Popeyes designated restaurant managers as certified training managers

Scenario

Fast Food Chain Maintains Training Excellence with Questionmark

Maintaining consistency of quality and service within a chain of fast food restaurants takes constant vigilance. Restaurant managers need to understand food preparation processes in addition to keeping their finances in order and maintaining high standards of cleanliness and fast service.

Popeyes Chicken and Biscuits, with 1,504 locations in 41 states, the District of Columbia and 18 countries, has approached this challenge by designating some restaurant managers as certified training managers.

Solution

The restaurants earn the designation of certified training restaurant by meeting many criteria including passing scores on an Operations Assessment, meeting criteria on the Training certification checklist, and having a current food safety certificate.

The training managers ensure that manager trainees get complete training in food preparation and operations management. Popeyes requires all certified training managers to take an annual Questionmark test to ensure their knowledge is up to date. Once manager candidates have completed their training, they too take the exam.

"We decided to put our restaurant management test online instead of using pencil and paper," explains Popeyes Training Designer Janice Paul. "This means our managers can access the exam whenever they like, within a range of dates that fits in with the annual certification renewal period. We've had people take the exam at home, in a library, at the franchise partner's office, in all sorts of locations!"

"To pass the test, managers need to answer 90 of the 100 questions correctly. If they answer a question incorrectly, they are given the correct answer. So the exam is a learning tool as well as a testing tool.

"If trainees do not pass after two attempts, they usually continue to work in the restaurant for a few more weeks before applying to take the test again. We especially like the idea that the trainee knows their score immediately. As a corporation we also like the idea that no one else has access to this, that the questions can be randomly presented so that everyone is not taking the exact same exam."

Results

Paul says one of the greatest advantages of online testing is the ability to keep the test up to date easily.

"We can constantly update the training managers' exam to keep pace with changes in products and procedures, so it's very cost effective to run our testing program this way," she explains. "We don't have anyone out there taking an old test! When someone is ready to take the test, he or she emails us to request a user name and password. We immediately send the person the link to the test and the information needed to access it. The only test they can take is the latest version."

Another advantage of online testing: instant notification.

"We love it, because we know immediately if someone has taken the test. The training manager doesn't have to copy the test, have the candidate fill it in, then mail it back to us. We can just access the test results online. We don't have to dig through the mail any longer."

"We are very impressed with Questionmark and plan to do more things with it," adds Popeye's Director of Training Mary Lou Atkins. "Someday we would like to create pre and post testing for each of the job stations on-line with a link to the Questionmark database. This would enable us to monitor the trainees' progress each step of the way."

About Popeyes

Specializing in New Orleans-style chicken, Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits is the world's second-largest quick-service chicken chain (in terms of sales).

Popeyes, a division of Atlanta-based AFC Enterprises, was founded in 1972 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The chain began franchising in 1976 and, since that time, has added more than 270 franchise partners. In addition to restaurants in the United States, the company has restaurants in Japan, Germany, Korea, United Kingdom, Mexico, Panama, Honduras, Jamaica, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Guam, Canada, Korea, Thailand and Jordan.