Established in 2012, Ford’s Garage has over 20 locations and plans to annually open 10–15 new locations. The unique concept is the only restaurant concept with a licensing agreement with Ford Motor Company and serves gourmet burgers and craft beers in an environment that captures the vibe of a 1920’s service station—complete with vintage Ford vehicles, gas pumps, and other such memorabilia.
As the brand scales, it’s found a need to create replicable processes to help ensure that each Ford’s Garage from location to location captures the unique magic of the brand. In turn, that has meant finding a way to ensure everyone from hourly workers to salaried staff to franchisees gets consistent training.
So Ford’s Garage adopted Opus—a skills-building platform that trains 100 percent of a restaurant’s team members—to help scale its processes. Opus combines in-person and online training to optimize the Ford’s Garage training process. It does so in a way that connects with restaurant workers: they can engage with the content on their own smartphone.
“So many people already have hardware in their hands because now we all have phones,” says Michael Johnson, vice president of operations at Ford’s Garage. “And now you can utilize that to your advantage whenever you have an alley rally or pre-shift meeting to break down training into bite-size pieces.”
The core offering of Opus has always been geared toward the frontline restaurant worker. As many restaurants do, Ford’s Garage relies on a multilingual workforce. In the beginning, Ford’s Garage used Opus for translating recipes and other such things, and eventually, they began making training videos in different languages, such as Spanish. The brand also has French and Portuguese speakers—Opus can translate content into over 100 different languages.
Brands like Ford’s Garage can use Opus to introduce team members to a variety of different materials, from new general best practices to changes in HR protocols. Essentially, everything that was once done on paper is now a brief video or quiz that can be absorbed on the fly and then put into practice. Ford’s Garage has built about 130 different training modules on Opus, and the average training session takes team members about four minutes.
Thanks to the minimal time lessons take, team members have more flexibility to complete sessions. Opus reports that all restaurant brands using the platform see a 99 percent training assignment completion. Store managers and training staff can verify team members’ skills—Opus reports that 98 percent of team members are able to pass quizzes used to validate those skills on the first try.
Johnson says that he and his team now use Opus for bigger picture things, like introducing prospective franchisees “throughout and beyond Discovery Day” to the brand’s core values and processes. This helps ensure that franchisees are getting consistent information from day one.
Johnson says that one of his favorite aspects of Opus is that team members can evaluate what they thought of each quiz and submit thoughts on how it could be improved. “I love the fact that we get real-time feedback on courses that team members are taking,” says Johnson. Based on the feedback, Ford’s Garage can make adjustments quickly and provide a new version to the team.
A final area where Opus has exceeded Johnson and his team’s expectations is in Opus’ customer service and support. For example, Johnson says that whenever a report looks atypical or when they have suggestions about new capabilities, the Opus team makes sure that they provide the requisite support. That has helped Ford’s Garage get the most out of Opus to make them better as they continue to grow via franchising—the platform has already shown ROI for Johnson and his team.
“We look at it like this,” Johnson says. “How much are you spending on printed material and what does the engagement look like in your current system, versus what is the benefit to working with somebody to see exactly what they’ve completed, what they need to work on next, and get the feedback to make adjustments in real time? That’s worth a lot to us.”
For more on Opus, visit the company’s website.
By Dikshant Uprety