Powerful Ways Restaurants Benefit from eLearning Technology

Effective training via technology can lead to lower turnover, higher employee morale and increased sales.

The restaurant industry has typically been a high-turnover business, with Bureau of Labor Statistics figures indicating a typical restaurant will lose seven out of every 10 employees over the course of a year.

Turnover is likely to always be a challenge for the restaurant industry. Workers tend to be young, and for some it’s their entry into the workforce. Many are students or those using a restaurant job to supplement their main source of income. As a result, restaurant operators are continually hiring new employees.

Still, there are steps an operator can take to minimize turnover. That journey begins with effective training and continues with ongoing communication and assessments that help drive employee engagement. Providing workers with the support they need makes for higher morale, improved job satisfaction and ultimately, revenue increases that allow operators to provide more opportunities and better pay.

Often, the ticket to that journey is learning technology that communicates with workers in a way they understand: via digital devices. Today’s digital natives; those people who have grown up with computers, tablets and smartphones, are the same people who will make up the bulk of the restaurant work force, now and in the future.

E-learning, or training programs that leverage digital devices to educate workers, offer a number of valuable benefits for restaurant operators. According to e-learningindustry.com, those include:

Training consistency across locations

One of the main reasons for the success of major restaurant companies such as McDonald’s is consistency. A Big Mac is a Big Mac, whether the restaurant is located in Portland, Maine, Portland, Ore., or anywhere in between. And there’s a pretty good chance that employees in every one of those restaurants has been trained to ask customers something along the lines of “would you like fries with that?” An e-learning platform allows operators to manage training materials from a central location, ensuring employees throughout the system receive the same information.

A reduction in training costs

Because training with an e-learning platform can be conducted from anywhere and at an employee’s own pace, operators save the cost of printing training materials (and reprinting those materials in the event of an update) as well as the expense of a dedicated trainer to deliver the same information over and over.

INCITE 5.0, for example, is the latest version of the mobile Associate Communications Platform developed by technology firm Multimedia Plus. INCITE replaces expensive printed training materials, instead helping restaurant operators train employees and deliver important communication via interactive, in-store mobile devices.

Features of the INCITE platform include:
• Video without streaming
• Drag and drop publishing
• Branded experiences
• Quick and easy deployment
• Security and scalability
The INCITE platform delivers training in bite-sized chunks, in the same way digital natives have become accustomed to consuming information.

Built-in reporting capabilities

The old adage “you can’t manage what you can’t measure” is particularly true in the restaurant industry. Often, multiunit supervisors can be responsible for hundreds of employees across multiple locations. Without the right tools, tracking the training progress of those employees can be a nightmare.

In addition to providing a consistent training experience across an entire organization, the INCITE platform provides managers and executives with access to data-rich metrics including progress completing training materials and scores achieved on certifications. They can then measure that data against key performance indicators throughout the organization, ranging from individual employees to the entire system. If an employee didn’t perform well on a training module, they can review it and retake the assessment. The platform can track completion dates for courses and prompt employees and managers when training deadlines are near.

Boosting the bottom line

The benefits of utilizing an e-learning platform in the restaurant industry don’t stop there. Hiring and training is an ongoing process, and e-learning can make that process smoother. For a small operation, an e-learning platform and be an effective substitute for a dedicated training department, while for a large one it can make it easier to manage training across dozens, hundreds or even thousands of locations.

And while there will always be a need for live, face-to-face training, there are all sorts of situations where e-learning can be an effective teaching method.

Incorporating e-learning into a restaurant training program can lead to more consistent operations, lower costs, increased customer satisfaction and higher staff morale. Those are welcome additions to any restaurant’s menu.