue Employee Identification Card or Badge

Budtender Training on your Cannabis Dispensary Point of Sale

Here are a few additional key questions you'll want to ensure you have answers for to make it easy to ensure your team is set-up for success:
  • Have we defined our company mission and values, and in what way do we ensure new staff embody these guiding principles when interfacing with eachother and with customers?
  • How do we ensure front of house staff know the products on our shelves and can help gently guide customers and recommend the right products?
  • Have we trained budtenders and customer-facing staff to follow sales best practices?

With proper training and onboarding, it's easy to build a culture where your whole team is empowered and educated.

Learn more about how Meadow's award-winning cannabis retail software can help your whole team work smarter.

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An iPad running Meadow's Point of Sale system