How to Make Your Restaurant Training Resonate With Millennials

By February 25, 2020 Blog
How to make restaurant training resonate with millennials

It’s the first day of your new job! Walking in early, you prepare to start your first shift before being told that you will need to complete weeks of corporate training before getting to engage with customers.

And the worst part?

The content being presented barely pertains to your position. This is the upsetting reality for the majority of the minimum wage workforce. In today’s day and age, only 13% of workers claim to apply their learning from corporate training in their day-to-day work environment1. Clearly, training programs are failing to resonate with their audience and change is necessary to combat employee turnover and rising labor costs.

Is Training Broken?

No, training isn’t broken. The problem lies in organizations failing to update their training programs to keep up with society’s biggest changes: workforce demographics and the increased use of technology.

With Millennials now making up 75% of the workforce, companies must adapt their training and development programs to align with the learning styles and preferences of this group2. Furthermore, training executives must leverage technology to help align business and training goals.

So… how can you adapt your training program to better fit the millennial workforce? How can you incorporate technology to help these efforts? We need to better understand our audience in order to relate to them.

Understanding Millennials – They Learn Differently

Millennials were raised on the Internet – technology has been baked into their learning styles as a result. Training must be adapted to fit their lifestyles and habits, as seen with by the average millennial, checking their phones approximately 150 times a day. However, this apparent disadvantage can be embraced by training through mobile phones and tablets. Instead of outlining store procedures in training sessions, enable your employees by streamlining their tasks through technology. This shifts the emphasis from remembering procedures to executing them by fostering a work environment that’s supportive of your employees tendencies.

Technology allows restaurants to streamline training like never before

They Care About Feedback. A lot.

Studies show that 72% of Millennials who work in environments that emphasize feedback feel fulfilled, compared to only 38% of Millennials who don’t receive consistent feedback3. Clearly, a communicative environment is important in retaining employees and with the average cost to replace a restaurant employee being $5,864, it’s crucial that feedback friendly culture is stressed from day one4.

Feedback between an employee and their manager goes both ways as a subordinate provides a different perspective that can often help the superior create positive change. For example, let’s look at the role of a store manager. The manager is responsible for completing the ‘opening checklist’ but finds that it’s taking too long as a result of the previous shift leaving the store’s floors dirty. By reporting to their superior, training executives will have a better understanding of issues at the store level and can adapt their training efforts accordingly.

They Care About Their Long Term Development.

The employee turnover rate across all industries in the United States is about 10%. It’s 60% across the restaurant, retail and convenience store industries. Many industries heavily rely on Millennial employees as they’re largely comprised of minimum wage employees. Is this a coincidence? Probably not.

So why are minimum wage Millennial employees so quick to leave their jobs? Because they prioritize their development.

A study of over 13,000 millennials shows that 54% would look to leave employers who don’t support the development of their employees2. This starts with onboarding and training. Even though businesses prioritize speed when it comes to onboarding, it’s important that training doesn’t end here. Enabling front line workers with mobile technology allows managers to remotely support their employees development after onboarding concludes.

Training Millennials Through Technology

Technology offers benefits to training managers that extends past appeasing your employees. Technology provides the opportunity to create customized training programs that pinpoint issues that pertain directly to the trainee. This is extremely important when trying to train at scale for a couple of reasons:

1. The same training regimen under different circumstances often leads to different outcomes.
2. It’s far too time consuming to create a different training program for each store or restaurant within a brand.


training through technology helps restaurants standardize and optimize

Consistent Training Doesn’t Always Lead to Consistent Results

This is a common misconception that often shows up with multi-unit businesses; let’s look at MOD Pizza as an example.

Logically, it makes sense to train employees at every MOD Pizza the same way if the goal is to have every MOD Pizza operate the same way. The MOD Pizza location in Los Angeles is fundamentally different from the one in Detroit. This is evident from the demographics of the employees and the customers to the issues that are showing up in store.

If the biggest issue of the Detroit location was cleanliness, would that be a point of emphasis for the LA store that has no cleanliness issues? I’d sure hope not.

The key to optimizing your training program is pinpointing problems at each respective store and training the employees to handle the problems they’ll see most frequently. By empowering employees with technology that helps find recurring problems at the store level, managers are trained to better prepare employees at solving relevant problems.

The Importance of Retraining

Let’s assume that your business has strong reporting at the store level and was able to identify each store’s biggest operational issues, how would you go about training employees differently?

1. Find your most frequently recurring issues at each store.
2. Group stores that have issues in common.
3. Design and run training sessions on an infrequent basis to refocus employees to handle issues at their stores.

If done properly, this scalable process helps close the gap between management’s vision and execution at the store level. Shifting a store-level employee’s focus helps realign them with business objectives. This prevents employees from being complacent while showing a commitment to their long term development, which is a priority for millennial workers.


In order to support this new age of Millennial workers, trainers in large organizations must recalibrate their training programs. Millennials’ ever-changing priorities and learning styles should be embraced by companies through adopting and leveraging technology that extends the reach of training managers.

To learn more on how to apply the right technology that will help reduce employee turnover among Millennials, contact us today.