TripAdvisor made its debut in February of 2,000 with Yelp and Facebook following in its wake four years later. From that point forward, the face and form of the restaurant industry changed for good. For those of you who were in the business before the advent of online reviews and social media, you remember when “soft openings” were the norm. These quiet openings allowed owners, staff and managers to work out the kinks, develop the menu, get the timing right between the back and front of the house, and spend the first few weeks in a training period.
For you restaurateurs who have recently entered the fray, this scenario probably sounds like a dream, or a nightmare, depending on your personal experience. In today’s world of Instagram, Twitter and Instant Messaging, pre-opening buzz can lead to a packed house on opening night from which first impressions are formed. When Hapa Ramen opened in San Francisco amidst social media hype, a technical glitch left then unprepared for the crowd of customers at their restaurant and many left unfed.
Fast forward to the openings of today in which restaurants must be at the top of their game from day one, and employees need to be trained before the doors open. How are restaurants achieving this? One valuable tool is e-learning.
Turnover Rates and E-Learning
The turnover rate in the restaurant industry is one of the biggest issues owners face. While the second quarter of 2017 saw the turnover rates starting to level off, the third quarter found them once again on the rise. By August, limited-service brands witnessed an almost 150 percent turnover rate for hourly employees, and a near 50 percent for managers. Full-service fared a little better with percentage rates coming in at just a little over 100 percent and 40 percent respectively.
According to Modern Restaurant Management, restaurants are losing approximately $150,000 per year due to employee turnover.
So, just how do you establish a consistent training protocol when your staff is in a constant state of flux? And, how do you do it without costing you your valuable manager’s time? Enter the world of e-learning. Currently, more than 75 percent of hospitality companies use this form of training.
And if you have more than one location, an online learning platform allows you to create consistency and standardized training at all units, allowing your customers to encounter the same great experience across your brand.
How Does E-Learning for Restaurants Work?
There are many companies offering e-learning programs specifically for the restaurant industry. Fortunately, these programs have changed dramatically from the static online courses that required reading paragraph after paragraph before taking the end of the chapter test. Today’s online learning consists of interactive videos and gamification that makes learning fun and engaging.
Studies show that training time using this method can be reduced 25 to 60 percent compared to traditional training methods. And, as we know in the industry, time is money. When McDonald’s implemented Business Controls ELearning, they saved close to $7 million in 2 years and saw a 10 percent growth in sales.
Besides time and money, the benefits include the following:
- Easy access for employees across multiple devices.
- Ability to pick-up where they left off at a convenient time.
- Understand their knowledge base and repeat sections that they need additional training on.
- Engaging opportunities to test their skillset.
If you don’t already have an eLearning training program for your restaurant, it is time to look into taking the plunge.