Red Robin Franchisee Group Implements E-learning Competition to Increase Manager Knowledge

Lehigh Valley Restaurant Group (LVRG) owns and operates 21 Red Robin locations in Eastern and Central Pennsylvania, making it the brand’s largest franchisee group. LVRG initially started as a basic learning management system (LMS) user to deploy sexual harassment prevention training to their managers. Their prevention training includes DiscoverLink Content Library courses like Leading a Respectful Workplace, Code of Conduct, Diversity in the Workplace, and EEO for Employees. Earlier this year LVRG decided to apply e-learning across all their training programs and implemented the full DiscoverLink Talent LMS to 176 of their general managers and kitchen managers. After the full LMS launch, LVRG created the “Knowledge Knockout” competition to improve manager knowledge.

A Mission to Increase Manager Knowledge

“Knowledge Knockout” is a fun e-learning competition derived from a typical sports bracket with restaurants facing off against each other followed by playoffs. Since LVRG has so many locations throughout their geographical region, it can be a challenge to calibrate manager knowledge companywide. This knowledge includes recipes, LVRG standards, human resource practices, accounting, marketing, and training materials. LVRG set a goal to increase manager knowledge with this new e-learning competition.

“Our team identified manager knowledge as an area of opportunity within LVRG,” said Dave Burrington, Human Resource Partner for Lehigh Valley Restaurant Group. “We needed an innovative and fun way to engage our management team so that learning wouldn’t feel like a chore.”

To begin, LVRG set up the entire season lineup and determined 12 teams would make it to the playoffs. Next, using the exam builder in DiscoverLink Talent. LVRG created a substantial question bank with more than 500 questions, giving LVRG the ability to create and deploy weekly tests for their management teams. Each week, managers received an email with a link to complete a specific test. Administrators set a specific time to complete tests, the number of questions, and passing score parameters. LVRG was able to compile test score data and keep a running tally of weekly scores and averages. This persistent testing across all facets of the business helps create top-of-mind knowledge awareness that LVRG managers must possess to be successful.

LVRG needed to stir up excitement about the competition to get managers on board. They decided to create several hype videos before and during the season to encourage managers to join in on the fun. The videos highlight Red Robin managers with perfect scores, their prize winnings, and includes ominous sounds, images, and text. All of this alludes to a weary path ahead to becoming the “Knowledge Knockout Champion.”

Each week, all location scores were matched up against each other, and the store with the highest average won. The scores were a rolled-up average of each manager’s individual test for that week, which generated healthy competition among general managers and produced a gamification component. At the end of the 10-week season, the top 12 teams entered the “Knowledge Knockout” playoffs. This was a single elimination tournament with a winner take all cash prize and the title of “Knowledge Knockout Champion.”

“Competition is contagious and brings out excitement in people,” said Natalie Loney, Human Resource Partner for Lehigh Valley Restaurant Group. “We also noticed it’s a great way to get your employees’ feet wet with an LMS platform. It gives them access, allows them to login and see their dashboard, and naturally gets them excited for future training initiatives!”

The Results Are In

After implementing “Knowledge Knockout,” LVRG saw a tremendous increase in engagement and the desire for general managers to want to be brand champion bearers. Management teams had a lot of fun competing, the program has been effective for the brand, and it has crushed the brand’s goal of increasing manager knowledge.

“The competition created a learning atmosphere that brought out friendly competition within everyone,” said Burrington. “Engagement was at an all-time high and it was incredible to see the number of people reaching out to one another and sharing best practices.”

Success Story of the Year Contest Winner

After receiving positive feedback from team members, LVRG submitted their story to DiscoverLink’s Success Story of the Year contest. Entrants were invited to share their stories of how e-learning has impacted their brand in a notable way. Out of six stories submitted, the DiscoverLink team selected “Knowledge Knockout” as one of the top three nominees. Top nominees were invited to pitch their stories at DiscoverLink’s annual client conference, LinkUp, where attendees voted on the best success story. LVRG was awarded the first-ever title of Success Story of the Year winner.

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