Technologue: Holler & Dash Biscuit House

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Homewood, Alabama

Chicken.Set.Go sandwichHoller & Dash Biscuit House is a new fast-casual restaurant concept that combines delicious Southern traditions with modern flavors for bold new taste combinations. Served with a bit of swagger and a side of pickled okra, Holler & Dash (H&D) biscuit sandwiches are something different. I’d say the same about the people and operations behind this fun, new eatery.

Enspire was in Homewood, AL, for new employee orientation (NEO) pre-launch of the first H&D restaurant opening. In July, a Tuscaloosa location opened. Additional locations are opening this Fall. I sure hope they stick a pin in their map over Austin, TX. 

NEO is about establishing good first impressions, setting expectations, and laying the foundation for a community of people that works well together – ensuring success of the team and each individual contributor. Enspire began its partnership with H&D eight months prior to launch, when the restaurant was still in concept phase. From tasks and skills analysis to developing the employee handbook, Enspire collaborated in designing the training activities necessary for great employee performance on opening day, and beyond.

H&D believes an exceptional culture and workplace experience translates into an exceptional guest experience. Along with a fun and congenial staff, and the simple and fresh ingredients for delicious biscuit sandwiches and sides, the H&D experience embraces cutting-edge technologies. So rather than titling this post as a travelogue, I’m recalling my experience in a “technologue.” H&D is committed to a paperless workstream and technology-enabled experience for employees and guests alike.

The restaurant is infused with technology. Ten Apple iPads are used throughout operations – for self-service kiosks, cashiering, store inventory, policies and procedures, equipment manuals, employment forms, training videos, and more.

As an instructional designer, I was most excited by the use of technology for training and performance supports. The iPads provide information to employees whenever, wherever needed. Using the PlayerLync system, the iPads provide a growing library of training materials. Visual aids show how the Assembly Chef builds each biscuit sandwich combination. Recipe videos teach the Prep Chef how every biscuit-topping ingredient and side dish are made.

Together, H&D development staff and store employees grow the training library. When employees find better ways of doing a task – a time-saving or waste-reducing trick, for example – they pick up an iPad to create a new training video. These short 1- to 3-minute videos upload to all iPads at all restaurant locations. The “tribal knowledge” is shared and co-created.

Technology also helps expedite and enhance guest experiences. A favorite use of the iPads is as “line busters.” If the line is too long at the kiosks and cashier counter, an employee picks up an iPad and begins taking orders from guests waiting in line. Guests can also order online from their phone or tablet. The restaurant’s digital jukebox is Rockbot. With every visit (no purchase necessary), a guest gets Rockbot credits to select songs to play; plus, everyone can see what is currently playing, vote on favorite songs or playlists, create new playlists, and even be a featured deejay. H&D is looking into digital table “flags” to locate guests for food delivery via smart devices. Smart devices are already connected to the restaurant Wi-Fi to track temperatures in the walk-in refrigerator, and to maintain HVAC energy efficiencies. There are even Dyson Tap Airblade faucets in the restrooms for washing and drying hands directly in the sink.

H&D is now talking with Enspire about location-aware beacon technologies for “spot-on” performance support, game-based learning experiences, and augmented reality displays on the iPads.

H&D blends old-fashioned goodness with technological innovations for a new take on Southern traditions, and for employee training and development. It’s a delicious combination…now pass the grits and biscuits, please.