The pros and cons of tablet-based training.

Sponsored by PlayerLync.

Portable, intuitive, and cost effective, it’s no wonder iPads have revolutionized the business world. From POS terminal to business computer, these mobile devices have popped up all over the restaurant industry. But iPads don’t just have to be limited to the back office. In fact, one of their most promising applications is right there in the kitchen or front-of-house: training.

Computer-based training wasn’t designed for restaurants, where employees are on the go instead of sitting in an office. Requiring team members to sit in a manager’s office to complete lessons and then try to remember what they learned and apply it when they get to their workspace isn’t always effective. While binders full of paper training materials offer more portability, the static nature means visuals are less impactful, and papers are difficult for corporate teams to refresh with new messaging. Additionally, corporate teams can’t be sure who received what training. An iPad, however, can address all of these issues. 

“The iPad’s portability is key because employees can actually learn and use the training device while they are hands on in the kitchen,” says Mike Sonntag, senior vice president of iPort. “And video on the iPad, unlike paper, can help a restaurant show employees exactly how to master a recipe so that it tastes the same across all locations.”

Plus, iPads are easy to use. Though many brands worry about resistance from less-tech savvy employees when they roll out devices to stores, iOS is designed to be simple to use and there is a high likelihood that employee has used an iOS device being that there are well over 1 billion iOS devices in the world.

Another major perk is the price. Though a high-tech training solution may seem expensive, iPads can actually be much cheaper than paying to update, print, and ship paper materials, especially with software, like PlayerLync, which makes it easy to roll out updates chain wide from the corporate office. Additionally, depending on specifications, iPads generally costs less than $300 per unit.

Yet iPads do come with concerns, too. Some restaurant owners worry about the tough restaurant atmosphere contributing to significant wear and tear on the device. Since it is portable, it’s prone to drops or spills, and the high heat of a restaurant kitchen isn’t good for tech. But these concerns can be easily addressed.

“What if it’s not charged? Where do we store it? What if it’s dropped, and it’s not protected properly?” Sonntag says. “The iPad by itself is any amazing device but most would say its not made to be in a restaurant 24/7 as those can be some pretty rough conditions. We have designed a wireless charging and protective case solution that takes the IPad and makes it even better than it already is. We often hear that restaurants have to replace the lightning cable often because they disappear. Having a solution to keep the iPad charged without wires is key to always making sure your device has power and is ready to train your employee at anytime.”

Restaurants considering iPad-based training should factor in the cost of accessories, such as an iPort case to ensure devices stay in good condition. But even with the added expense, most restaurants will still come out ahead with the benefit of better training—one of the single most important factors in a restaurant’s success.

“You really have to look at the overall solution,” Sonntag says. “The iPad is so easy to use, and PlayerLync is a fantastic tool that helps restaurants make their training more engaging and easier to manage, which equates to savings off the bat. Accessories can help you maximize your investment. Do your research and understand what it will mean from a budget perspective to rollout iPad training. But once you do, you’ll find the iPad actually a very helpful, cost effective training solution.”

By Peggy Carouthers

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