The Blended Approach to Training

Li-Li Wu
Senior Partnership Director
January 13, 2022

We interviewed Shannon Beyak, the Learning & Development Manager at Freshii for her expert predictions of restaurant training. Freshii is an international franchise restaurant brand with a focus on healthy, convenient, and affordable food. With over 20 years of restaurant industry experience, Shannon shares her thoughts on technology, her blended learning approach, tips for people interested in the learning and development field, and more.

How has training changed since you joined the industry?

I joined the industry over 20 years ago at the restaurant level. My passion for the industry came from the great training that I received. Back then it was mostly in-person sessions and there was no online LMS system for me to do courses on. Things have become a lot more digital/mobile these days and I think evolution was needed.

How do you use technology to aid training & make it personable?

Using technology in a blended learning environment allows us to connect with new team members in different ways so that everyone has a chance to learn at their own pace. I myself am a very hands-on and visual learner but I excel when I can read through the processes first before jumping in. Zoom, google meets, etc. have allowed us to still connect with franchise partners and team members through COVID.

How is training for a global restaurant franchise unique?

It is different because you have to rely on them using the tools and pieces of training you have created instead of being able to have them be compliant with your training. You need them to see the value of using these things to help them be successful in their business because they are the ones who are overseeing it.

Does technology influence training culture?

I believe it does. The world is very fast-paced and if you are not using technology you lose momentum as well as how wide you can cast your net and how quickly you can do it. When you can get information to your team quickly and efficiently you build confidence with them and they will believe and execute better for you.

What is your training approach?

I like a blended learning approach because I think that as much value there is in virtual/digital training there is equal value in on-the-job training. This is where human connection is formed and I think especially in this industry the human connection is extremely important in growing business.

In what ways does training promote employee retention?

When team members are confident and knowledgeable in what they do, work becomes more "fun" than "work". Fewer mistakes happen, more connections happen with guests and that only helps build the business.

What is your advice to future L&D professionals?

  1. Always keep learning.
  2. Connect with people who are like-minded
  3. Connect with people who are using your training programs.
  4. Review your training programs often ( take part in one of your training programs to see what it looks like from the trainee's viewpoint).
  5. The sky is the limit- let your imagination run wild!

What are your predictions for the future of training?

I see a bigger VR presence- especially since COVID where larger group gatherings may not be possible. Past "in-class" sessions, even one on one training sessions can be run through virtual reality. I also see a bigger focus on soft skill training, with being somewhat isolated for the past few years people will need to learn how to connect with one another again.

The world of restaurant training was 100% in person, but as times changed, the needs of the frontline team also changed. Training development needed an evolution. Shannon Beyak highlighted the restaurant industry's need for blended learning: digital learning with a human touch. With blended learning and effective technology, restaurant employers build trust with their teams and team members will perform better.