In Order To Achieve Competitive Advantages In The Fast Food Industry Burger King Business Essay

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Burger King Corporation (BKC) is the world's second largest fast-food hamburger chain which trailing only McDonald's. Referring to Burger King Website, it shows that over 11 million customers visit their restaurants worldwide each day and over 2.4 billion of its burgers are sold each year across the global. How do they able to achieve it? What are the reasons? From my point of view, apart from their strategies, the main cause that leads to have these results today is their quality. Just like what have stated in our textbook: "quality is a wonderful tonic for improving operations." I believe that by having a good quality, it will bring the company to have a good reputation. This is important because it can affect the entire organization from suppliers to customers, by incurring the lower cost and obtain higher profit. Therefore, through managing and improving the quality, the firm will be able to build and implement successful strategies as well as provide competitive advantages.

In order to achieve competitive advantages in the fast-food industry, Burger King Corporation had put many efforts in their strategies in the past 50 years, especially the quality part. Fast-food industry such as Burger King, they produce products and service simultaneously. So, based on these two different aspects, quality of the BKC will be shown and how they manage, control, as well as improve their quality through their services and products, will also be elaborated in our assignment.

5.1 Products Quality

Burger King has good quality products because they take precautions to ensure that their food is safe and that the procedures they have in place for food preparation are rigorous and consistently followed. From raw materials and ingredient selection and handling, shipping and transportation, to how they serve food in restaurants, every step on the production path to delivering fresh and delicious meals to the guests around the world is held to the highest of standards. Based on five main aspects and other methods, the quality of Burger King's products is efficiently under controlled and managed.

5.1.1 Food Freshness

Freshness is one of their main criteria to achieve high quality foods. BKC sets up a new concept called 'Made fresh only for you' to ensure every customer gets the freshest product possible. Their products are made fresh for every customer's order, unlike other fast-food restaurants, theirs are made for stock. This gives the customer a better chance of getting a fresh meal which leads them to have good quality foods.

5.1.2 Food Safety

It is non-negotiable about the food safety at Burger King Restaurants. All Burger King's food, packaging and promotional products must be safe and they are delivered in time, in compliance, in specification, in temperature and intact. To have these results, Supply Quality Assurance team (SQA) is the Burger King main contributor who responsible for quality assurance. They use multiple and overlapping controls which is a comprehensive food safety program, to oversee suppliers and validate their compliance and performance. Besides, it is a proactive system that seeks to prevent contaminated foods from ever reaching the restaurants. Their reliance on farm controls, supplier sampling and distribution centre audits provide tight control over the quality of foods. A Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) management system is the principles they followed for assuring the safe production of their menu items. In addition, they also have their own testing and independent auditing program to assure food safety and quality.

5.1.3 Secure Supply Chain

The suppliers are selected on the basis of their ability to meet and consistently comply with BKC policies. They require suppliers to have a monitoring program that is stricter than most industry standards. Intensive quality assurance programs have to be established and must be validated by BKC testing and independent auditing programs. All along the supply chain, samples have to send to BKC-approved independent labs for evaluation. All finished products are tested at the manufacturing plants and good handling transport practices are verified at their approved distributors. They also employ a 24/7 electronic temperature monitoring system in all of their distribution centres to assure their foods is proper under the controlled temperature.

5.1.4 Raw Material Controls

To produce high quality products, the upmost essential cause is the quality of ingredients. BKC places a strong emphasis on the quality of ingredients it uses. They employ comprehensive testing at various levels from raw material to finished product for chicken, beef and pork to ensure that supplier testing is in place and functioning properly. Every lot produced for the Burger King system has had multiple and overlapping tests for a spectrum of microbial organisms as well as quality parameters. Furthermore, they also require detail reporting from all sources on every ingredient used.

5.1.5 Produce Controls

For every procedure, BKC will have a detailed inspection on their produce. They, through the suppliers, engage third party field audits and water micro sampling to test for a range of bacteria for all their produce. SQA uses strict rules to audit them. For example, lettuce undergoes pre-harvest audits and microbial testing as well as a safe wash during processing. Finished raw produce products are supplier and third-party sampled and sensory tested.

5.1.6 Restaurant Level food Safety

Burger King Restaurants operate under HACCP principles. Its procedures are posted on operations manual and made directly available to employees so that the consistency can be obtained. The foundation of BKC's HACCP program is the execution of strict operation and sanitation procedures. Their food safety program employs a broiler design and meat cooking procedures that fully cook products, killing any potentially harmful bacteria. Hence, restaurant management personnel must successfully complete a food safety training and certification program as well as comprehensive crew training program for safe food handling practices. Besides, technology is also important to maintain the foods quality instead of having the skills. BKC uses high-tech machine which called "Kitchen Minder", to maintain the foods quality. It reminds the employees to cook in the right amount of foods and maintain its freshness in "A+" status.

5.1.7 Animal Welfare and Antibiotics policies

There are two policies were done by Burger King Corporation, Animal Welfare Program and Antibiotics policy. They engage in both programs is to assure their customers' safety, welfare and social responsibility of agricultural materials used in their food products. In Animal Welfare program, BKC purchases the pork and eggs from crate-free pork and cage-free eggs instead of from the suppliers who use sow gestation crates and battery cage operation. On the other hand, an effort made on Antibiotics Policy is to ensure that it is administered appropriately in livestock. By doing so, BKC receives many other benefits. For instance, restricting the farm abusing problem, obtain good reputation, foster the humane animal care, encourage good animal husbandry and implement sustainable antibiotic use policies in the future.

5.1.8 Nutritious food

Burger King makes continuous improvement in their products by seeking way to increase the nutrition in their foods. The ways that BKC used is reducing salt levels and saturated fats in its core menu items. SQA and New Product Development team work together and successfully reduce the salt level in key ingredients such as chicken bites, chicken breast, flamed grilled beef burgers which made form 100% beef with no added salt, fries with no salt added as well, and many more. These are the evidence they implemented to make their food nutritious. Other ways they improve the nutritional profile of foods products include: the use of semi-skimmed milk and the use of cooking oils with zero trans-fat in order to reduce the fats content.

Besides, they sign up as an early adopter of the Food Standards Agency (FSA)'s calorie labelling trial and continue work with them to obtain news like what nutritional information people want when they eat in quick service restaurants. This helps them to easily meet the customer expectations and achieve higher quality foods. BKC also creates a Nutrition Advisory Panel that consists of outside experts in nutrition and health to provide guidance on the current nutrition environment and the continued development of their efforts.

5.1.9 Training

Training programs can result in significant effects in the quality. BKC has a Kitchen Practice procedure to maintain the highest product quality standards and to ensure the nutritional improvements they are making in core ingredients are not undermined by any uncertainties happens in the kitchen. They train their staff using the same processes every time through Seed Training programme, where each member of restaurant staff is trained in new product ingredients, builds and presentation. A substantial increase in the number of CRT (Certified Restaurant Trained) restaurants, which act as a benchmark for Operations and Training Excellence, to ensure they retain a high kitchen standard. BKC also launched the Right Track Training Staff programme which provides restaurants with a toolkit to carry out effective workstation training and enhances operational standards.

5.2 Service Quality

The quality of services is more difficult to measure than the quality of goods. It is unique as it depends on individual expectations and comparisons. As stated in the textbook: "9 out of 10 of the determinants of service quality are related to the service process". Therefore, in order to manage or improve service quality, managers can seek the problems and take corrective actions through this process.

5.2.1 Quick Response

A good service quality can be determined through the responsiveness which relates to the timeliness of the service. One of the Burger King Corporation's goals is provide a friendly and quick service. Therefore, employees are required to quickly and accurately provide whatever the customer chooses. To facilitate fast service, Burger King takes customer orders on a continual basis. One employee takes the customer's order whereas the order is prepared by another employee. Meanwhile, the original employee is taking another customer's order. Customers also get their own drinks while they are waiting for their meal. By doing so, it saves the employees' time for not preparing drinks or providing refills service. This greatly shortens the waiting time and results in an efficient manner. Task orientation is essential to meet the goal of fast food. Each employee is responsible for one duty and just has to be focused on the task at hand so that they will do the job best. This speeds up the serving time and leads to high quality service.

5.2.2 Training

BKC provides Worldwide Training which is responsible for design of global training initiatives, including in-restaurant training systems. Except from having training in handling the foods products, employees are also trained well to provide a good service. Always smiling, respecting guests, and behave friendly are the attitudes that BKC emphasize on so that the basic service requirement is achieved. Another criterion to grade the quality of service is competence, the possessions of required skills and knowledge to perform their service. Employees are trained and educated in professional ways so that they are able to fix the problem based on their knowledge and skills. This result in autonomy existed between the different positions. Moreover, reward system is implemented by BKC to motivate their employees. We are able to see the winner of each month best quality server in all franchise restaurants. Through training and reward system, employees' skills and motivation are generated and lead to have a better quality performance.

5.2.3 Communication

One of the determinants of service quality is the communication. A well communication skill can minimize the errors happen and lead to good quality service. Burger King possesses more than adequate communication. Employees give the customers feedback on their orders and enable them to double-check their order. Before handing them the order, they will verify again to make sure the order is correct. Besides, the manager is at the front letting him to be seen and communicate with the customers. This is the easiest way to get feedback from the customers and to understand the customers' needs. By knowing the customers' requirements, they will be able to improve their quality either in term of services or products. This also shows the courtesy, considerations and friendliness of the manager to the customers at the same time.

5.2.4 Inspection

Inspection is needed so that the service meets the quality level expected. BKC has its inspection program such as a yearly two-day check of each franchise and frequent unscheduled visits. These actions are done by the higher management level to observe and solve their problems simultaneously. BKC improves their service quality by minimizing the mistakes as possible. Furthermore, each franchise's manager plays an important role in controlling the service. They are the one who control every aspect of the entire food service process.

5.2.5 Environment

Environment such as atmosphere or climate of the restaurant is an important element in order to provide a good quality service. A harmony and pleasant climate will bring good performance of the employees. It is glad to see that there is a good relationship between Burger King's employees and its managers in most of the franchise restaurants. As BKC applies an open communication policy, the staffs feel no barriers to prevent their communication with the manager. Also, they appear to treat the manager as a friend instead of a superior. It is the main reason to have a harmony atmosphere so that the employees convey the attitude that they are there to assist the customers in any way possible. Therefore, atmosphere is also one of the reasons that maintain their service quality.

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