Formula For Success
The more I study the concept of employee engagement in the restaurant industry I see the need for innovation. One of the biggest challenges is how to get hourly employees to really engage with the company’s mission. The formula I’m seeing emerge in other markets could change foodservice engagement if readily embraced.

Goals + Gamification = Engagement

We all know that annual reviews in foodservice are impractical. With high turnover, seasonal staff and a growing job market, employees aren’t committed to being with your restaurant for a year. So when does a manager work with his or her team on setting and meeting goals? How do shift managers, who work with a rotating workforce, help ensure consistent communication and feedback?

Gamification may just sound like a catch phrase, but the concept behind the word is proving to be remarkably effective in the workplace. So what exactly is it and how can it help you? I’m glad you asked.
Gamification Improves Learning and Performance

Kids as young as three are ‘gaming.’ Gamers try, fail, learn and repeat the process by trial and error until they succeed. As they grow and enter the workforce, these digital natives expect instantaneous goal-oriented success akin to the games they played growing up. They move from level to level, building status and self-esteem.

Gaming is about engagement and repetition, two things that are critical in training your restaurant’s staff. Using gamification is about changing training from something that involves watching, reading and testing to an activity that employees can really engage in. Active learning makes the information stick with people more.

We are all competitive. With games, small failures are neither public nor permanent — they are another learning tool or a stepping-stone. Gamers log in, play, fail or succeed, save and come back later to continue. It’s not just a form of enjoyment or interaction, but how they compete with and prove themselves.

Gamification can be used in the workplace to improve learning and performance. A good foodservice gamification product doesn’t end with training. It would engage employees and allow them to continue to progress and succeed. Restaurants need their employees to want to flourish — to strive to be better servers, better cooks and better brand ambassadors.

Why Gamification for Staff Engagement?
 Gamification in training and engagement provides your employees with authentic practice, a focus on “doing,” active collaboration from “Day 1” and a way to control their own levels of engagement without relying on supervisors. For managers, gamification can offer data collection that allows for more strategic staffing.

As every aspect of HR trends towards data analysis — gamification offers a unique look into staff development. Just like games, everything people do is tracked. What they do, how long it takes them … gamification results can provide a quick overview into which employees show leadership, positive attitudes and time management. (See Fig. 1, Source: VenueGen)

Gamification levels the playing field between extrovert and introverted employees. It also allows managers to see where engagement is lacking and which employees are working to improve skills. A new waitress could start with no experience, but “play” your program over a couple weeks and show a 55 percent improvement and a mastery of the menu.

A Foodservice Gamification Example…
Basic gamification is already seeping into foodservice on the consumer side. Programs like Foursquare, Gowalla and Checkpoints allow clients to earn rewards for certain actions. In restaurant operations this could be translated into employees earning virtual rewards for receiving manager approval, co-worker recommendations or completing a sufficient number of tasks. Even retention could be rewarded and used as a stepping-stone towards “leveling-up” in the career game.

Already many businesses have courses that allow employees to go through a series of situations presented in a game-like set-up where they must make the correct decision to proceed.

Companies like Bunchball and VenueGen already design gamification programs tailored to your business needs. They take a similar concept to the game-like series of questions and can build out a game scenario. As the concept grows I predict that gaming will be incorporated in most talent management and marketing solutions — especially those aimed at engagement.

Views: 322

Tags: HR, data, digital, elearning, engage, engagment, gamification, goals, learning, mobile, More…retention, training


You need to be a member of FohBoh to add comments!

Join FohBoh




Social Wine Club for Craft Wineries


QSRs squeeze into unconventional locations

Nontraditonal quickservice units are popping up wherever people are, moving beyond street-side and mall locations to military -More

Optimize efficiency with an applicant tracking system

Businesses increasingly are turning to software programs that make applicant tracking more efficient.  -More

Read the NRA statement on NLRB's joint employer decision


All-new pasta dish features Grand Cru® Alpine-style cheese
Roth® Grand Cru® cheeses have a complex and full-bodied flavor that's crafted to achieve excellence in your menu applications. Try it in Manicotti en Croute with Brandied Fig Dipping Sauce. This elegant and inventive dish recently won our recipe contest for postsecondary culinary students, and is perfect as a sophisticated appetizer, passed hors d'oeuvre or savory dessert.


Posting a job or finding a job starts here at FohBoh. Call us about special $50 posting packages to syndicate across all major jobs boards.

National News

Darden Announces Leadership Succession Plan

Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI) announced that Clarence Otis is stepping down as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Company. Darden's Board of Directors has appointed the Company's current Independent Lead Director, Charles A. Ledsinger, Jr., as Independent Non-Executive Chairman of the Board, effective immediately. The Company also announced that it has amended its corporate governance policies to provide for the separation of the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer roles.

National Restaurant Association Statement on NLRB Joint Employer Decision

Today the National Restaurant Association issued the following statement regarding the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) decision asserting McDonald’s Corporation is a joint employer of its franchisees:

National Restaurant Association Issues Support for Clearer ACA Definition of Seasonal Employment

The bipartisan legislation will align the definitions of seasonal employment in the Affordable Care Act and streamline the applicable large employer determination process.

Rising India, Inc. Announces Acquisition Strategy Toward a Sizable Slice of the QSR Pizza Pie

Rising India, Inc. (OTC: RSII), announces today it will immediately begin work toward the acquisition of up to 5 profitable stores in the popular Quick Serve Pizza Restaurant segment. Current targets are currently earning about $450,000 in revenues per year, per store. Acquisition of targets would provide immediate cash flow identified from profitable longstanding, absentee owner operations with proven model success.

Panera Bread Company Reports Q2 2014 Diluted EPS of $1.82

Q2 2014 Revenue increased 7% to $631 million - Q2 2014 Company-owned comparable net bakery-cafe transactions up 0.4%


If you are looking for capital to start or grow your restaurant, create the next 501c3, develop and launch the next app for the restaurant industry,or want to help your peers in some meaningful way, we want to know about it.


TED: Ze Frank: Are you human? - Ze Frank (2014)

Have you ever wondered: Am I a human being? Ze Frank suggests a series of simple questions that will determine this. Please relax and follow the prompts. Let's begin …

TED: Heather Barnett: What humans can learn from semi-intelligent slime - Heather Barnett (2014)

Inspired by biological design and self-organizing systems, artist Heather Barnett co-creates with physarum polycephalum, a eukaryotic microorganism that lives in cool, moist areas. What can people learn from the semi-intelligent slime mold? Watch this talk to find out.

TED: Shih Chieh Huang: Sculptures that’d be at home in the deep sea - Shih Chieh Huang (2014)

When he was young, artist Shih Chieh Huang loved taking toys apart and perusing the aisles of night markets in Taiwan for unexpected objects. Today, this TED Fellow creates madcap sculptures that seem to have a life of their own—with eyes that blink, tentacles that unfurl and parts that light up like bioluminescent sea creatures.

TED: Nikolai Begg: A tool to fix one of the most dangerous moments in surgery - Nikolai Begg (2013)

Surgeons are required every day to puncture human skin before procedures — with the risk of damaging what's on the other side. In a fascinating talk, find out how mechanical engineer Nikolai Begg is using physics to update an important medical device, called the trocar, and improve one of the most dangerous moments in many common surgeries.

© 2014   Created by FohBoh.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service