Quality and efficiency are known as key components of business strategy. The concept of efficiency, along with the capability of quality, will help organizations to attain service excellence. Today organizations need to manage continuous process improvements and innovation in quality to meet customer satisfaction and expectations. In the given case we are looking for answers of basic questions which will help the Jose’s Mexican restaurant in obtaining higher quality and to make its services more efficient. The restaurant is suffering from the poor service standards and thus losing its brand image. There are various problems faced by restaurant in form of limited off street parking, long waiting time for diners, slow service execution and in some cases on standard quality of products.
These problems can be attributed to various factors like limited space, limited staff, poor supply chain and lack of standardization of the process. We will try to analyze different problems by doing the root-cause analysis of various problems and also provide the solution to these problems in this case study.
The impact of poor quality is creating a bad brand image for the restaurant and its impact is visible in the low tips given to the waiters, although it is a short term cost associated with the bad services, but the perceived value of restaurant quality will create a bad word of mouth publicity and thus cause a potential business loss.
During the case analysis we will try to use various tools of operation management like Pareto chart analysis, fish bone cause -effect analysis to find the various cause of problems and also do the cost benefit analysis of different solution to find the optimum solution. The main objective of this case study is to find the solution of the problems faced by the restaurant in a effective and efficient manner by optimizing various parts of supply chain.
Major issues discussed
We will try to figure out major issues given in the case and does the root cause analysis of the same one by one, along side we will also try to provide the most justifiable solution of the same on the basis of cost-benefit analysis.
Limited free off road parking is one of the problems as suggested in the case, since the expansion of the parking area does not seems to be a feasible option due to the location of the restaurant. And expansion of parking facility will be very costly, we cannot provide any solution of the same and customers need to take care of this problem by themselves. Alternate solution is to shift restaurant to some other location but this will lose the location advantage and thus cannot be termed as feasible solution. Valet parking can be provided but it depends on the customer segment which is not clear from the case.
Absence of waiting area for diners
Since the restaurant does not have any separate waiting area so customers need to wait for about 45 minutes on Saturday nights. The possible solution of this problem is to create a waiting area by either increasing the floor area of restaurant or rearranging the floor plan of restaurant to accommodate the more people. Restaurant need to hire a consultant to do analysis for changing floor plan. Since this is the problem encountered mainly on Friday and Saturday nights restaurant can start reservation system for the same on weekends so that customers can come according to the booked time and need not to wait for dining.
Long Food Preparation Time
The time required to complete a meal, once it is ordered is 12 minutes. This can be reduced by increasing the kitchen staff by hiring contract helpers on weekends. Since accordingly to case the main problem of delay happens generally on the weekends. Thus contract or weekend helper can be used to support the head chef on the required days which will ease the burden on the head chef and instead of cooking the whole meal he can concentrate on the quality of the food.
Manual Quality Control by Cook
There are no quality control guidelines and the whole kitchen operations are dependent on the chef operational ability which are creating inefficiency in the operations. The schedule production of the meals is based on the intelligence of chef and it may cause human errors. Thus a new system need to be introduced where all the ordering and processing should be done according to the guidelines of written format which need to be developed in consultation with chef and other restaurant staff , accompanied by the past data on the time required for cooking of each dish and the ingredients required for the same.
Lack of staff
An additional staff can be hired on the weekends on temporary basis for different operations like bill preparation as restaurant is only taking cash and major credit cards and processing each transaction will take some time and thus increase the occupancy of available seats also increase . The additional staff can also help in serving the tables and bringing different products from cold storage to the kitchen. In this we can decrease the processing time of every order on weekends. The new training regime can also be introduced to make the working of waiters more efficient. Technology like centralized bill processing and order sequencing can also help in optimization of various process in the restaurant.
Non Standard Supply Chain for base products
The problem with the non standard products can be dealt by signing a SLA(service level agreement) with the provider for providing a standard product range at the standard price rate. The SLA should include the penalty clause in cause of standard violation by the provider and thus this penalty clause in term of monetary fine will deter the provider from providing low grade products and bring the standardization in the process with timely delivery of good quality products and due to standard pricing the budgeting and estimation of the dish price can be maintained uniform through out the year.
Analysis of Customer Survey
The customer survey is provided with the case gives the very basic idea of the problems present in front of the restaurant:
Consumer Survey Results
Would you seat promptly?
Was your waiter satisfactorily?
Were you served in reasonable time?
Was your food enjoyable?
Was your dining experience was worth the cost?
Thus out of sample of 83 people we have the following results on the basis of which we can develop a histogram.
Histogram: Histogram is a graphical display of frequencies, which is shown as rectangular bars. They are used to plot the density of data, and often for doing estimation of the density..
Histogram will give a general trend analysis and help us in finding the distribution of responses an the basis of which we can do the further analysis. Histogram is a visual representation of frequency and thus easy to understand the pattern or trend of the responses or data.
From the chart it is clear that the major problem of the people is time and thus it is need to be fixed on the priority basis.
Doing the Pareto analysis will give us the most significant problem in front of us. Thus with help of it we can decide which problems need to be resolved on priority basis and generally these problems are inter related so that if we take care of major problems some of minor co related problem will be solved by themselves, like in this case may be the delay in the service causing low satisfaction in the customer and hence they do not see the worth of expanding money in the restaurant.
Hence we need to find the solution of problems from the right hand to the left one and after each resolution , a new survey and analysis need to be done to find the process and satisfaction improvement. Generally by removing the major problems , related small problems will go away and thus we required to do such analysis to find the total impact of the changes made.
Questions and Answers
Q1. How should quality be defined in this restaurant?
“Quality itself has been defined as fundamentally relational: ‘Quality is the ongoing process of building and sustaining relationships by assessing, anticipating, and fulfilling stated and implied needs”(How you define quality)
Quality at the restaurant can be divided into two parts; Service quality & Product quality.
Service Quality: Service quality is the quality parameter measured on the efficiency and effectiveness of different services. Like the time taken to serve the dishes from order booking to serving and ambience of the restaurant, the parking facility etc. These services will help in creating a good/bad impression of the restaurant and thus create a brand image. The perception of people of different services is different. The similar service can be perceived by two or more customer might be totally different and thus it is important to find the actual service quality and perceived service quality , by taking care of the target customers as for example the daily office goers diner perceive fast and efficient service much better than the weekend diner who want good ambience more than fast service.
Product Quality: Product quality is defined as the collection of characteristics and features of a product which contribute to product’s ability to satisfy given requirements. In this cause the product quality can be defined as the quality of the dishes, whether they have authentic Mexican taste and the products are tasty according to the requirements of the customer, so that they can find the dining experience worthy of their time and money .
Q2. What are the restaurants’s cost of poor quality?
There are various costs associated with the poor quality which can be defined as:
Prevention: Cost which occurred to prevent , operations and procedures from failing like quantity planning so that adequate raw material is available, recruitment and training costs of new staff and any cost incurred for quality improvement projects.
Detection: Costs which are incurred to check whether it conforms to the set standards. e.g. Cost incurred in term of money and time to carry out periodic inspection and to put all the process control check points and alarms.
Internal Failure: Cost which are incurred to correct nonconforming services and products before delivering the same to customers, like cost of reworking on some dish , down time due to any equipment failure like stoves, mixer etc.
External Failure: Cost which is incurred to correct non conforming service or product after it is delivered to customer like bad word of mouth publicity, discount on wrong orders, rework on bad dishes, loss of future business etc.
It can also be divided in to short term and long term cost of poor quality.
Short term cost: This cost can be defined as the loss in the business on daily business like if some potential customers went away to other restaurants due to long waiting period. The fewer tips given to waiter are also an indicator of short term loss as they are not too keen to tip the waiter because of poor service standards and delay in orders.
Long term cost: The long term cost is the cost associated with the bad brand image and negative word to mouth publicity because of which many potential customers will be lost and it will take a huge monetary cost and time of management to rebuild the image of the restaurant as the fine dining experience.
Q3. Use some of the tools for improving quality to assess the situation at Joe’s.
Two Methods can be used to improve the quality of products & Services:
Taguchi Method: According to this method the robust design need to be implemented to ensure quality standards in adverse situation.
This method gives signal – to – noise ratio as an aid for reaching at a potentially optimum combination of service parameters and optimum level of process parameters and in this way a robust design and a process are achieved. This method can be used in restaurant to continuous improve of service and product quality parameters by keeping other control factors in mind. The noise can be measured using the service process control, where continuous monitoring is done to find out the error ratio.
Poka-Yoke Method: According to this method check lists and devices should be implemented which do not let employees to make mistakes. It means ‘mistake-proofing’ or avoiding inadvertent errors. Poka-yoke are techniques which make it impossible to commit mistakes. These techniques can remove defects from products and processes and thus improve quality and reliability. For this first Pareto analysis needs to be done.
Pareto Analysis: It is a bar graph. The length of the bars signifies the frequency or cost, and is arranged in order of longest bars in the left and than declining height. Hence we can see which the most significant situation is. In this way different errors or complaints of customer can be analyzed and it can be done on the basis of cost or repetition of complaint and thus by finding out the most significant complaint, the emphasis can be given to solve it. Poka – Yoke can be applied after finding out the significant errors in the following way.
Identify the significant process or operation based on a pareto analysis.
Analyze the reason of failure and figure out the ways a process can fail.
Decide the relevant poka-yoke approach, like using more staff, developing a check list, automated equipments etc. , a poka-yoke can be mechanical, operational, electrical, visual, human or any other type that prevents wrong execution of a process step.
Determine if a contact like use of size, shape or any different physical attribute is causing problem or an error is caused if a certain number of actions are not done. The sequence method is the use of checklist to verify that completing all steps of process is necessary
Next we need to try the method and see whether the errors are reduced or not
If the method is successful than the process change need to be made and staff need to be trained on the same.
In this way Poka-Yoke can be implemented using Pareto analysis method.
Fish bone analysis (Ishikawa Chart):
The Fishbone diagram is known as cause and effect diagram or root cause analysis. It is known as Fishbone diagram because the diagram resembles like fishbone. It is a brainstorming in a structured format. This technique use graphical ways to relate causes of the problem to problem itself, or it tries to find cause and effect. This analysis focuses on the causes instead of the effect. Since there may be many number of causes for a single problem, this technique try to identify the root cause of problem in a systematic and structured way. It also emphasis on working on each cause before finding the root causes.
This technique is very much applicable to the software industry and to Notes and Domino. There are problems in Notes-based applications and in Domino administration in which root cause analysis is important. For example, replication problems can occur for a number of reasons, including replication settings, database access levels, document security, or other factors. The Fishbone diagram helps us to arrive at the root cause of a problem through brainstorming.
With the help of fish bone diagram we will try to find the solution of one of the most significant problem as given by the pareto chart, which is “Delay in the orders”, The analysis starts with the problem at the head of the fish bone diagram and we trace the major cause of problem along the spine. Here the main causes are defined as Personal, Equipment, procedure, material and others. Looking at each cause separately, we can analyze the root cause of the problem.
Personal: Poor training and lack of staff can be the reason behind the delay, thus increasing the staff on weekend and better trained staff can solve the problem.
Equipment: Although no such cause is given in the case but better equipments like automatic slicer, mixer etc can reduce the time required for the preparation of the dishes. Thus by doing the study of kitchen processes we can find out the requirement of such equipments to speed up the process of food preparation.
Process: The process of sequencing the dishes are done by cook, which may be causing human errors, also the order taken by the waiter on paper may be some times misread by the cook and thus rework on order will be required. Instead of this system if we introduce hand held PDA system for taking orders which will directly feed the order in the system and than reflect the same to cook with order number and sequencing of dishes according to the time requirement of the dishes , a lot of time can be saved . Similarly the time required by the cook or waiter to retrieve the material from storage to kitchen can be reduced by changing the design of store and placing storage area much nearer to kitchen. But for implementation of all these systems required initial cost and thus a proper cost benefit analysis need to be done to find out the exact ROI and the payback duration of the same.
Material: The low quality products are bringing down the quality of dishes and thus creating un satisfaction among the customers & irritation and low morals in the kitchen staff. This can be avoided by standardization of the procurement process and thus minimization of inspection cost and time of the base materials. It will also help in standardization of prices of dishes through out the year as well as the availability of raw material, round the clock.
It will ease the burden on the kitchen staff, specially the chef so that he can concentrate on more value added services like providing guidance to junior staff and innovation with the dishes which will create positive impact on the customers.
Others: Other factor like ambience of restaurant, parking facility etc. can also change the perceived value of delay by the customers, thus if a customer is waiting for his/her order have something to pass time like news paper, magazines or a good music to listen, the perceived value of delay can be reduced and thus the overall experience can be made worthy of their time and money.
Conclusion for Case
After the analysis of the case of “Jose’s Authentic Mexican Restaurant”, we can conclude that the major problem faced by the restaurant is the long waiting period and thus it is causing other problems like low satisfaction about the sitting and food and general ambience. As the survey data does not provide the separate data on the basis of weekdays and weekends as well as during the peak hours like lunch & supper time in comparison to normal durations of day. Thus it is recommended to do a new survey based on these criteria.
As per the case major delay problems are occurring on the weekends, thus it is recommended that restaurant should use the extra contractual staff on weekends.
Other recommendations are as following:
Start Reservation System : This will help the customers in pre booking the time and thus they can arrive at the time of booking and hence need not to wait for long duration
Start Carry Away Services: It can be started as optional service depending on the target market as many people prefer to carry away their food and eat in their homes or offices rather than wasting time in restaurant waiting to be seated.
Automated Equipments: The automation of various process in the kitchen will help the chef in increasing the speed of the preparation of food, thus equipments like automated peeler, grinder, mixer etc can be used.
Proper Training: Since waiters also some times work in kitchen thus proper training will help them in providing good quality products efficiently, also the training will help them in dealing with customers in better way.
Procurement Process: The standardization of the procurement system need to be done with the help of SLA so that the restaurant will have continuous supply of standard products and the delay caused by the non standard base products can be avoided.
Re designing of Floor Area: If possible the redesigning of floor areas should be done so that a separate waiting area would be created where customers can wait for their turn. Also ambience of the restaurant should be changed in such a way , which can engage the customers for waiting duration like music, magazines etc.
Automated ordering and billing system: The IT systems can be used for order entry by hand held PDA , order sequencing at the kitchen end and billing of the same at bill counter and thus centralized system will reduce the human effort and error. The restaurant can also start taking checks from regular customers.
The given suggestion are based on the data and conditions provided in the case , but further survey and cost benefit analysis need to be done before implementing any suggestion.
The major problem is the long waiting period and other problem are correlated to it and thus if the process of the restaurant can be speed up using the technology and standardization, the root cause of delay can be removed and the dining experience at Jose’ Mexican restaurant will become a great worth of money and good word of mouth publicity will help the restaurant in building positive brand image and thus attracting new business.
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