Hart House, a new plant-based concept by comedian Kevin Hart, has made headlines for reimagining what the future of quick-service food might be. The brand touts a 100 percent plant-based menu at its two Los Angeles-area locations, with all ingredients free from things like cholesterol, antibiotics, hormones, and preservatives.
The brand isn’t just reimagining what quick-service food looks like—CEO Andy Hooper says Hart House is also setting a new industry standard with its employee-friendly practices. The results are illuminating—while other brands struggled to fully staff restaurants in 2022, Hooper reports that Hart House has attracted plenty of applicants by offering “an actual, mathematical” living wage and benefits that go beyond what frontline workers might be accustomed to.
“Looking at the industry, it’s clear that quick-service jobs are not always desirable,” Hooper says. “And there are all sorts of culprits for the dissatisfaction and churn that most brands deal with. We have been attacking those things and trying to create a place that employees want to come to every day because they know they’ll get a lot back from what they’re putting in.”
Hart House has intentionally sought out business partners that share its vision for the future. For example, when Hooper and human resources manager Jhonny Acosta were needing to identify the right training platform for the brand, Hooper knew just where to turn. In his previous role as president of &pizza, Hooper became acquainted with Opus, an AI-powered, mobile-first training platform designed for the frontline worker. Opus became the go-to training resource for &pizza—and now Hart House uses it as well. Employees complete interactive lessons that brand leadership can create in minutes and, moments later, put into practice what they’ve learned.
“Typically, a learning management system is designed for somebody who sits behind a desk,” Hooper says. “I’ve always thought that was a huge missed opportunity in the restaurant industry. Opus is a great example of a company that is designing with purpose, and intention, for the deskless worker.”
Acosta agrees, saying Opus has helped the brand explain the basics of what it means to be a team member at Hart House. He and Hooper both admit that Hart House has a bit of an unfair advantage when it comes to the video content they produce on Opus—Kevin Hart’s face greets each employee on their first day, explaining what it means to be a part of the brand. Even the content without the brand’s star founder feels personalized and helps bring Hart House to life, Acosta says.
“It’s a really practical, amazing platform,” Acosta says. “The content is this engaging way to give shoulder-to-shoulder training to each employee. It’s really digestible—picture things like short snippets on the proper way to wash your hands. Team members can watch this stuff during downtime and get their training done on their feet rather than sitting behind a desk.”
Opus is a way for brands like Hart House to communicate with team members on their terms. Acosta emphasizes how much he loves that the platform is effectively decentralizing the training process by making it easy for store-level managers, for example, to add training content.
“Opus is taking the learning function and putting it back in the hands of the in-store leaders,” Acosta says. “If I were a cashier or cook, I’d like to learn from the person who I’ve already seen doing it. With Opus, you can do that.”
Hart House will soon open its third location in the Los Angeles area. By the end of 2023, the brand will have a minimum of six locations, according to Hooper. As Hart House scales and looks to set the industry standard on multiple fronts, both Hooper and Acosta feel bullish that they’ve chosen the right vessel with which to communicate with its growing number of frontline workers.
“Every business that has a large portion of hourly workers needs some sort of reason for the employee population to want to communicate on your channels versus their own SMS chains,” Hooper says. “What you choose to do when it comes time to deliver content to them becomes really important. That’s what makes Opus exactly what we were looking for. It improves the lives of somebody who works on the frontlines.”
For more information on the mobile-first platform designed for the frontline worker, visit the Opus website.