How to Evaluate a Restaurant Training Program
The restaurant industry is expected to provide 14 million jobs in 2015. That’s an impressive number, but it is fraught with turnover, meaning well more than 14 million people will be filling those 14 million jobs. A recent analysis discovered that the rate of turnover in the industry was nearly 120 percent for fast food restaurants in 2014, representing a 21 percent increase since 2011. Turnover at fast casual/family restaurants is up 10 percent up over 2011 (and above 100 percent overall), and is up 13 percent at both casual and upscale restaurants.
With turnover so high, a restaurant training program must be impactful, not only to get as much productivity out of employees before they decide to quit, but also to help workers engage in their jobs so they might be less likely to leave in the first place. Companies considering revamping their training strategies must be diligent in selecting the right approach, especially if they are turning to new technologies to teach workers the skills they need. Here are some questions to ask when evaluating restaurant training programs:
Is the Training Solution Mobile?
The action in a restaurant is in the kitchen, at the registers, and in the dining room. Therefore, restaurant training programs that relegate employees to learn new skills while sitting in the back of house make no sense. Mobility is an important characteristic of learning technology that is emerging. Consider tablets, such as iPad or Surface. The devices are small, simple to use, and can easily be brought into the kitchen. Employees learn in the places they will be applying those skills. The impact is immediate, and the training is hands on.
Does the Restaurant Training Program Support Video?
Printed training manuals are quickly becoming a training method of the past. Even diagrammed content that offers step-by-step instructions on how to prepare a menu item pales in comparison to the power of video. Restaurant training programs that incorporate video and distribute it via tablets will provide a boost to the speed of learning and subsequent productivity. For example, say a cook is learning how to make a new dish. He or she can watch a video, on the tablet, in the kitchen, and prepare the item while following along, pausing and rewinding as needed to ensure it’s being done correctly. Other types of training approaches don’t carry this sort of immediacy or effectiveness.
Can Training Materials Be Accessed Offline?
Video and other content on tablets is wonderful, but it won’t be of much help if it can’t be easily accessed. A constant WiFi connection would seem to be the answer, but if employees are streaming videos and downloading big files, they are deeply cutting into the bandwidth that restaurants need for other functions such as operating the registers, online orders, and customer Internet access. The best solutions allow for an online connection to be used only when necessary. Content is automatically downloaded to tablets when it is sent from corporate or other sources. Furthermore, automatic video compression optimized for the iPad or tablet will save space, and also delivered to the devices much more quickly.
Will Restaurant Employees Be Enthusiastic?
Restaurant training programs won’t mean a thing if employees don’t respond to the process. And with some methods, workers simply aren’t buying in. With tablet-based solutions, employees get the chance to learn skills on technology they are already familiar with and enjoy. Training becomes less of a hassle and more of an interesting part of their jobs. When employees are interested and engaged, they are less likely to leave, thus boosting productivity and a company’s bottom line.
What do you think are essential considerations when evaluating a restaurant training program?