Training methods and solutions galore address the ever-recurring problem of staff turnover in restaurants. Some work better than others, but now one operator is betting the combination of an iPad tablet and a custom app may be the most effective way of handling the situation.
Touch screen tablet computers like the iPad have quickly gained traction as a consumer device. But an increasing number of purchasers now intend to use them for business purposes, instead of just for personal leisure activities. Consumer Intelligence Research Partners reports that 21 percent of the people buying the new third-generation iPad 3 with Retina display intend to use them for business. Across all iPad models, thirteen percent of users have the same intention.
Early touch screen tablet adopters in the restaurant industry have used the devices in a number of ways. Some employ them as order-taking devices that also enable self-payment; others see them as nifty repositories for wine lists. POS use could be on the horizon. It’s a fast-developing field, so watch for useful new apps to become available soon.
Or you could come up with your own app. That’s what Flippin’ Pizza did.
The company bills its restaurants as serving authentic New York style pizza, even though it does business in the San Diego and Washington, DC markets. The 14-unit fast casual chain has the usual turnover issues, and it sought a way to educate its employees on the key facets of the business that keep the brand’s customer service standards high.
Company founder Patrick Farley got together with Solana Beach, CA-based Clave Media, an Internet marketing firm that, among other specialties, develops iOS (the operating system for the iPhone and iPad) apps. Together, they developed a series of two-minute-long videos accessible via an iPad for training purposes. Installments address everything from dealing with angry customers to how to make a pie.
The videos are short and sweet, the better to appeal to Flippin’ Pizza’s young, tech-savvy staff. The convenience and portability of the iPad makes them accessible at any time at any unit, and it enables store managers to move a new hire’s training and indoctrination forward without having to answer the same questions over and over.
Would touch screen tablets like the iPad make sense for your restaurant? We don’t know, but if you’re interested, you can expect to have plenty of options to choose from soon. When you consider the level of company that is joining Apple in the tablet business now—Microsoft with its Surface, Google with Nexus 7 and Amazon with its pumped-up Kindle Fire—you get a sense of how big these tech titans expect the market to become. Let’s hope we see the release of plenty of helpful restaurant operator-friendly apps to use on these slick machines.