HQ: Dallas, Texas | Restaurant Concepts: 10 | Locations: 25+
These past few years have seen a revolution in the world of workforce training and development, and it just so happens that George Donahue – one of our favorite people– has been leading the pack.
As Director of Training at Sixty Vines and Mexican Sugar for Front Burner Society, George isn’t just an innovator in the field– he’s also been a careful observer of its trends for years. (One of the reasons why his appearance on our podcast was such a hit!)
“1Huddle has exactly what you need and none of the stuff that you don’t need.“
Transitioning away from legacy LMS to 1Huddle was a pivotal move for George– and for his whole organization.
“I was looking for something more simple, more streamlined, something that allowed me to quickly get content out to the team and not need an entire team to do it.“
After 9 years of using legacy LMS software that required two production teams and weeks of prep before trainings could be rolled out, George switched to 1Huddle– suddenly transforming a process that had taken days, into one that took minutes.
“With 1Huddle, I can have a game up-and-going in 20 minutes.“
For more on how 1Huddle is empowering innovative and dynamic managers like George to fire up their teams, check out our conversation with him here:
Watch Our Interview with George
What follows is a full transcript of our conversation, edited for length and clarity.
George Donahue: My name’s George Donahue and I’m the Director of Training for Sixty Vines and Mexican Sugar. I’ve been using 1Huddle for two years.
Tell us about Mexican Sugar and Sixty Vines brands.
GD: They’re deeply experiential brands, each have a distinct purpose that we’re going after. 60 Vines is all about sustainability and helping people, inspiring people to have some sense of adventure and discovery as they approach wine .
And, at Mexican sugar, we’re really trying to celebrate Mexican culture through food, but also through really authentic, warm hospitality.
Both restaurants share a beautiful aesthetic, so that’s super important to us too. And, of course, the food is amazing.
What is something that excites you in the restaurant industry right now?
GD: I get really excited when I start hearing people talk about experience over sales. When I start hearing people talk about doing things differently than they’ve been done before that, that gets me excited.
I think what we’re seeing right now in our space is kind of a death of average. And so there’s a lot of like average restaurants that are gonna struggle because they’re too focused on PNLs and sales and not talking about the guest experience exclusively. Uh, so anytime around people that are talking about experience, I lean into that.
That’s what gets me going. I love that.
Why did you guys initially choose to use LMS?
GD: I used LMS for nine years. I needed an entire team of people to administrate it, to keep it engaging. I had to have video production, art production, you know, just basic administration of the system became bigger and bigger. It was very hard to keep up with.
So for me, I was looking for something more simple, more streamlined, something that allowed me to quickly get content out to the to team and not need an entire team to do it. And that was 1Huddle.
What is your favorite part of 1Huddle? Pick one thing.
GD: The live multiplayer games. Yeah. It’s my favorite. I think it’s the team’s favorite, too!
It gets pretty heated. It’s super competitive. It’s really fun. I think there’s a little bit of nostalgia about it too, cause it’s like Jeopardy meets Family Feud, and so people really react to that.
How would you describe 1Huddle to someone else?
GD: I would describe it to them as a learning platform that has exactly what you need and none of the stuff that you don’t need.
Can you tell me a little bit more about why you chose 1Huddle over an LMS?
GD: For me, I was looking for something more simple, more streamlined and it allowed me to quickly get content out to the team and not need an entire team to do it. 1Huddle is a tool that we use on top of shoulder-to-shoulder training.
It reinforces everything we do in the restaurant, everything that’s in their training schedules. But it’s so much more because all the questions are geared to exactly where the learner is at that moment. So whether it’s day four of training or MIT training or you’re a general manager with us, I’m able to build content very quickly that targets you where you are.
So it’s not a one-size-fits-all program. Consistency is super important for us.
You’ve seen a lot in the market. What would you say is the biggest difference between 1Huddle and LMS?
GD:The biggest difference there is, is the ease of administration. It’s very simple to launch content through 1Huddle.
In a lot of LMS’s, you’re looking at more days to do things, whether you’re building e-learning or you’re, you know, doing a video or you’re building a manual, or you’re doing all of those things at the same time. Now we’re like in months kind of thing. With 1Huddle, I can have a game up-and-going in 20 minutes.
What’s something you’ve been hearing from players that maybe surprised you?
GD: That they played at their house for six hours on a Saturday night. My favorite one was when somebody was at a party. They were at a party and they started talking about a wine game that we had, and they broke it out at a party, and they all started playing a game at a party like, it’s unheard of, right?
So, I mean, they just comment all the time on the addictive nature of it and the competition. And I think that’s what makes it so successful. So we have restaurants that are kind of across the country, right? And so we have people who are getting competitive up in our uptown location.
They’re getting competitive with our Boca Raton location, and you can’t really put a price on that. It’s connecting them too. You see them celebrate each other, but you also see them challenge each other. It connects them. You see them celebrate each other but you also see them challenge each other.
Anything else you wanna add?
GD: I think that’s it!
Thanks George, not just for being a great customer and friend, but for being a coach!
Keep crushing it.
Now, back to work.
1Huddle is a coaching and development platform that uses quick-burst mobile games to more quickly and effectively educate, elevate, and energize your workforce — from frontline to full-time.
With a mobile-first approach to preparing the modern worker, a mobile library of 3,000+ quick-burst employee skill games, an on-demand game marketplace that covers 16 unique workforce skill areas, and the option for personalized content, 1Huddle is changing the way organizations think about their training – from a one-time boring onboarding experience to a continuous motivational tool.
Key clients include Loews Hotels, Novartis, Madison Square Garden, PIMCO, TAO Group, and the United States Air Force. To learn more about 1Huddle and its platform, please visit 1huddle.co.
Dani Cahn, Communications and Creative Development
"1Huddle is a great tool to drive knowledge retention and make it sticky, make it fun, and also serves as a huge analytics tool for us to understand the quality of the stuff we’re rolling out.”
—James Webb, Global People Development & Engagement
Annual savings per location (312+)
“All of a sudden, people are playing the game multiple times a day to rack up points to get to the top of the leaderboard.”
—Lauren Constable, VP of Operations
Annual savings opening
5 new locations
“This thing is amazing. I’m awestruck with the power of this tool. 1Huddle makes running and operating restaurants fun and greatly increases our employees’ knowledge.”
—Tony Daddabbo, Director of Training
in training time
Annual savings across 60 locations