BrainTrust Query: Do Staff-Wide Training Investments Yield More Sales?
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is
a summary of a current article from Applied Predictive Technologies’ Food
For Thought blog.
In early March, Church’s Chicken closed all of
its Nashville locations for 18 hours for employees to attend "an intense
customer service training boot camp." While extreme, the "close
and train" theme had
occurred before. In 2008, Starbucks famously closed all 7,100 of its American
stores for three hours to train staff. According to a New York Times article
on the subject, Starbucks employees learned espresso-culture tips such as "without
aeration, the milk screams and lacks sweetness" and the "perfect
milk requires surfing the tip of the steam wand until the sound is ‘shhhh.’"
Starbucks has clearly recovered its mojo since 2008 (the stock has doubled
since the training day), the question remains: What is the incremental sales
impact of the training programs themselves? Do these programs overcome a breakeven
hurdle given the loss in sales (and potentially customer satisfaction) that
results from closing the network and turning away customers for a period of
While some chains made a statement with big ticket programs, all restaurateurs
and retailers make smaller ticket training program decisions on a regular basis
that are also designed to improve service and drive repeat business.
training programs, either by restaurant/store or by individual employee, companies
can measure the sales and customer satisfaction impact of these programs. Accurate
measurement requires comparing performance of staff participating in training
events against a set of control restaurants/stores or control employees with
similar characteristics who receive no additional training. By understanding
the holistic impact of a program, unhelpful programs can be cut or revamped.
By segmenting the impact to understand the store/employee characteristics most
closely related to greater program success, the right stores and employees
can be targeted for the next round of training efforts.
All of which leads
to true return on the large investment of taking stores or employees off-line
- Do Staff-wide Training Investments Yield More Sales? – Applied Predictive
- Starbucks Takes a 3-Hour Coffee Break – The New York Times
Discussion Questions: What’s the best method for training store associates? When are more extreme measures such as staff-wide, one-day training or even group training during non-store hours useful?