Restaurant chain occupational staff training and testing

Restaurant chain occupational staff training and testing

September 1, 2006

Restaurant chain

Implementation of a web application for occupational training and testing of company staff. This system can report on the level of professional knowledge. The employee uses a computer which is connected by Wi-Fi to a server, where the training materials are stored. The employee can access audio and text-based training materials before taking the tests. The computer setup, with touchpad, display and printer means that employees cannot tamper with the training materials. Results are given in percentage form and stored on the company archive.

A major restaurant group took the decision to create an internal staff screening system. As part of a programme conceived by the head of information technology, the company's entire personal, including chefs, waiting staff, administrative staff and bartenders regularly undergo professional aptitude testing. Based on the test results, employees are either admitted or not admitted to their posts. Discerning members of the public are not impressed when, visiting a chic restaurant, they find that the waiting staff are unfamiliar with the rules of good manners or the correct placing of cutlery and dishes. Customers who visit bars are not impressed when bartenders do not know the names and recipes of cocktails. Nobody likes incorrectly cooked steak, over-salted dishes or improperly prepared soup. For a large company the question of its staff's qualification therefore becomes a question critical to its very existence. Furthermore, one aspect of the training system is the course of first training for new employees, who must undergo compulsory training at a corporate academy, at the end of which they must pass a professional test in order to begin their employment.

During first training, employees receive coaching from a senior member of staff before undergoing a self-study programme followed by an introductory test. Successful completion of the test brings the new employee to the practical task stage, with a list of assignments such as serving 20 customers' tables successfully or learning the recipes for several popular cocktails. The coach assesses the level of completion of these tasks. For current employees, there are daily mini-tests. Failing these tests three times sends a warning alert, meaning that the test must be carried out under the supervision of a coach on the following day. The training system can account for a range of knowledge levels and areas of knowledge, for initial training, daily training and retraining, and differentiate between different types of employees and employees possessing different levels of seniority.

In terms of performance analysis, managers can view test results by searching for a particular employee or department as well as being able to access an overview of results across the entire company. Results can be viewed for a specific day, period or for the entire length of the system's operation (or of an individual's employment), as well as by test category, i.e. whether the test fell under initial training, daily training or retraining.

Additional information about employees can be accessed by managers, such as details of their correspondence with other employees, administration and management via the internal mailing system supported by the software, information regarding working timetables including when employees signed in and signed out from work, and whether tasks were completed successfully. Furthermore, managers can assess surveillance footage from testing programmes.