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A critical evaluation of Impressive Burgers approach to expanding their operation
Impressive Burgers PLC indeed is a fast food chain that faced stiff competition from its customer and must therefore maintain quality products that are served in good time to the customers. Due to an increase in its customers, Impressive Burgers PLC will need to expand its operations. Prior to doing so, the fast food chain will have to carry out a feasibility study to establish the best strategies to employ in expanding its operations. Currently the existing customers are fighting for the limited resources in terms of space and fast food products. Most of the customers complain that they rarely get their fast food solutions met due to the limited menu choice. Therefore, Impressive Burgers PLC will consider increasing its menus to cater for a large number of its customers. Customers are indeed diverse and require to be given a large variety of choices. What one customer may like, another may abhor. All these should be considered by Impressive Burgers PLC in expanding its operations.
Impressive burgers PLC intends to expand its operations from the existing outlets, they have decided to hire an operations manager to assist in the problems they are having before they embark on expansion. The first task that the operations management is required to do is the identification and the evaluation of the fast foods organization's expansion approach. Identification of the reasons behind PLC's expansion problems and making recommendations based on the point identified. According to Krajewski, Ritzman and Malhotra (p.112), the operations of a firm are determined by the firm's effectiveness in managing its resources. The firm will therefore be able to manage its available resources for the expansion of its operations into other facets.
Perhaps the first step in its expansion would be to assess the number of customers who walk into the firm's restaurants in the busiest branch. This should then be further divided into customers who eat within the premises and those who opt for take-away fast food products. After determining the number of customers and their respective classes, Impressive Burgers' operations manager should then review the menu in terms of the customers' views on it. This will involve contracting a team of cute girls who will approach the customer with a questionnaire and fill in the questionnaire after the customer has finished his food. It would give an indication of which menu is the best and which one is the worst among those that are currently being offered.
Operations in an organization are the responsibility of the operations manager, basically operations involves the management of the production of goods and services. The management of operations involves the embracing of the organizations design, planning of all operations, control and the improvement of performance and the formulation of operations strategy. The responsibilities of this position involve the management of the human resource, the management of this resource is important as the way in which they are handled greatly determine the success of the organization.
The operations' position entails the management of the organizations' assets; assets directly determine the production process of the organization. The buildings, equipment, vehicles and even the stock are used in the production of the organizations goods and services. Proper use of the assets means that the organization reduces on the running cost, the proper use of energy, from electricity to fuel used for heating or cooking is important at the savings made on assets are a profit to the organization.
Proper management of the assets means that they cut their expenditures and they avoid wastes of raw material in production. The operations arm of the organization is involved in the management of cost, they are responsible for the effective management of running costs of the organization; the production of the goods and services and the delivery of these goods and services to their consumers. According to Barnes (p.56), the operations management of fast food restaurant is gauged by its ability to effectively implement a thorough system of self-audits.
Moreover, the operations manager should consider training the staff adequately on the best methods before expanding the operations of Impressive Burgers PLC. This will ensure that enough capacity has been built prior to expanding infrastructure and operations in general. At this point, the operations manager would prefer to take stock of the staff numbers and compare this with the customers that they serve. This would effectively lead to the manager determining the best way of ensuring that the head count is fine.
In addition, the operations manager should also ensure that the kitchen facilities are at a good state and meet the requirements of the catering department. New equipment may be acquired. Finally, before implementing the expansion, the operations manager should develop a manual that stipulates how to perform basically all tasks within the fast food chain. This manual will be used as a procedures book to guide the current and new employees on the best practices that should be utilized in developing excellent fast food solutions.
This will then be followed by a complete makeover of the fast food restaurant. The makeover will entail acquiring new seats and expanding the existing sitting area to ensure that more customers are accommodated at any given time. Furthermore, the customers should be informed prior to this since the expansion will affect the fast food restaurant's operations for a couple of days as the renovations and expansions go on. It will only be fair to give a month's notice, thus ensuring that the customers are well informed beforehand. This may be done via the media or through posters and billboards.
Impressive Burgers PLC should also offer a wide range of fast food products and more menu solutions. This will ensure that the fast food giant serves the needs of its diverse customers. A limited menu often turns off the customers as they seek other restaurants that offer a wide variety of choices. Impressive Burgers PLC will have to install customer complaints or suggestion box at the entrance of the restaurant.
Similarly, customers who are infuriated by the service offered to them should be handled on the spot and taken to a separate room where they will be offered with special advice. This war room should be located within the restaurant and should have a dedicated staff to cater for the few complains that may be witnessed. Shim and Siegel (p.44) insinuates that many organizations are indeed caught up in dilemma when it comes to ensuring that the firm effectively implements its expansion strategies.
The key to the success of Impressive Burgers PLC would be excellent customer service. Therefore, this should be at the back of every mind when determining the expansion strategies. The customer is the most important person to be considered in expanding the operations of Impressive Burgers PLC. Hence, it is imperative that the operations manager develops a prescribed way of handling customers thus averting any customer complaints that may result in the process. It is indeed true that customer service is the only way to ensuring that the firm succeeds in its quest to excel in the fast food industry. Therefore, it is important for the firm to ensure that there are effective ways of managing expansion strategies.
Impressive Burgers PLC should expand to new outlets by first of all improving its operations in the current branches. This will ensure that the company emerges a success in its operations and thus giving the best fast food solutions to its customers.
Rationale behind the company's problems and suggestions
Impressive Burgers PLC faces a myriad of problems, most of which emanate from within. First and foremost, the company faces the problem of limited menu solutions. As discussed earlier, fast food customers often seek a wide variety of menus which are mostly exotic in nature and unique to each customer. This is because; the customers have been to other fast food restaurants and have tasted different menus. They therefore seek a unique menu. Most of the customers who frequent Impressive Burgers have complained of eating the same food always. They seek different menus that will offer them a unique experience. Hence, Impressive Burgers should try and introduce more menus into their operations to ensure that customers have a wide variety of choices.
The rationale behind this problem is that there is lack of flexibility and innovations. The onus of ensuring that there is adequate menu solutions lies with the operations manager who is charged with the responsibility of innovating and introducing new menus into the fast food restaurant's operations (Slack, Chambers and Johnston, p.38). This would ensure increased success in terms of serving customers and ensuring effective systems for sustaining the fast food restaurants.
The goal of Impressive Burgers is the provision of fast take away food to their customers quickly and of a higher quality to that of their rivals. They first set out with a common menu for all their restaurants who offered a simple menu structure with a choice of six set meal options.
- Burger, Chips & Soft Drink
- Cheese burger, Chips & amp; Soft Drink
- Chicken Burger, Chips & amp; Soft Drink
- Vegetarian Burger, Chips & Soft Drink
The choices were served with choices of sizes; regular, medium or large for each meal.
The size of the chips and drinks portions varied but the burger size remained the same. Using this format they were able to serve each customer their order within 4 minutes from an ordering at the till to receiving their complete order to take away.
Impressive burgers goal was met because they effectively served they customer in 4 minutes, the uniform meals meant that the customer was in a position to make a quick order based on prior knowledge of the menu. Fixed menus meant that there was uniformity in their chain of restaurants, fixed meals reduced on ordering time and the preparation time; this earned them a good reputation as a fast food joint and therefore increasing their customer base. The increase in customers meant that they had good profit margins that enabled them to expand. They added more restaurants and more choices of food on the menu to give their consumers variety and to cater for the health conscience customers.
The strategy of impressive burgers to expand was good at the time, as they felt confidence in the market. Following the expansion of the restaurants, they were an immediate decline in the overall performance of their plan and profits started declining with a loss in the loom.
On the other hand, there have been complains from the customers regarding the manner in which the staff act towards the customers. There have been reports of agitated and rude staff that are often insensitive to the customers' needs. According to the operations manager, the staffs are underpaid thus offering service that does not meet the standards of a quality fast food restaurant. Staff may be heard hulling insults at each other and often click when they are asked a question by the customer. This issue of staff agitation may be addressed by introducing a code of ethics that will bind the habits and operations of each staff member. Stern disciplinary action should be taken against any staff member that contravenes the code of ethics.
In effect, this would ensure that staff members do not exhibit their differences in the open. Staffs who are found to be misbehaving even after signing the code of ethics should therefore be dismissed summarily. Similarly, first time mistakes should warrant warnings.
The other solution to bad staff behavior would be to introduce a system of self-audits where other staff would be able to assess the behavior of the others through a well coordinated process. In other words, the process would be carried out frequently and staffs who are implicated continuously by the rest should be summoned and reprimanded effectively. According to Schroeder (p.67), businesses should implement the best practices that are formidable to the performance of the company.
Impressive Burgers PLC also faces a major problem with the orders made by customers. Staffs often have problems delivering the requested orders; the orders are either incomplete or incorrect, thus leading to a waste of time by the serving staffs. The amount of time taken to serve customers has increased tremendously to 9 minutes from the previous 4 minutes. Most of the customers are finding it difficult to wait that long as evidenced by the frequent walk outs. It is indeed appalling that customers should wait for that long before being served.
Perhaps the best way to deal with this problem would be to train the staff adequately on the ways of dealing with the customers' requests. Customers' requests should be succinctly acted upon. The staffs should be retrained by the operations manager on the best practices. Moreover, the staffs should be made to be accountable for their mistakes. This way, they will be able to take orders correctly and accurately. This will reduce the delay time between the time that the customer makes his order to the time they receive it. The operations manager should consider a change of staff serving the customers. This will perhaps ensure that the customers are served with qualified and capable staffs. Capable staffs should be able to reduce the delays between the order time and the time the customers receives their orders.
The problem of waste has equally aggravated within Impressive Burgers PLC. There is a lack of a clear waste management system. It is often to encounter foul smell at the back of the restaurant which is as a result of uncollected garbage. Waste management is imperative since it ensures that there is sufficient management of the garbage that emanates from the fast food restaurant. This is an important part of the operations management (Johnston, p.13). The solution to this would be to effect an effective waste management system that would ensure that there is a waste management system.
Improving overall operation
Impressive Burgers should indeed adapt strategies that would be imperative in improving its overall operations. The firm intends to open up new branches fast food chains across the country. The firm will need to carry out a feasibility study. There are several ways in which the operations can be expanded in improving its overall expansion strategy. It is imperative that the expansion process is successful by all means.
The overall operations would be improved by firstly ensuring that there is a time frame to the expansion program of the fast food restaurant. Allocating a specific time will help keep track of the progress that has been made by the operations manager in the expansion of the firm's operations. There should indeed be a set of protocols that will govern the expansion of the fast food chain.
In improving the overall operation, the operations manager will further ensure that there are adequate staffing requirements to meet the operational needs of the fast food chain restaurant. The number of staff should be adequate to be able to handle the expansion tasks of the firm. Moreover, the staffs should be adequately trained to be able to handle the tasks sufficiently and with skill. This will not only limit waste, but ensure that the tasks relating to the expansion of the fast food chain are being performed professionally. There should be a well organized chain of command that will guide the operations of the expansion initiatives. Bettley, Mayle and Tantoush (p.79) reveal that firms should be innovative in ensuring that they adequately meet the market needs and deliver excellent customer solutions.
The incorporation of healthier meals in the menu and a variety of choices of food in the menu, attracted more customers to the restaurants. The expansion of the restaurants did not also involve the expansion of the facilities; the numbers of the workers remained the same. This meant that the same number of workers had to use the same preparation machines to prepare more and varied meals. At the same the variety of meals attracted more customers; the same number of workers had to serve a larger number of customers. This meant that the serving times had increased dramatically and it now took an average of 9 minutes for a customer to be served. The number of customer complaints has increased; the main complaints include rude and agitated staff and incorrect or incomplete orders. The reason for rude and agitated workers was the fact that they had to make more meals with fewer resources while serving more customers. Both customer and worker were not satisfied, the worker felt over worked, the variety in orders and the number of customers meant that orders were served wrong with missing ingredients or they were wrong orders.
The lack of an expansion of the equipment and the addition of the workers together with the varied menu meant that the serving time for any menu doubled. Customers now complained of a whole nine minutes from order to serving compared to their earlier record of four minutes, and even longer if the order was wrong. The complaints of the customer agitated the worker, the workers had to deal with a more complex menu, the ratio of customer to worker was huge, the pressure on the worker was great, and this caused agitation in them. The agitated worker then passed their frustration onto the customer, the customer felt insulted and this caused them to leave the restaurants, causing a decline in consumption.
Another reason for the decline in business was the fact that the quality of food in the restaurants declined, the management stuck to their old routine of ordering for goods once in a week, while their need for the resources increased as customers increased. They had targeted the health conscious customers with healthier foods, but these foods are only good if they are fresh, a health conscious customer requires fresh produce. Foods that are delivered once a week are not considered to be fresh. The second fact was that workers were not able to work with the limited facilities; this implied that there were high losses in the kitchen. More produce was ordered for but they had to store in the same refrigerators. The demotivator workers could not produce quality food from the fact that they were tired from the large menus that required too many details. With their productivity down the workers served poor quality food that was both not fresh but also badly prepared.
A lack of employing more workers to satisfy the increasing number of consumers meant that, the workers could not effectively serve them and the same time keep up with their duties. This meant that the hygiene of the establishment went down. Poor hygienic standards, bad food and poor services lead the customers to be dissatisfied. These factors lead to the decline of the customers, a decline in the customers and a combination of losses from waste lead to low profits.
In conclusion, Impressive Burgers would be able to expand into opening new branches of the fast food restaurants. The fast foods chain will achieve this through having trained staff and enough financial resources. Hence, Impressive Burgers will be able to organize a perfect mix of new strategies aimed at improving the operations of the firm. The firm will also be able to reduce waste and time taken to serve its customers effectively. This will give the firm an edge against its competitors.
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