In a tough labor market, here’s how restaurants can boost their team accountability and performance.

Faced with the ongoing labor shortage, restaurant operators and their managers have had to get creative. Staff are often rotated across functions and locations, and new employees are presented with a “sink or swim” scenario of being asked to contribute immediately. Training has frequently taken a back seat to more urgent needs. In today’s environment, with staff already stretched so thin, managers simply can’t spare the time. 

While skipping or reducing training might be a short term solution, it presents a big risk to a brand’s reputation. Issues like food safety, cleanliness, order accuracy, and the consistency of the guest experience are critical, but they can start to slip if they’re neglected from day to day. Managers need to get new team members working and contributing as quickly as possible—without sacrificing any of the qualities that make a restaurant great.

“At Jolt, we’ve created this app for smartphones and tablets that systematically walks every employee through what they need to do in any given shift,” says C.J. Lewis, COO and cofounder of Jolt. “If an employee is unfamiliar with a task, they simply click the information button and it walks them through what they need to do. We’ve taken the typical learning management system and put it in line with the task as it’s happening to make sure employees are doing the right thing, in the right way, at the right time.”

Jolt takes on the role of a digital assistant manager, ensuring that things get done smoothly and on schedule. The Team Accountability, Digital Food Safety, and Employee Performance solutions from Jolt help operators boost their successes in these areas—and to track them over time.

“The visibility into completion rates is game-changing,” Lewis says. “A lot of large quick-service restaurant brands used to have manual checklists—you recorded your completion rates in your log book, but if you were asked for it on any given day, you probably wouldn’t know. Jolt enables task performance and operations metrics that tie back to brand standards.”

The risks of human error and “pencil whipping” are also reduced or eliminated by going digital. “Say you need to take a temperature probe—somebody could write down a number and not even go through the task, or they could write the temperature backward,” Lewis says. “We handle this task by connecting the probe to the tablet via Bluetooth so the temperature is automatically recorded. We also offer corrective actions to let the employee know what to do if the reading is out of compliance.”

Jolt is familiar with the franchisor/franchisee model. It allows franchisees who use the app to “subscribe” to brand standards to ensure corporate adherence, as well as create their own task lists for specific situations. “If there’s anything unique about a franchisee’s location, or if they want to use Jolt in an interesting way, they can adapt it to what they need while still keeping the required mandates from the brand,” Lewis says. “At the end of the day, you’ve gotta look great. You’ve gotta taste great. You’ve gotta be safe. Jolt does a great job helping brands accomplish all of that.”

To learn more, visit the Jolt website.

By Kara Phelps

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