Is eLearning On Your Restaurant's Training Menu?
Increasingly intense competition, high customer expectations and retaining quality employees are challenges almost every restaurateur faces. One of the best ways to address these challenges is through consistent delivery and assessment of an employee training program.
Unfortunately, time and scheduling constraints and high employee turnover all present challenges and obstacles to delivering training effectively and consistently.
What about interactive training using a computer (eLearning)?
Using a computer to deliver training is obviously not a new concept, and there have been many ways to describe it in recent years...
- online learning
- distance learning
- technology-based training
- web-based training
- computer-based training (generally thought of as learning from a CD-ROM)
"eLearning is essentially the computer-enabled transfer of skills and knowledge. Content is delivered via the internet, intranet/extranet, or standalone computer." (source wikipedia)
But the restaurant business is all about people, not technology- right?
Whilst there are increasing numbers of success stories, eLearning has yet to catch on in the Restaurant Industry to the extent it has in other sectors like Finance and IT. One argument is that the restaurant business is a people business. Very true, but a large percentage of ‘people’ that make up your restaurant staff belong to the ‘Nintendo Generation’. They do not want to learn from an authority figure standing in front of them. They are comfortable in front of a PC, and want to explore and progress at their own pace. They want to do this at a time that suits them, in an environment they are comfortable with. This is a tough audience to capture, and the training experience has to be engaging, fast, colorful, player driven, challenging and fun.
Another argument is that you can’t use a computer to teach 'people skills', it must be experienced firsthand. Well that is also true, to a point. eLearning should never totally replace practical live training experience, especially for customer facing roles. But a well written eLearning course can deliver the theory behind your service philosophy along with procedure and policy in an interesting and engaging format. This approach is ideal for ensuring a base level of understanding for a group of employees with varying knowledge and skill levels, before they interact with your customers or a live training event. One example is to deliver a customer care and service policy orientation via eLearning, then practice what is learned with a group in a live role play session.
See Part 2 - The Benefits of eLearning for Restaurant Training
Robert Duprey started working in restaurants as a busboy at 15 years old. He has over 22 years management and training experience in the Restaurant and Hotel industry.
Robert began working in the UK in 1991 as a training consultant. He has been a featured writer in a number of UK trade publications, including Caterer & Hotelkeeper, Restaurant Business and Scottish Caterer.
Robert worked five years for KnowledgePool UK, one of the UK's largest training providers. He left his position as Managing Director and started Lexington Interactive to provide eLearning courses specifically for the Restaurant & Hotel Industry. The company is developing a catalog of interactive hotel and restaurant training courses and support materials for eLearning and blended learning delivery.