Vapiano: On course for expansion with Mobile Learning and the eAuthor

What can companies with an international orientation do to ensure uniform qualification worldwide? How can e-learning be implemented if the company’s employees are not equipped with the necessary hardware (e.g. notebooks, tablets or smartphones)? Which authoring system is suitable for creating and maintaining learning media as efficiently as possible in-house and how are these learning media made available to employees? It was precisely these challenges that the restaurant franchise company Vapiano had to face – with success! Meanwhile, several 1,000 Vapiano employees around the world are learning with the new Vapiano learning world and its learning media.

In order to support its expansion strategy and ensure a uniform qualification of employees worldwide, Vapiano has implemented a new e-learning concept in the form of a learning world together with the inside group of companies, which enables fast, comprehensive and efficient training of employees. The concept is based on two basic approaches: Bring-your-Own-Device and Mobile-First. This means on the one hand that every employee learns via app with his or her private end device (smartphone, tablet, notebook) and on the other hand that all learning media are primarily designed for optimal use with the smartphone.

In addition, the solution can be used internationally and is locatable, i.e. adaptable to the different languages, cultural circles and their needs. “Our goal was to implement a flexible, expandable and simple solution that would ensure uniform qualification worldwide and thus significantly reduce the time-to-competence. We succeeded”, explains Dominic Helmreich, Head of HR Development at Vapiano and co-responsible for the realization of the new concept.

The Vapiano Learning World

The Vapiano learning world was implemented with a variety of self-learning media, enabling employees to learn efficiently and in a self-directed manner at the stations of a Vapiano restaurant (pizza, pasta, bar, etc.). The entire qualification process is controlled via the learning world. Dashboards support employees in the learning process with important status information (including learning status and their certifications) and provide managers and executives with comprehensive information on the qualification status and training activities of their employees.

Employees access their learning media via the learning world. These include, among other things, interactive flash cards and videos with which they are taught the knowledge about the individual recipes in the form of small learning units in an entertaining and interactive way. At the same time, they apply what they have learned in practical, supervised exercises in the restaurant. If the employees pass the subsequent theoretical online test and the practical test in the restaurant, they are certified for the corresponding station. Vapiano employees also receive comprehensive support at the workplace, because all recipes are available in the cash register systems and are displayed step by step at “cooking speed”.

Efficient creation without programming knowledge

To implement the new e-learning concept, Vapiano uses the online authoring system of the inside group of companies, eAuthor 4.0. eAuthor 4.0 is an efficient tool with which the Vapiano authors are able to create and maintain their individual and multimedia e-learning media independently and without programming knowledge.

While the learning world and the online tests were realized by inside, both the creation and maintenance of the learning media and the administration of the employees (e.g. the creation of a new employee or restaurant in the system) is carried out by Vapiano. Various individual templates and didactic patterns support the authors in the creation. The so-called recipe manuals, which contain information and knowledge units on the recipes – such as ingredient lists, the individual to-do steps and additional information on allergens and nutrients – were transferred to the eAuthor by the Vapiano authors. All interactive flash cards with their diverse interaction possibilities and various multimedia elements, such as texts, photos, graphics, animations, audios and videos, were “built” by them.

Reusability of content

Representation of a recipe in an interactive flash card on tablet and smartphone.

A special highlight that makes working with eAuthor 4.0 extremely efficient for Vapiano authors is the reusability of the content. This is made possible by the so-called single-source-of-truth approach. The advantage: The individual information or knowledge units are only created once and can be reused in any media. The recipe manuals are the knowledge base at Vapiano. All contents from the recipe manuals are reused in the interactive flash cards. This not only facilitates the creation of the media, updates only have to be carried out once in the recipe manual in order to bring all media up to the same level.


In addition, data is stored in a central location in the form of variables, e.g. there are variables for the ingredients and quantities of the individual recipes. If a quantity is changed, the one-time adjustment is sufficient and all data is automatically updated.

“The reusability of the content on the one hand and the variables on the other hand save us around 50 percent of the time we need to build our learning media. At the same time, the quality is improved because the risk of errors is minimized by the reusability,” explains Dominic Helmreich, who has created more than 100 interactive flash cards with his team.

Mobile Learning via Smartphone

The eAuthor 4.0 also offers optimal conditions for the implementation of the Mobile First strategy, because all media that are created with it are fully responsive, i.e. they automatically adapt their control (mouse or gesture control), their size as well as the quantity, arrangement and presentation of the content to the end device used for utilization (smartphone, tablet or notebook).

Country-specific learning world

A user interface available in several languages, export and import functions in the international HTML standard, as well as the consistent support of multilingualism in the system predestine the eAuthor for the creation of international applicable media. With the help of the eAuthor, a central learning world with identical structure was created for the 33 countries, which is published in the national language and in English. However, the learning media in the learning worlds of the particular countries have been individualized according to country-specific requirements: Thus, country-specific dishes were supplemented or existing dishes were adapted to country-specific variations in the ingredients. The flash cards for the country-specific recipes can be created and updated locally by Vapiano authors in the respective countries.

Comprehensive report functions

With the eAuthor 4.0 Extended Edition licensed by Vapiano, the Learning Cloud provides the company with a modern learning portal. All the learner’s learning and processing statuses are stored centrally in the Learning Cloud. This provides the learner with an up-to-date overview of his personal learning status in the various stations and his current certification level via the so-called learner cockpit. Selected groups of people, such as restaurant managers, shift leaders, etc. can also call up management dashboards and management reports. These provide them with a cumulative overview and detailed information on the qualification status of their employees.

Integration into the Vapiano infrastructure

Since eAuthor 4.0 is a platform-independent software, the learning world could be completely integrated into the existing infrastructure. Thus, the data exchange with other Vapiano systems is possible without any problems, as is the convenient one-time authentication of users by means of Single Sign-On (SSO), with which they can access all contents of the entire Vapiano system landscape they are authorized for.


With the help of eAuthor 4.0 it was possible to implement a new, efficient e-learning concept that can be easily expanded as part of the growth strategy and guarantees uniform, fast and efficient qualification of all employees. Regardless of their location, language, culture, education or previous knowledge, everyone is taught the same quality standards in an acceptable time-to-competence and with the end device of their choice. Further information about the eAuthor and further best practice at


Vapiano SE:
Vapiano SE is a rapidly expanding restaurant franchise company based in Cologne. It was founded in 2002 and today is represented with approx. 15,000 employees in 205 restaurants and 33 countries with many different languages on 5 continents: By 2020, Vapiano wants to grow to 330 restaurants.

The Author

Tobias Schwung

is responsible at VAPIANO SE for the further development of the eLearning system and for the introduction of a knowledge management system. The integration of the system into the “living environment” of the employees is in the foreground. For the employee, learning and access to knowledge should be an everyday and normal process.


Vapiano SE

Contact person:
Tobias Schwung
HR Development Consultant

Im Zollhafen 2-4
D-50678 Köln

Phone.: +49 (0) 221 / 6 70 01-0