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Bobby Connors

Contributor Modern Restaurant Management (MRM) Magazine

QSR & Restaurant Employees Need Digital-First Designed Training For Better Retention



The concept of digital-first is permeating every corner of our lives and the food service industry is no exception. Switching to mobile-based training solutions isn’t just a fad. It is a strategic move rooted in both psychology and practicality. For one, some studies confirm that game-based, positive reinforcement can elevate retention rates to staggering numbers. But it’s not just about higher retention—these mobile solutions alleviate a logistical nightmare, for both employers and potential employees.

However, these digital programs aren’t plug-and-play. They require thoughtful investment in quality content and constant calibration to ensure intended outcomes. Most interestingly, the likelihood of potential AI integration may have some impact on digital training modules. This is realm that invites the blend of traditional management wisdom with cutting-edge technology to create something holistically effective. 

Bobby Connors, Contributor at Modern Restaurant Management, had some insights into why some companies are nailing this transformation, which could be invaluable for the industry. Connors has more than a decade of experience managing restaurants and has written about business and marketing.

He detailed how the concept of mobile-based training creates many advantages for trainees, and in turn, their employers. Connors further added that restaurants like Just Salad are exemplifying this, and benefiting greatly. 


Connors’ Thoughts on Digital-First Training

“Digital-first, mobile-based training solutions for food service employees are an excellent option because they meet modern employees where they’re at. They significantly reduce the burden on employees to commute to the office or workplace in order to receive training, and they reduce the amount of time that managers need to spend with every single new hire. In addition to all that, they’re simply more effective. Psychology and neuroscience tell us that positive reinforcement that is delivered in the form of gameplay can increase retention rates up to 90 percent. There are some caveats or some things to keep in mind with mobile-based training, including the fact that it still requires some upfront investment to make sure that you’re creating quality content that can live in the digital space, and it requires continual calibration as you deliver the different training modules to make sure that they’re having the intended impact. Training always needs to be well-branded. 

“Management will always need to make judgment calls in the delivery of training and to assess the progress of employees as they progress through any program. I’m very curious to see the implementation of AI chatbots within mobile-based training solutions to see if that can address the gap that exists with the need for real-time questions that need to be answered as an employee progresses throughout a training module. Just Salad is seeing real results in their training completion rates that are enviable. A 99 percent number is something I think any organization would strive for. And they’ve also seen demonstrable increases in their TooGoodToGo program, which is a really excellent program that focuses on their value of sustainability. Their efficiency in delivering over 400 modules to all of their employees is something that is a huge advantage with mobile-based training solutions that, again, any organization could use. The why behind this is all working for them and the why behind their success is because they’re focusing on the right things. Namely, they are focusing on their values and their culture. Specifically, their value of sustainability shines through with their TooGoodToGo program and their culture of emphasizing customer service is something that is ingrained within this training program. 

“In addition to all that, another reason that they’ve had such success is that they are blending the delivery of training with mobile games, on-the-job instruction, and continual skill assessments through management. So, it’s delivered in multiple ways in multiple phases to make sure that nothing falls through the cracks. I think this is absolutely applicable across the industry because quality always matters with the content that you’re putting out or the training program that you’re delivering, but the need for increased efficiency and efficacy is universal. Lessons that we can take away from the success that JustSalad has had include emphasizing your core values that differentiate your brand throughout any program, including especially the training programs that you’re delivering to your employees, regardless of how they’re delivered.”

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