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YO! on a roll with game-based learning


Attensi helped create an appetising menu of training for one of the world’s favourite Asian-inspired dining operators. It’s had a big impact on staff retention, skills and customer satisfaction…

 

The Japanese street food brand YO! tackles the same challenge every day – creating an experience that’s fresh, fun and unforgettable. Something that people love and want to return to again and again.

The same demands they place on their delicious dishes and brilliant service are mirrored in the training that keeps staff skills sharp at all their 100-plus restaurants around the world.

That’s tough to do.

It’s especially tough when high staff turnover means customers are more likely to be served by workers who aren’t as expert as more experienced colleagues.

That’s a worry, because serving a wide-ranging menu for a multitude of discerning diners every day requires a team with faultless knowledge of ingredients and dietary issues; an engaging and appealing manner with guests; and expertise in specific culinary skills. It takes craft and great care to prepare a perfect aburi salmon dragon roll, teriyaki beef or pumpkin katsu curry.

 

Expert service

YO! found the answer with game-based training.

Ian Watson, YO’s learning and development director, said it had a major, positive impact on performance. Recruits are much more likely to stay and succeed – and customers see the benefits in experienced and expert service.

‘Hospitality has got a very large churn in those first few months of people joining,’ said Ian.

‘Attensi has been really helpful in driving down turnover in the first few months, by up to around 10% in some areas.’

Our game-based simulation training transformed the way YO! delivers learning for its people. Staff loved the fun, flexible and easy to follow online scenarios we created – and it had an immediate impact on staff confidence, aptitude and retention.

The bitesize sessions had them hooked, and they returned to them over and over to improve their scores and beat their pals in a spirit of friendly competition.

Amazing staff

Watson said: ‘There’s been a cost saving to the time to competence. So when people join, getting people to a competent level, let’s say it’s in the kitchen or front of house, the time to train has been reduced substantially.

‘We used to allow around seven-and-a-half hours on the first day and that’s reduced substantially to about two-and-a-half hours.’

That’s critical for every business, because finding and keeping amazing staff isn’t easy – for lots of very good reasons.

First there’s competition. High streets and malls everywhere are full of dining chains, coffee shops and fast-food outlets all fishing in the same pool of talent.

In the UK for instance, where YO! is based in London’s fashionable and lively Soho district, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reports that hospitality businesses are more than twice as likely as other industries to experience challenges in filling vacancies.

Talent retention and attraction

Between August and September 2021, 30% of hospitality businesses said that vacancies were more difficult to fill than normal. This compares with 13% across all industries, according to the ONS.

The situation has not improved.

Staff churn costs money in developing recruits. It can also harm customer satisfaction.

It’s also difficult to recruit amid a perception that hospitality work is low paid and low status, with inflexible and unsocial hours. It’s sometimes seen as a temporary job on the way someplace else rather than a career.

 

Digital savvy

It doesn’t help that recruits are often drawn from the 18-25-years-old bracket – the so-called Generation Z, members of which often display different expectations of what they want from work compared to older demographics. Increasingly they want to work for businesses they respect, with similar values to their own. They want to work flexibly. They want to learn new skills and develop their talents.

A report by business intelligence consultancy Thought Exchange concluded that 73% of Gen Z employees will consider leaving an employer who didn’t share their values. They’re less likely to stay if they feel their long-term future doesn’t matter. That poses a challenge for managers.

‘Companies will need to adapt their policies, processes and technologies to recruit and retain the best new talent,’ said Thought Exchange.

But on the upside, Gen Z workers who do stay bring digital savvy, energy and extra dedication to a business where they feel a sense of belonging.

As Thought Exchange said: ‘Those who invest in Gen Z will be rewarded with long-term, dedicated employees who will hold them accountable and keep them relevant.’

Recipe for success

This is where game-based simulation learning scores big, because it works with the grain of Gen Z. It harnesses the technology they have grown up with, know, love and understand, and makes it relevant to their work and career.

Game-based simulations free workers to learn at their own pace. They can complete the training on digital devices anywhere, any time.

And because it’s fun, fresh and inspired by friendly competition, they come back to it again and again. That makes the learning stick.

As YO! shows – it’s the recipe for success in hospitality training.

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