Five ways Small Batch Learning solves hospitality training for groups
Platform features
By Dan Bignold
Feb 11th, 2020
Consistent/flexible... national/local.... complex/simple... Hospitality companies running multiple outlets need beverage training that can handle the competing demands of their multi-faceted offerings. Small Batch Learning helps take the strain.

Implementing staff training across large hospitality organizations comes with a specific set of contradictions and challenges. That's why you need help coming up with a solution.

You might need to train personnel across several different concepts to all manage operations according to agreed protocols that reflect your company’s culture as a whole. But (simultaneously) you also require service at each of those venues to deliver a different customer experience – because of brand, geographical location or demographic, to name just three. So in fact, you already need three solutions.

One size fits all rarely works when it comes to staff training. Drill down even further, and specific products, menu items, opening and closing protocols, SOPs for guest relations, among many other details, will all vary according to each outlet (even those that share a concept).

And then you’ve got the challenge of cost. Whether you’re running physical instructor-led classes or using an online learning management system (or both), the larger the organization, the larger budgets need to be. If budgets can’t keep pace, or need to be trimmed, very soon you compromise on either reach or frequency of training. Even if you can reach everyone, and can accurately measure engagement and progress – your ROI – will your budget allow you to re-train, re-test and measure performance again in three months, six months, and again in a year’s time?

Small Batch Learning solves all these challenges for staff beverage training with a single online learning solution that has been built specifically for hospitality and retail, and – crucial for groups – for training at scale. Here’s how:

1. Organizational structure

Groups of bars, hotels and restaurants can be managed through Small Batch Learning with ease. At group level, head office (with a group training manager or group beverage manager in charge, for example) sets up a training account, while outlets in the group then set up individual training accounts (with their own team added as learners). These sub-outlets sit under the group’s parent account. The group account then authors all its necessary training content and shares to its sub-outlets, so that the same content doesn’t need to be uploaded multiple times. Scale without hassle? Check.

Since each sub-outlet also appoints its own manager to control its training account (including content, onboarding new staff, announcements, etc), the group manager doesn’t get bogged down managing training at venue level. Outlet managers only have visibility over their own staff and their training progress – not across all other sub-outlets – while the group manager can monitor stats for all outlets. (Of course, you can create more than one manager for each account, so if you need some sub-outlet managers to also have visibility across the whole group, no problem.) Localized training management? Tick.

Next, your organizational structure can extend down multiple tiers. So, for example, you could arrange all venues belonging to a particular concept as sub-sub-outlets under one sub-outlet, with a group manager just for that concept, but still with a single head office account above them all. Or perhaps you need to organize geographical clusters for the same brand under one sub-outlet (with its own area manager), but still allow each of the individual locations to train through its own account. No problem. Any organizational structure is accomodated.

2. Training content

As explained, the parent (run by a head office training manager or group beverage manager) can author content which is then available to add to all sub-outlets within the group (but not to any other account outside that organization). This might be a company-wide handbook, onboarding manual or service SOPs, and can feature text, photos, video, other attachments such as pdfs, or even audio files.

Once training has been added to each sub-outlet, the content can still be updated at parent level – with updates appearing instantly for all sub-outlets. In the past, especially with SCORM-compliant training files, updating meant all content needed to be re-wrapped and re-uploaded, everywhere. But in hospitality, where SOPs need to be modified often, or new drinks or products uploaded, we’ve built a system that respects a manager’s need for flexibility, so that updates can happen effortlessly in real time (however small the change). No compromise in your training, with content that accurately reflects your most up-to-date service strategy.

3. Product training

Simply put, product training previously has been fragmented (the internet), pitched at consumers (the internet, again!) or dependent on either your own manager’s or a brand ambassador’s diary (plus the logistics of getting your whole service team in one room on the same afternoon – as everyone knows, impossible).

For groups, our power lies in being able to share recipes down through the whole organization, so that all outlets are trained to make, say, classic cocktails to the correct specs and pouring the right SKUs. And for products, training on all the house pours or other contracted spirits (or wine or beer), sold across the group, can be added to your training program for all sub-outlets. This way, a group training manager can work on prepping essential, core training content for all outlet managers, freeing managers to focus on running service and implementing training at team level. Efficiency! 

4. Announcements

Yes, we all know most individual bars, let alone groups, have cottoned on to using Whatsapp (or similar) to communicate important messages to teams. But we’ve added an announcement feature to Small Batch Learning too – because we’re guessing that most group managers don’t have the phone contact of every single team member in their company saved on their own phone. In short, if your team member has an account on Small Batch Learning, you can reach them. And you can link announcements to sales promotions, new products, new training, or whatever, and it can be targeted to the whole group or individual sub-outlets.

5. Customisable content

Another game-changer. Remember that content can be uploaded once by a group account and then shared down through the organization to all the sub-outlets. Well, let’s say that content was only 95% correct for all outlets, but specific details or lessons needed to be customized or authored at outlet level (not just service details – but opening times or emergency services info, for example). Our authoring system allows a whole lesson or course to be customized by each outlet. Convenient.

And this applies not just to your content, but ours too. We’ve written hours and hours of fantastic, peer-approved beverage service training for hospitality and retail – and we love it. But we’re also fine if you want to change it. Take it, then add, edit, delete or re-write whatever detail doesn’t fit with your values. This not only saves managers huge amounts of time, if they don’t have a training program in place (you get ours, ready-written), but can also be used to plug gaps for those companies that do have material ready to upload. Flexibility at our core.