Mobile App and iPads Deployed to Successfully Engage and Train In-Store Employees


California Pizza Kitchen (CPK), the authority in creative dining with a California vibe, was founded in 1985 with its first restaurant in Beverly Hills. Since then, it has become a global brand known for creative California cuisine and has grown to nearly 300 restaurants in 15 countries and 218 cities around the world. With more than 14,000 employees, CPK spends considerable time and resources training and educating part-time and hourly workers to keep them updated on new menu items, safety procedures and cooking techniques.


As is common in the restaurant industry, CPK faces a number of challenges not only in the training of its staff, but also in communicating with thousands of workers who are located in different locations around the world. Some of these challenges include:

  • Current training materials, instructional guides and safety procedures are stored on DVD’s as well as on paper in binders, making updating time-consuming and expensive
  • A majority of employees are Millennials, work part-time and do not have a company email address
  • Most non-corporate employees, particularly those on the front-line in restaurants, do not have access to the company’s Intranet, located in the back office only

Given the shift from desktop computing to mobile, CPK sought a way to make training, safety and instructional information available to its employees via tablets that could be installed in its restaurants. The company also sought a cost effective way to store this information and to do away with the inefficiencies associated with old school technologies and paper.



In researching its options, the CPK Training and New Restaurant Openings team decided to implement theEMPLOYEEapp, an employee engagement app, for the following reasons:

  1. theEMPLOYEEapp was a white-labeled solution that allowed CPK to have its own branded app on tablets rather than requiring employees to download a generic app.
  2. All of its training and communications materials (videos, documents, images, etc.) could be stored and be made available instantaneously in a mobile friendly way at all of its locations.
  3. The employee engagement app could be deployed in a very short period of time without significant IT involvement and at a fraction of the cost of independent development.


In July 2015, CPK launched “PizzaWise,” its branded mobile app. In doing so, it utilized iPads in 200 restaurants in 35 states across the U.S. As a private, enterprise app, only employees have access to PizzaWise and can do so by accessing one of the conveniently located iPads in their restaurant. The app is opened over 8.5 times per day and allows employees to access all of CPK’s proprietary recipes in the station allowing for increased efficiency.

Our PizzaWise mobile app has been a successful addition to the broader CPK training and development effort. Not only are we now providing employees with information in a mobile friendly and convenient manner, but theEMPLOYEEapp also allows us to push updated materials and information instantaneously to our many locations, saving us considerable expense from what used to be a manual process.

Kirby Lottman

Director of Operations Training and New Restaurant Openings, California Pizza Kitchen

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