Yum! Brands is the world‘s largest restaurant company, generating more than $11.8 billion in annual revenues. It is the umbrella organization for well-known quick service restaurants and global category leaders KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. Even in the challenging economic environment of recent years, Yum! has continued to grow rapidly, especially outside the US, opening an average of five new stores daily. Its 39,000 restaurants worldwide are staffed by more than 1.4 million associates. With approximately 80 percent of its restaurants worldwide either franchised or licensed and a presence in more than 100 countries – maintaining consistent, high quality, standardized training is exceptionally difficult. For many years, each restaurant brand designed, developed and delivered training on its own.
Because of this, training varied significantly from region to region and even store to store. Tracking was managed by individual restaurants in Excel spreadsheets or with handwritten notes in personnel files. And it was difficult to measure the effectiveness of programs or determine their impact on company results.
With such a large workforce and a high employee turnover rate, Yum! made the decision to implement a unified learning solution based on Saba Software to manage their entire employee lifecycle process. The solution allows for online access to thousands of eLearning, virtual classroom, and instructor-led training courses – as well as facilitating real-time meetings and collaboration.
A phased global roll-out
In 2007, Yum!’s growth, expanding compliance requirements, and the dynamics of the restaurant business had created a number of imperatives in employee training. Learning needed to be delivered to team members faster, more efficiently and more consistently. The solution needed to make content development and administration simpler and cost effective. And tracking and reporting had to be built in.
To get started, Yum! rolled out the Saba platform to a select group of restaurants under one of its brands. The company called its learning environment the Learning Zone and offered an array of tools such as Web-based modules, on-thejob checklists, and online assessments. By initially focusing on one of its restaurant brands, Yum!’s learning team could design and configure the Saba solution to best meet the needs of all of its employees worldwide.
The phased deployments were well received, and Yum! began to roll out the Learning Zone to more team members in stores at all three brands worldwide. At the above-store level, Yum! University was moved onto the Saba platform where online compliance courses and a new leadership development curriculum were deployed.
By putting a single global system in place – which includes the virtual Saba Classroom for formal learning and Saba Meeting for real-time communication and collaboration – Yum! was able to achieve its cost objectives while still maintaining unique brand identity and training program flexibility for each of its restaurant chains. The colors and themes used in the marketing and advertising for individual brands (for example, purple for Taco Bell, red for KFC) were incorporated into each brand’s Learning Zone implementation. In addition, the Yum! brands were allowed to add and manage their own learning content as needed.
“The Learning Zone, with its Saba platform has been a breakthrough program for Yum! and is meeting our needs by enabling us to deliver consistent training within our multiple brands and multiple countries,” Woolf explained. “This solution also allows us to provide accessibility and navigation in 21 languages. Saba Classroom and Saba Meeting are erasing the distance between us and allowing our employees to collaborate cost effectively in real time, regardless of where they are located.”
Broad-based curriculum and certifications
Yum! offers an exceptionally broad-based curriculum targeted to a wide range of needs through Saba’s platform. This includes onboarding for new hires, extensive offerings for existing team members, leadership programs, and training designed to build and maintain the unique cultures at the three restaurant brands. In the stores, associates can choose from thousands of specific courses designed to provide needed technical skills – plus training for managers and management prospects. Yum! was able to break several eight-hour instructor-led training courses into shorter, multi-day Saba Classroom sessions, allowing more people to benefit from the training while reducing costs. In addition to the store-level courses, Yum! targets leadership training to a number of above-store functions such as human resources, finance, marketing and operations. Further, the company relies on Saba to manage critical compliance needs through online courses and assessments in food safety and more. Saba’s platform offers the capability of charging franchises for training, which has been especially important for Yum! Restaurants International.
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