This consistency is critical to the guest experience, regardless of location or the time of day. In the last year, however, Krystal’s customer service, speed, and overall satisfaction survey scores were dipping. Additionally, high industry-wide turnover made it difficult to guarantee that all employees received the same thorough training messages. The company’s president gave Fletcher and his team a directive to use training to boost the execution of making the Krystal hamburger across the brand, so they decided to try a new training model.
In traditional training, or cascading training, the company president would tell the director of training what he wanted employees to know. Then the training team would disseminate that training to district managers, who would teach general managers. Then general managers would give those messages to 6,000 employees.
“The traditional cascade model is a lot like the telephone game,” Fletcher says. “It dilutes the message each step of the way. Not only did we think that’s an old, long, fairly expensive, and maybe less effective approach to raising awareness of what we want everybody to know, it’s also boring, so we decided to make it an exciting event.”
That’s when the team decided to take training on the road for a series of events called “The Perfect Krystal Tour,” which was set up to resemble a concert tour. Using the Krystal Cruiser—a vehicle that contains two fryers, five grills, and enough kitchen equipment for the brand to sell Krystals at events—the team drove 3,500 miles to visit 13 cities in four weeks to deliver hands-on training. Because the truck was on-site and fully equipped, Krystal could keep their stores’ doors open for business. The Krystal team also wanted to use this as an opportunity to raise awareness for the brand and give back to the community. Instead of selling burgers made during training or throwing them away, they were given to people outside charitable organizations, such as a Boys & Girls Club location and the Give Kids the World Village, where Make-A-Wish Families stay in Orlando before going to Disney World.
Then, instead of using a traditional learning model or classroom-only learning, the team used “flipped learning,” in which general managers completed instructional content before the event via their LMS, Clarifi Talent Development from HotSchedules. They also completed a classroom component with regional managers. This allowed the event to focus on interactive hands-on training that was both educational and entertaining. During the event, general managers were trained on what makes Krystal burgers perfect and practiced making them.