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This Onboarding Training Brought to You by Pizza

Domino’s is considered one of the top pizza chains in the U.S., and with good reason. A slice of Domino’s pepperoni pizza has crispy pepperoni in every bite, their selection of specialty breads is tantalizing, and they offer an array of drinks, desserts, and dipping sauces in addition to more conventional pizza delivery fare.

Not all companies realize that the onboarding experience sets the tone for the rest of the new hire’s employment.

Behind all this tasty food are the Domino’s employees who take and prepare customer orders. They make the sandwiches, mix the pastas, and optimally portion and place pizza toppings for “slice integrity.” It’s a lot to do and a lot to learn, and new hires require the very best onboarding. Otherwise, they fall behind. Knowing this, Domino’s chose to invest in improved onboarding training. They came to AllenComm for assistance.

Our Take on Onboarding Training

AllenComm is passionate about onboarding. We believe that onboarding is crucial to employee and company success, yet it’s often misunderstood. Not all companies realize that the onboarding experience sets the tone for the rest of the new hire’s employment. A new hire who is initially guided and given tools to succeed feels buoyed up through later tough times. A new hire who is largely ignored or halfheartedly onboarded starts out feeling undervalued and unappreciated and keeps on feeling that way. It’s much easier to get onboarding right and not worry about fixing damage later!

Because we know the importance of onboarding, we spend considerable time thinking about best practices. We find that the best onboarding training is focused on teaching and reinforcing behaviors needed for good job performance. And in a quick-paced, hard-skills-based industry like fast food, behavior-based onboarding is doubly important. New hires don’t usually have many or any transferable skills from previous employment. They must be taught everything from scratch—usually on the job in a high-pressure environment where every second counts!

How we Helped Domino’s

In Domino’s case, one problem with onboarding was a considerable skill gap between new hires and longer-term employees making the pizzas. It was difficult for new hires to learn to top pizzas quickly and accurately during onboarding, sometimes resulting in low confidence in their own skills. Those who didn’t feel confident often eventually settled in as low performers, cementing the skill gap and causing a variation in product.

Armed with that knowledge, AllenComm and Domino’s set out to teach and reinforce these pizza-topping behaviors:

  • Know recipes
  • Portion toppings correctly
  • Place toppings correctly
  • Top pizzas quickly

Together, we strategized and developed an online course with activities that realistically approximate the behaviors an employee needs to embrace when topping pizzas for customers. Printable on-the-job activities help new hires hone their recipe knowledge, while a combination of on-the-job and online activities give them practice topping pizzas the correct way and in the correct amount of time.

In upcoming articles, we’ll talk more about how the course was developed and the instructional design strategies used throughout. Spoiler alert: Domino’s loved the course, and it ended up winning an award.