Restaurant Staff Training: The Move to Mobile Is Here

By: Ryan Addison on February 11, 2016

Restaurant Staff Training: The Move to Mobile Is Here

The turnover rate for restaurants is still incredibly high—at 66.3 percent in 2014, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Though that number is not quite as crazy before the recession (in 2007, it was a whopping 80.7 percent), it still far outpaces the overall turnover rate in the private sector, which was 44.4 percent in 2014. This isn’t necessarily news for restaurants, but it underscores the importance doing everything possible to train workers efficiently and expertly so they don’t leave so quickly and do maximize their productivity while on your payroll.

Restaurant staff training is entering a new era. The methods that barely “worked” for decades are even less effective in today’s business environment and, especially, with today’s workforce. Mobility is ushering in a dynamic change in how employees, whether they are new hires or longtime workers, learn their jobs. With turnover so high, restaurants must innovate or face reduced profits simply because they are continually spending time and resources teaching new employees. Here are some reasons the move to mobile is here and now for restaurant staff training:

Paper in the Past

Printed learning materials are the fallback for restaurant staff training efforts, and saying the results have been mixed is overstating their success. Often, printed content is rarely updated; plus, it’s ignored by millennial workers accustomed to digital media and who are likely to shun anything that feels like “studying.” Going mobile can take paper completely out of the training equation. Workers consume content—especially video—on tablets and, as a result, learn better, engage faster, and are more productive. With printed content, the chance of that occurring is a tossup … at best.

Convenience with Mobile

Restaurant staff training with tablets brings a measure of convenience previously unimaginable with traditional learning methods. Some computer-based training systems are limited to a PC in the manager’s office, but an iPad or Surface can be taken anywhere in the restaurant so that employees can learn at the spots they will be performing the tasks being taught. The best mobile training solutions also are easy to use, thus inspiring employees to easily find the content they need on their own.

No Bandwidth Worries

A common complaint against restaurant staff training on mobile devices is that connected tablets streaming video places too much of a strain a store’s bandwidth, which must also accommodate the registers, the ordering systems, security cameras, and customer Wi-Fi. This is a legitimate concern—after all, if customers are left waiting because payment takes a minute to complete after their cards are swiped through, they may come away with a negative impression, no matter how good the food is. However, with the best mobile training solutions, bandwidth is not an issue because every piece of content resides locally on the tablet. Video files are compressed to a fraction of their original size, then pushed through (or pulled back) automatically at off-peak times—even when the tablet is asleep.

Training for Every Occasion

A typical restaurant might have instructions and procedures for at least a couple hundred (or more) processes. In the past, the sheer number of these processes might have prevented companies from producing videos for each. With a mobile solution, however, restaurant staff training can include video content for every aspect of operations. Moreover, through tablet technology, employees can shoot this video themselves and share it throughout the company—in a sense, they are creating their own best practices. Access to the content is simplified as well, so if a worker wants to know how to use the deep fryer, he or she can take the initiative and easily find a video describing the process on a store-provided iPad or Surface.

How much training do your employees seek out on their own?

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