Cousins Subs is a quick service sandwich shop headquartered in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin outside of Milwaukee. The restaurant chain has 145 units primarily located in Wisconsin. With technology constantly changing, the Cousins Subs leadership team conducted an internal restaurant technology study over the course of two years to determine the organization’s next steps. As a result of the study, in 2017 the team determined all locations would receive a new POS system as well as new computers, scanners, Wi-Fi, and VoIP phones. But before any store received an upgrade, team members needed to be trained on the new equipment to ensure proper usage and comfort with the system.
Preparing for New Store Technology
Fortunately for Cousins Subs, only a small percentage of employees would be using the new technology, so it did not impact the majority of team members. Cousins Subs wanted all impacted team members to be trained on the new POS system before it was installed, but training resources were limited. CousinsU, the brand’s learning management system (LMS) campus, gave the training team the ability to connect directly with their store employees before installation to fast track the training process.
“The major challenge with this initiative was that we had a limited amount of training staff which made hands-on pre-training impossible,” said John Krahn, Manager of Training for Cousins Subs. “Having employees utilize CousinsU for pre-training became our best solution and enabled employees to learn more quickly after the installation.”
Technology Training Plan
The training team set an aggressive goal of installing the new technology at four locations per week over the courses of six months. This plan also comprised kickoff meetings with franchise owners, back-office training for owners, and hands-on POS training for managers at each location.
Within the CousinsU campus, a new store type was created so the new training courses could be assigned to specific locations as their installation date approached. The team wanted to ensure no location received the courses too soon so the knowledge would stay fresh in employees’ minds. Cousins Subs designed six highly interactive cashier courses and three manager POS courses. These courses served as a sneak peek into the new POS system and got employees excited about the new technology, while also providing essential training on key points to make the transition smooth and easy.
As a result, employees who took the new POS courses on CousinsU needed little to no help from in-store support teams. These team members could take orders and provide 100% guest-focused service without losing time to learn the new system on the spot. The impact of these courses not only benefitted store-level employees but also made the jobs of in-store trainers easier. The new technology rollout was seamless, and the training courses provided staff with the confidence to accurately perform the new tasks they learned.
“Creating training courses for the POS on CousinsU allowed us to positively impact learning for hundreds of employees without having to physically visit remote locations,” said Krahn. “It made our onsite training sessions more efficient and sped up the learning process once our in-store trainers arrived for support.”