Restaurants were relatively slow to adopt online learning. The logistics took some time to overcome, but now most restaurant have found that the benefits of training online outweigh the challenges. Like many companies in the service industry, restaurants have discovered that online learning, compared to leader-led training, is easier to implement with hourly employees and more cost-effective. With high turnover in the restaurant industry, online training courses can get new employees up to speed quickly while providing a consistent message. Operational risks from compliance and human relations issues also make real-time tracking and knowledge assessment very appealing.
What Does Online Learning Really Cost?
The short answer to this question is, it depends. There are many different ways restaurants can implement an online training program. The lowest cost option is to pay a relatively small amount per trainee to cover specific training topics. A restaurant couldn’t cost-effectively meet all their training goals with this option, but it does work well when a restaurant needs to address an immediate problem, such as with anti-harassment training. On the other end of the cost spectrum, larger multi-unit restaurant operations may invest in online training authoring tools and create their own courses. The best online learning option for most restaurants falls somewhere in the middle. Many operators subscribe to a learning management system that already has restaurant-specific training courses and allows for some degree of customization.
How is Online Learning ROI Determined?
Once you choose your online training solution, it’s easy to figure out your investment: simply take the cost of the program plus the staffing required to administer it and what you pay employees to complete it. Determining your return on that investment can be a bit more challenging. You have to consider how online training impacts your business on multiple levels, from the trainees to the managers to the corporate office. Look at how sales and service training increases check averages. Then, consider how online training mitigates other costs, such as the cost of losing guests, regulatory fines from a lack of compliance, and problems in the kitchen. The ROI of online training for restaurants isn’t always to a direct line from your investment to improvements in your bottom line, but over time, a well-trained staff pays for itself.
It’s Not Just Us…
“Online learning is not the next big thing, it is the now big thing.” This quote from Donna Abernathy, former editor of Training + Development Magazine explains the increase in adoption of online training for restaurants. More and more restaurants are following the lead of business principals in other industries. In fact, training industry analysts estimate that 98% of all businesses will adopt some form of online training by the year 2020.