It might be time to consider automated training.

The restaurant industry is often seen as a revolving door when it comes to employee retention. According to a report from the National Restaurant Association, the turnover rate was 61 percent for the industry as a whole in 2016.

The list of reasons behind quitting is often long and complicated: not enough money, long hours—or not enough hours—going back to school, other job opportunities. But did you ever consider employees might leave because they’re frustrated by the lack of training they receive when it comes to in-house technology?

According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Technology Review, when technology went “offline” (i.e. hand-held server tablets, digital at-the-table payout systems, apps, online ordering), it often caused stress among customers and employees alike. Many employees felt they’d received very little training regarding how to operate the technology—or how to get it back online when it failed.

Consider this: Automating training through technology could be part of the solution.



It’s important employees are trained not only on technology but on helping customers learn or access digital systems. Your employees are part of the learning curve for your consumers. There’s a little extra training on the front-end for the employee, but the streamlining that takes place over time is extremely valuable, and consumers appreciate automated user-friendly processes. Digital ordering, cashing out, and menu-browsing are the future.

Yet, many operators still train employees one-on-one in the full-service industry, which is essential for some tasks, but not for all. For managers, in-person training means they have less time to tend to other duties. Realistically, it’s no surprise some employees get “shorted” on training, especially if they’re hired during a busy time of year or during periods of high turnover. If managerial resources are stretched thin, sometimes adequate training falls through the cracks.

Portable tablet systems are a great way to offer self-training on a platform that is already familiar to employees. Once a program is initiated, employees can self-train for during specified blocks of time. Sessions can be augmented with one-on-one training, demonstrations, Q&A and ongoing follow-up. 

This automated initiation to your processes—and your brand—is a great way to teach employees the basics of the operation such as year-round house specialties, beverage selections, how customers are greeted, how orders are handled and duties required at the end of a shift. This can ensure that employees quickly become familiar with expectations regarding the guest experience and their own work process.

While not entirely eliminating customized training, tablet training reduces management’s time expenditure by educating new hires on fundamentals. Save the personal training for the issues at the front- and back-of-house that are potentially confusing or change frequently. Add a video viewer for group training that offers information to several employees at once.

You’re already putting technology to work for you in your restaurant—don’t forget to train your employees how to use it. There’s a portable tablet for that.

Expert Takes, Feature, Labor & Employees