In the mid 1990’s, I purchased a multi-media computer and (being a child of DOS green screens) was in awe when I popped in the Windows 95 Encarta CD and heard Nelson Mandela coming through the speakers. From then on I was hooked. With the modern marvels of Netscape and Alta Vista search engines, I started searching for a better way to reach geographically dispersed trainees faster, in a way that supported all the logistical and scheduling challenges of training restaurant teams.
There were some very convincing case studies about how different industries were starting to use Computer Based Training (CBT). The benefits seemed to be a perfect fit to address the challenges of training in the restaurant industry:
- Scheduling a group for a training session
- Inconsistency of training provided
- Lack of training and coaching skills by management
- Varied knowledge and experience levels of each employee
- Tracking training progress and storing training records
I was convinced that CBT would be a game changer for restaurants of any size or shape. So, in 1996 I partnered with a multi-media developer and created a CD-ROM training program for restaurants titled ‘A Role in the Show’. The program used ‘the Restaurant Business is Show Business’ metaphors to teach waitstaff how to exceed guest expectations and increase sales.
IMHO (for 1996) it was a great product, but way ahead of its time. Restaurants didn’t have the space for computers to use for training purposes, and using the back office PC was not an option. So with limited opportunities, after a several years of evangelizing the benefits of CBT at restaurant industry events and universities across the U.K., I bowed out and parlayed my experience into joining the ‘Online Learning’ industry.
For the last 20 years, I’ve assisted Fortune 500 clients with defining and implementing innovative eLearning solutions. During this time, I’ve had the privilege of working with exceptionally talented teams that developed custom eLearning, 3D simulations/games, gamification, and mobile apps, to drive learner engagement and improve workforce performance. In both sales and account management roles, I’ve had the benefit of experiencing projects from the earliest stages of understanding requirements and solution design, through development, implementation and execution.
I’ve also shared the pain and frustration along with clients when things went wrong, with many lessons learned along the way.
Ironically, compared to any other industry, Quick Service Restaurants have been utilizing some of the most sophisticated 3D game and simulation environments to on board employees and significantly reduce time to competence. In my next post, I will provide more details on the ways Quick service restaurants have been leading the way in the use of eLearning, and the benefits they have experienced as a result.
Next blog post: How Quick Service Restaurants utilize eLearning