Wendy's boosting the customer experience with engaging learning and development
Established in 1969, fast food innovator Wendy’s operates 6,650 restaurants across more than 30 countries. Ninety-five percent of these restaurants are franchise owned.
Founder Dave Thomas’s values remain an important part of Wendy’s everyday operations. “One of the ways we differentiate ourselves is with our commitment to quality. We want to delight every customer, period,” said Coley O’Brien, Chief People Officer at Wendy’s. “To achieve that level of quality, we develop and train our employees to be successful in their positions and bring our brand vision to life.”
Yet Wendy’s existing learning “technology” was predominately paper-based. “We used job aids and DVDs, which weren’t as effective or efficient as we believed they could be,” said O’Brien. “We knew we had to evolve our learning strategy to meet the needs of our learners and franchisees, and more importantly, to have a greater impact on business results.”
The pursuit of a new learning strategy led Wendy’s to Cornerstone OnDemand. “We needed a platform that was easy to use, one that integrated well with our other technologies. We also wanted a partner who could understand our unique needs and work with us to find the best solutions,” said O’Brien. “We partnered with Cornerstone and implemented Cornerstone Learning as part of a larger initiative to improve our processes and streamline our learning systems and processes.”
Today, Wendy’s delivers engaging, interactive and up-to-date training to more than 250,000 employees in 350 unique franchise organizations. “We built WeLearn, our eLearning platform for restaurants, on Cornerstone Learning,” said O’Brien. “We’re averaging 10,000 course completions in the system daily.”
Recently, the company also built Wendy’s University, a leadership training system, on the Cornerstone platform. “With Wendy’s University, we can deliver online blended learning solutions to our restaurant managers, multiunit operators and support management in the field.”
Achieved 98 percent training completion. Wendy’s executes food safety certification training to 250,000 employees annually, exceeding what is required by local, state and federal agencies. “Since we started using Cornerstone, it’s been seamless—and it’s gotten better every year,” said O’Brien. “From January to February of 2017, not only did we have 98 percent completion, but we didn’t have one single call into our help desk related to our food safety certification training.”
Linked Learning to Performance. Via WeLearn on Cornerstone Learning, Wendy’s offers 25 unique certifications. Analytics show that restaurants with employees that average 13 or more of these certifications outperform their peers. “These restaurants tend to have higher customer satisfaction scores, sales and customer counts, and decreased turnover,” said O’Brien. “We wanted an LMS that would help us deliver strong business results. We’ve seen that year over year with Cornerstone.”
Increased employee proficiency and engagement. Task simulations within WeLearn enable employees to practice food-related prep skills in a low-risk environment. “We believe it’s better for new employees to make mistakes while they’re learning,” said O’Brien. “With Cornerstone, they can practice their skills in online simulations before they work with real customers—and real food.”
Prepared for growth. Wendy’s is committed to expanding its footprint both globally and across the U.S., which will require training thousands of new hires. Using Cornerstone, the company is confident they’ll be able to seamlessly deliver learning opportunities to additional employees. “We see a lot of opportunities for growth. Cornerstone is playing a role in that growth,” said O’Brien. “We’re taking the successes we’ve had using Cornerstone and replicating that as we expand.”
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