Restaurant training is not a new concept. The history of the restaurant industry dates back to the Roman Empire and Ancient China. As long as there have been people needing to eat outside their own homes, there has been some form of a restaurant. And for as long as people have gathered for food and drink, there has been a need for people to serve them. Back in the days of marketplaces and country inns, sales and service training wasn’t all that important. Competition was scarce, and traveling peasants were generally pretty happy with whatever food they could get.
Restaurant Training: A Look Back
As the restaurant industry evolved into what it is today, restaurant training kept pace. In fact, restaurants led the charge in some forms of training. Ever wonder how McDonald’s sold all those burgers? It probably had something to do with the fact that they were the first corporation to create a global training center, Hamburger University, in 1961. Early McDonald’s owners knew the growth of the chain required consistency in product and service, and the only way to do that was develop training standards that could be delivered by every manager at every location. Today, more than 4,000 corporations have followed the fast food giant’s lead by creating centralized training centers.
Around the same time as Hamburger University made its mark, the concept of “instructional design” became a focus of human resource departments. Computer-based training took off in the 80s and 90s, with web-based training following not long after that. But restaurants were slow to adopt e-Learning. Why? The restaurant industry is about people, and any method of operation not centered on people just didn’t feel like a good fit.
Restaurant Training: A Look Forward
It didn’t take long for most restaurant operators to discover that blended learning – a combination of e-Learning, formal training, and mentoring – could help them train their workforce faster without losing that human connection. With e-Learning, operators gain consistency in training on service, sales, and compliance basics. What used to take years to develop now takes weeks, and days in the classroom can be streamlined to hours of engaged e-Learning. With a few clicks, training administrators can assign, monitor, and track the training of their entire workforce, allowing managers to focus their time on solid on-the-job teaching.
Another reason some restaurant operators shied away from e-Learning was the fear that it lacked relevancy. Service and sales in a restaurant, after all, are much different than in other industries. That’s why it’s important to look for training options for your restaurant that are grounded in content that’s specific to your industry. Click here to learn more about the Sunhawk Learning Management System for restaurants.