Quality can be the core of success that sets expectations for performance. It is the factor that makes one organization more productive and run efficiently. There are various ways organizations can implement quality by synthesizing strategic planning and management initiatives. Any organization that doesn’t respect quality as a strategic principle will fail (Dew). Strategy is one or more decisions impacting an organization, considering critical external factors (primarily economy, market and competition) in shaping how resources are focused so that the organization delivers competitively distinct value in the public’s eye (Porter). The organization being considered in this paper is a food chain restaurant, Monjuni’s that primarily serves Italian dishes. We will look at several factors that can be initiated to process the implementation of strategic quality management by following a certain strategic planning cycle so that the restaurant runs more efficiently and make customers feel content.
Outlining the process
The process of strategic planning and management will always begin with the customers in mind (Dew). This could be answering questions like who the customers are and what they want. Quality should be a major factor in answering these questions. The next step should be the internal vision of the company, what the long term and short term outcomes expected are and how they can they be achieved. To achieve this, the creation of a team is necessary, ideally having people from different sectors of the restaurant to ensure that all interests are met. The planning team’s diversity will play an important role by offering a balance of perspectives from within and without the organization. A diverse atmosphere will have perspectives from men and women, newcomers and established workers, people from different racial and ethnic backgrounds and different age groups.
In a food chain restaurant like Monjuni’s, the level of structure that can be implemented in creating a team consists of three stages; stakeholders, core team and extended team. The stakeholders are the business leaders at the restaurant’s corporate office and ultimately the ones that are accountable for the success of the project. Core team consists of the regional and district managers that are responsible for the design and implementation of the process. The extended teams are the local managers of the restaurants and the workers directly working under them that are contributing to the project on an as-needed basis. The team composition should always comprise of creative and open minded individuals who are good team players and well respected among other employees. The team’s role should be to point out some of the major flaws of operation in the restaurant’s management using customers as the main source of knowledge. After the survey stage has been set, the final step of developing strategies to improve on these shortcomings should be drawn using the six sigma principle so as to make noticeable improvements within a timeframe of three to six months.
Process in Effect
At Monjuni’s Restaurant, the basic trend of service starts with the arrival of guests and goes through several intermediate steps from being greeted to being seated and being departed in the end as shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Service blueprint of Monjuni’s
It is then important to identify some of the problems that exist in this blueprint and how they can be overcome.
There are no formal trainings conducted for new hires or formal employees. The training process is usually carried out through a trial and error process where new hires learn the different tasks from existing employees, leaving plenty of room for propagating errors. In addition, some procedures are not well developed and what does exist is not clearly communicated to employees by managers. In the first phase of the blueprint, the host is responsible for the flow of guests into tables. Host in this restaurant is also responsible for take-out orders, seating and other non-essential jobs, such as bussing the tables. Therefore, during peak hours, the host is not able to attend the primary responsibilities of greeting the guests and managing the dining room flow.
Once the guests are greeted and seated, server approaches the table to take a drink order. Lack of communication between the host and the server and server’s lack of attentiveness and being occupied with other menial tasks creates a procedural difficulty. Since the restaurant has no bussers and the host assuming the busser position, customers usually sat for several minutes before their tables were cleared and when the servers didn’t remove the items from the table, the host had more work causing a delay in resetting the tables. Reservations also created a problem where the host will ‘hold’ a table even when other guests are waiting to be seated, at some cases for half an hour or more. Communication between the cooks and the servers also caused room for problems where servers took the orders of other servers by mistake causing more delays.
Recommendations for Improvement
The most effective solution to these problems is improving training to the front-of-the house personnel (Kimes). A formal training program on service procedures and strategic management with the help of professional guidance is essential in this regard since the outcomes of the training program are huge. The training program should be able to help the planning team formulate a standard operating procedure. For instance, all parties should be greeted within one minute of being seated and appetizers served within five minutes of ordering. Entrée’s should be delivered in approximately 10 to 12 minutes of ordering or 5 minutes after appetizers have been cleared (Kimes). Pre-bussing should always be a task of the servers where they should implement the habit of carrying something when they walk back to the kitchen. This will undoubtedly give the host more time to manage the flow of guests in the restaurant than to be engaged in unnecessary tasks. Managers should always be able to track which course of meal a table is on and when the table will be available for the next party. Farewell is extremely important so that the customers feel appreciated.
In summary, quality should always be the key factor in managing an organization. Strategic planning and implementation with quality in mind can make a business run more efficiently and smoothly. Formal training is the most important tool organizations can utilize to implement strategy in their daily operations. If the above recommendations are utilized at Monjuni’s Restaurant, the outcomes are undoubtedly going to be overwhelming.
- S.E. Kimes, D. I. Barrash, and J. E. Alexander. Restaurant Revenue-Management strategy. Cornell Hotel and Restaurants Administration Quarterly, Vol 39, No. 3, pg 32-40.
- Porter, M. What is Strategy? Harvard Business Review
- Dew, J. R. Developing a Quality-Centered Strategic Plan. Quality Digest Article.