Blog: QSRs as eLearning pioneers

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Bob Duprey, founder of Restaurant Playbooks, looks at how quick service restaurants (QSRs) changed the training game. Why? Because they had clear business targets

Over the last 20 years developing custom eLearning solutions for Fortune 500 companies across all industries, I have been privileged to work with some of the largest quick service restaurant (QSR) organisations.

For the past 15 years, many of the largest QSRs have implemented very sophisticated 3D game and simulation environments to on board employees and significantly reduce time to competence.

Here’s a few examples of the results I have seen QSRs achieve:

  • 43% reduction in service complaints
  • 12% increase in revenues per store
  • Reduction in time to proficiency from eight to three days
  • Reduced turnover rate from 204% to 73%
  • Savings of over $3 million in paper/printing costs

How did they achieve these results?

Firstly, they had clear business targets to address and measure. For one client, the aim was to reduce turnover and improve time to competence. This client had calculated that the turnover cost per employee was $3,300. They had also determined that by using traditional training methods (standard operating procedure (SOP) manuals and on the job training), it took eight shifts before the new hire could perform their job without manager supervision. The client invested in game based online learning which included super realistic 3D environments. The online learning had 3D models of the equipment and work environment. The new employee would have to virtually serve customers, which included interacting with the virtual equipment, pressing buttons and doing everything they would do in the real world.

By creating these realistic virtual environments, new employees quickly gained knowledge and experience, while building their confidence and accuracy. All of this was done in a safe learning environment, where the customer experience wasn’t negatively affected.

The client found that as new employees quickly became confident and competent, they were less likely to quit. This was a valuable lesson learned. How often are employees hired and quickly thrown into a sink or swim environment, only to be ‘coached’ when they are doing something wrong?  Guests should not be subjected to staff that haven’t been provided the opportunity to develop the knowledge and confidence to take care of guests properly.

Evolving technology

The early QSR pioneers that truly leveraged the power of online learning and gamification have experienced quantifiable returns on their investments. Advances in technology, both hardware and software, along with connectivity, is great news for every restaurant operator. They now have an opportunity to utilise powerful and highly effective online learning technologies at a fraction of the time and costs incurred by those pioneering QSRs just 5-10 years ago.

We are all evolving in our relationship with technology, and how it affects everything we do. We can either deny or embrace this reality, and that is a personal choice. But we can’t deny the power of the devices we use everyday, the amount of information available to us, and that the ability to access this information is at our fingertips 24/7.

There is a great opportunity to harness this power and deliver training to frontline staff in a way that they already use their devices outside of work. The genie is out of the bottle. If you are looking at eLearning options, mobile delivery should be high on your list of must haves.

Further details:

Please feel free to contact Bob Duprey for a free guide to assessing off the shelf eLearning courses:

Restaurant Playbooks offers both custom eLearning and off the shelf solutions for the hospitality industry:

Bob Duprey