How to Measure the ROI of Your Modern Restaurant Learning Program

By: Bob Paulsen on August 29, 2017


The value of a modern restaurant learning program should be apparent, but if your restaurant is budget-conscious or is publicly traded, you may need to provide more solid proof of training’s efficacy. Since training is frequently seen by finance and the home office as a cost center, you can mitigate that view by proactively providing information on the ROI Return On Investment.

First, you’ll want to define what metrics you want to measure, and then define how training will help. For instance, if your customers are sending back orders to the kitchen 20% of the time for incorrect orders, implement a training program designed to increase attention to detail and reduce returns by 50% over 6 months. If your statistics are too general or don’t have a time limit, you won’t be able to measure effectively.

Next, calculate the current cost of the behavior you’re trying to change or correct. In the previous example, you may determine that 20% of plates returned results in a cost to the company of $1000/month. You will also want to work out the cost of training for the employee group you’re targeting - in this case, the line chefs. With a modern eLearning system in place that provides performance support on the line while employees are working or that they can review at the start of their shift, we will keep the numbers simple and put the cost at $5/employee for 10 employees for the month, for a total cost of $50/month in training.

Over the 6 month period you can measure the reduction in returned plates, enabling you to measure training effectiveness over time. For instance, if you achieve the 50% reduction in returns in only 3 months, you may be able to see similar rates at other locations which will increase ROI exponentially. Modern learning systems also track individual employee performance which lets managers see if there are issues with a specific staff member or group which then allows for direct action, whether that be additional training or possibly personnel changes.

To calculate the ROI per employee, we will stick with our original numbers and timeline. At the end of 6 months, we’ll assume we’ve seen returns reduced by 50%, resulting in a cost savings of $500/month. Total training costs for 6 months amounts to $350 (10 x 5 x 6) Total ROI for 10 employees comes to $150 ($500-$350=$150), or $15/employee ($150/10 employees). Depending on the size of your restaurant operation, this could be a significant savings!

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