Church’s Chicken® officially rolled out the DiscoverLink Talent learning management system (LMS) in April after a successful pilot program. The Atlanta-based brand is a quick service restaurant chain that specializes in fried chicken and its signature Honey Butter Biscuits. Church’s® has almost 1,000 locations throughout the United States and 400 international locations. With more than 15,700 team members employed, Church’s was in the market for an LMS that could keep up with their training demands.
Searching for a New E-learning Solution
After some thought, Church’s concluded they had outgrown the LMS they were using. With such a large number of team members, it was important to the brand to be able to report the effect training had on restaurant operations and guest experience. With limited visibility into the LMS and the lack of ability to track individual completions, the e-learning solution was not working for them anymore. After a successful pilot program with DiscoverLink Talent at 20 Church’s locations, the restaurant chain decided to move forward with a full launch.
Creating Engagement with E-learning Competition
The implementation of a new LMS meant the Church’s training team needed to develop a plan to educate and engage team members with the software. The timing of the implementation coincided with the launch of two limited time offers (LTOs), Bourbon Black Pepper Smokehouse Chicken and Peach Cobbler, which were created and set to run from the end of May through the end of August. To generate excitement about the new technology, Church’s announced a competition called Ready, Set… Execute.
The competition was broken up into four requirements with the first focusing on the brand’s LMS campus, Pathway to Excellence (PTE) University. In order to be one of 12 eligible restaurants to be entered to win $1,000, restaurant managers needed to have 100% of their team members log into the system and complete training on the two new LTOs by a designated date (Ready). The remaining requirements were based on follow up visits by above restaurant leaders (Set), and results from mystery shoppers along with guest metrics from surveys during the LTO (Execute).
Since this was the initial launch of DiscoverLink Talent, the training team set a goal of a 50% completion rate. However, the training team recorded an 85% completion rate by the deadline. In addition, more than 560 locations met the 100% completion requirement to be eligible to win one of 12 $1,000 prizes.
“In the past, we saw completion rate averages at 10 percent lower than we did with DiscoverLink Talent,” said Felicia White, Senior Director of National Field Training for Church’s Chicken. “Previously we were using a system without individual team member accounts, but now with each person having their own log in the completion results carry more validity, and more importantly, each team member owns their training.”
Additionally, the training team reported that team members were engaged with the new LMS and showed a lot of interest in using the Messaging feature, which is a tool they did not have with their previous system.
“We’ve seen a lot of interaction with the Messaging feature,” said White. “Even back-of-house team members like cooks are utilizing the tool similar to an email; it’s a new wave of communication for us to reach each and every team member.”
The Work Behind the Scenes
To prepare for the LTO competition, starting in April, the Church’s training team held 52 training sessions across the country over a period of four weeks. More than 1,000 individuals attended the sessions, which included restaurant managers, franchise owners, above restaurant leaders, and corporate staff to introduce PTE University. These training sessions were held to explain the ins and outs of the new LMS, stress the importance of training, and create hype about the upcoming implementation. In addition, each attendee received PTE University Reference Guidebooks for employees to refer to if they have a training-related question.
Increased Involvement from Team Members
As a result of the new technology and a more personalized curriculum, team members have started to inquire about new leadership opportunities with Church’s. One team member sent a message through DiscoverLink Talent noting they had completed their required training for cashier certification and now wanted more information about how to become a shift leader. With increased involvement from the restaurant teams, the training department is eager to see where things are headed.
“What’s great about partnering with Church’s Chicken is that they share our passion and enthusiasm for developing people through e-learning,” said Jason Jones, Business Development Manager for DiscoverLink. “We are enthusiastic about what the future holds for this relationship and excited to continue to help build their training program and take it to new heights.”