The Top 4 Challenges of Restaurant Training Software in a Digital World
Turnover has always been an issue in the restaurant industry, and continually needing to train new employees can cut into productivity. Consider this statistic: In 2014, 55 percent of restaurant workers who left their jobs had only been employed for a year or less. Think about that for a moment: Turnover, already high, is more prevalent with workers who, relatively, have been barely on the job. All the hours spent training a new hire will be wasted if he or she quits a few months after hire. After time and expense to hire a replacement, the process starts again …
Having an innovative training program is seen as an opportunity to reduce turnover and increase productivity—and rightfully so. Employees who are taught in dynamic ways engage in their jobs quicker and are more committed to success. Alternately, workers who feel bored in their first few minutes of employment are not going to think twice about leaving once something better comes along (or even if it doesn’t). Digital restaurant training offers a proactive way to teach employees the skills they need, but the approach can be challenging for stores trying to piecemeal a solution together.
Here are four of those challenges:
In the last few years, restaurants have turned to the cloud for distributing training content within stores. In theory, this strategy was sound—employees could engage in eLearning, and managers didn’t have to worry about constantly downloading content onto computers and tablets. However, the bandwidth for this training has to come from somewhere, and often, that somewhere was the point of sale system or security system. Any productivity gains from digital restaurant training will be lost if it comes at the expense of other operations. Today’s mobile training solutions ditch streaming and a constant Internet connection in favor of content that resides locally on tablets such as an iPad or Surface. Precious bandwidth is used only when absolutely needed (and content updates automatically), thus helping ensure that other systems are running normally.
2. Easy access to training videos
Restaurant training videos are a powerful tool to teach employees when shoulder-to-shoulder learning isn’t feasible. But as already stated, streaming these videos isn’t always good for operations—and it’s also not great for workers, who might get frustrated with choppy playback and simply give up watching one. Mobile training solutions give employees easy access to training videos so that they can learn primary skills and additional processes without constant supervision or handholding. Employees simply pick up a tablet, click on the app, and watch the video they need—no streaming, no excessive searching, and no hassle.
Digital restaurant training content loses some of its impact if the only computer it can be viewed on is the desktop in the manager’s office (and only accessible when a manager is present …). Mobile training solutions address this problem because tablets can be taken to wherever it is convenient or logical throughout the store. For example, if a training video details food prep, a new hire can take an iPad to the kitchen and watch step-by-step what he or she must do, pausing and rewinding as needed. This portability decreases the time that is wasted simply by waiting for someone to teach a hire something, or by that hire reading a training manual in the back of the store and “hoping” to remember the content once on the floor.
4. Sharing the tribal knowledge
Many restaurant chains prefer standard processes from store to store—after all, customers find comfort in knowing the taco they eat at one location will be just as delicious at another. However, employees are best attuned with what works best with procedures and training; they will provide and improve their own best practices if given the opportunity. Mobile software offers this opportunity. Consider a complicated new menu item that every restaurant location must learn to prepare. If the cooks at a store discover how to streamline prep time, they can take a video and share this tribal knowledge throughout the company. Entire restaurant training libraries can be created this way, thus providing information to workers who want to thrive at their jobs.
What challenges have you encountered with digital restaurant training?