The Daily Rail: How One Restaurant Saved $250,000 by Gamifying Their Training Program

MARKETING: Should the City You’re in Drive Your Restaurant Marketing?

You’re opening a restaurant in Washington, D.C. Would your restaurant marketing approach be different than if you opened the same concept in New York City? Or Boston? Or Miami? Or Dallas? Find out how where you’re operating from effects your business decisions.


RIP Dumb Golf Rule

The LPGA is finally nixing a rule that allows fans watching from home report in infractions. That’s right, until now you could play armchair golf official. The change was spurred by a recent incident that cost Lexi Thompson a tourney win. A fan from home noticed she mismarked her ball and, consequently, signed an incorrect scorecard costing her four strokes. It forced a playoff round that she lost.

Working Beyond 65

65 years old is considered a good retirement age, but it doesn’t always work out that way in practice – even in the United States. In fact, the employment rates for folks over 65 varies greatly. Asia has the highest employment rate for the those over 65. 

Infographic: Where People Are Working Beyond 65  | Statista You will find more statistics at Statista

Seedless Avocados?

It’s a thing, you guys. Now you don’t have to worry about slicing your hand open when cutting open an avocado. The seedless avocado looks more like a cucumber than an avocado and is officially known as a “cocktail avocado.” It’s 100% edible, skin & all. It’s being featured by British retail chain Marks & Spencer in response to the number of Brits cutting their hands while trying to open avocados.


Why it matters to you: A real commitment to training can transform your turnover results.

While many operators express a commitment to creating a great work environment, few have achieved what Nick’s Pizza in Chicago has accomplished. To start, they will finish 2017 with 20% turnover. Based on the average of 50 employees per location, this translates into over $250,000 saved by the company.

It’s the way they did it that demands your attention. They start by making training the centerpiece of their approach. This incredible effort has led to results like 52 of 54 original employees still being on the payroll and a retention rate of 80% overall.

The real jewel of Nick’s efforts is their tiered training program. Instead of making wage increases based on a manager’s whim, raises can be achieved by completing (internal) certifications. They classify them as course levels 101 (kitchen training), 201 (training & certification for certain jobs), and 301, where an employee might want to become a trainer.

Each time a staff member completes a course level they get a raise and a new colored visor. The visors have become honorific as his team aspires to more by completing the program. The burgeoning chain claims this system creates people with ownership. They’ve essentially gamified training, and that is why they have succeeded in one of the toughest staffing and competitive environments our industry has known. We applaud Nick’s and believe any of you can achieve the same results with the same commitment.


Why it matters to you: Do you need these Christmas holiday marketing ideas?

Experience tells us that from Thanksgiving until New Year’s Day is a pretty solid sales and traffic period for full-service restaurants. Folks are celebrating and restaurants have traditionally been the venue they choose for the revelry. Do you need to market as hard in December as the rest of the year given that the season is naturally busier? Well, some operators think so and are taking some creative approaches to enticing guests to their location during the holiday season.

We’ve already told you about $1 Long Island Iced Teas at Applebee’s, but the straight drink promo is only the beginning of creative operators working to attract guests for the season. Some White Castle locations are hosting Santa all month, while Walk-On’s Bistreaux has created a Blitzen Burger with ground venison and other holiday worthy fixings. As we have often implored you, you can do your best marketing when your restaurant is full.

So even if you don’t do anything special for the holidays, it’s incumbent on you to promote your programs to your surprisingly full dining room each night during the season. Make hay when the sun shines, as the cliché goes. Otherwise you waste all that goodwill the season provides.