Report on Quality in the Restaurant Business
Subject: Marketing | Topics:

Introduction: Restaurants are in the business of serving food to their customers. In other words, they are providing a product (food) and a service (waiting on the customer). The quality of the food and service is defined as meeting or exceeding the expectations of the customer as if promised by the restaurant. The food should be properly prepared and the service should be prompt and courteous. The benefit of quality food and service is that customers will come back and will recommend the restaurant to friends.

Questions you may have include:

  • What is quality food?
  • What is quality service?
  • What are the benefits of quality?

This lesson will answer those questions. There is a mini-quiz near the end of the lesson.

Quality of food

There is an artistry in the preparation of food. Some food can be prepared to be delicious, while another recipe can make a dish that is repugnant. Whether the food is a gourmet meal, a chocolate chip cookie or a hamburger, the recipe can make it a hit or a miss. But note that taste of the food is not the quality of the food.

Fulfills specifications

The quality of a product is defined as whether it fulfills its stated and implied specifications. The customer expects the food to be what is promised on the menu, to be cooked and prepared properly, to be clean and to have the correct flavor. That is considered quality food.

Note that quality food does not mean healthy food or gourmet food. It is simply what was promised. If the customer sees an advertised picture of a delicious-looking bacon and eggs breakfast and then receives burnt crisps of bacon and undercooked eggs, he will not be getting what he ordered. It is not a quality meal, because it is not consistent with what is advertised.

Consistent

When you eat at a McDonald’s Restaurant, you can be assured that the quality of the food will be consistent in any McDonald’s that you visit. It is what you expect and is considered quality food.

Quality of service

Not only are people buying a meal in a restaurant, but they are also paying for a certain level of service. Quality service is typically that which is prompt and courteous. That is what customers expect. Exceeding those expectations with extra service is a plus and can overshadow mediocre food.

Friendly service

I’ve been to a number of restaurants where the waiters and waitresses where not only friendly, but they were also entertaining. They might come up to your table and sing a song or play a musical instrument. The novelty of the extra service could bring in more business.

Extreme service

Some high-end restaurants have one waiter dedicated to one customer. That gives the customer a feeling of extreme service. Of course, the cost of the meal is higher to compensate for the extra staff.

Poor service

Customers may accept poor service if the food is excellent. A famous example was the “Soup Nazi” episode on the Seinfeld television show where people lined up to have delicious soup in a specialty restaurant, but the owner was extremely rude and would refuse to serve those who did not abide by his rules. This was a take-off on an actual popular restaurant in New York City, where the soup was good but the owner was surly.

But poor service can also discourage many customers from returning, even if the food is good. Popularity can be fleeting in such a restaurant.

Service to select customers

Sometimes service is only given to select customers. For example, I was traveling across the country and stopped in a small restaurant in Wyoming for lunch. They catered much to the highway traffic. The waitress was slow and rude. She acted like she didn’t like to be bothered. But of course, it was assumed that I would probably never stop in there again.

But then an old cowboy came in and sat at the counter next to me. The waitress immediately brightened up, smiled and asked if he wanted the special. He was a local and regular customer, and it was worth her while to give him good service.

Benefits

A restaurant must seek to bring in customers and then satisfy them so they will return and will tell others about the place.

Word-of-mouth

A major goal of a restaurant is to get in customers. Location and advertising are major factors in drawing in people. But the main way to be successful is through repeat business and word-of-mouth advertising. A restaurant that is out of the way and has no ads can still be quite successful through word-of-mouth advertising.

Repeat business and referrals come from customers being very satisfied by the quality of the food and service.

Case study of failures

The following are examples what happens when there is poor quality in a restaurant.

Thai restaurant

I recently went into a relatively new Thai restaurant near Milwaukee, Wisconsin that seemed to have good food when I had been there before. Unfortunately, this time the meal was only lukewarm instead of hot. Also, I found a piece of plastic in the food. Upon complaining to the manager, I received no apology. I never went back to that restaurant. Four months later, they went out of business.

Sambo’s

Sambo’s Pancake House in Santa Barbara, California had terrific food and great service. It was run by two local entrepreneurs. They had such success that they expanded the business and sold franchises around the United States. Soon, there were over 1400 Sambo’s Restaurants.

Unfortunately, they did not seem to have the consistency of quality control that a chain such as McDonald’s has. It was said that the quality of food and service dropped off proportional to the distance from Santa Barbara. Soon word got out that their food was terrible.

Adding to that perception of low quality were protests by civil rights groups in the 1970s that “black Sambo” was against African-Americans. This was unfounded since pictures of Sambo showed a boy from India with a tiger and was based on a classic children’s tale. Protesters may have exaggerated the claims of low quality, resulting in the company losing much business.

Today, there is just one Sambo’s—in Santa Barbara.

Summary

Restaurants provide a product (food) and a service (waiting on the customer). The quality of the food and service is defined as meeting or exceeding the expectations of the customer as if promised by the restaurant. The recipe and taste of the food is not the quality of preparation. The food should be properly prepared and the service should be prompt and courteous. The benefit of quality food and service is that customers will come back and will recommend the restaurant to friends.

 June 25, 2011

[“JOSE’S AUTHENTIC MEXICAN RESTAURANT” – CASESTUDY ]

 AREAS FOR CONSIDERATION:

i. Quality at Jose’s restaurant should be defined by service, value, reliability of the experience and overall customers’ satisfaction. The quality of a product is defined as whether it fulfills its stated specifications. Customer satisfaction should be at the top priority for the restaurant. Customer satisfaction is the measurement of a product or service that meets or exceeds customer’s expectations. Therefore, the restaurant should focus on its customers’ needs and requirements, and strive to exceed their expectations. The factors that affect the quality of the service are conformance to specification, value, fitness for use, support and even psychological standard impression. Food should be delivered and served as to be what is promised on the menu. Also, the food should be cooked and prepared properly, to be fresh, clean, and to have exactly the ingredients and flavors that are ordered. Service staff should be neatly dressed and greet customers with a smile; personnel should be experienced and trained to accommodate the customer. Atmosphere is another important area of quality. At Jose’s, keeping with the Mexican themed decor creates the atmosphere for the Mexican prepared dishes. The overall establishment should maintain a level of cleanliness. Waiting areas for customers should be clean and comfortable during the peak times when a waiting to be seated is necessary. The service and meals should be dependable and consistent.

 June 25, 2011

[“JOSE’S AUTHENTIC MEXICAN RESTAURANT” – CASES TUDY ]

After much researching, analyzing and receiving information from sources the author therefore concludes that alternative 4 which is to let the managers handle the service system, the wait-staff do their job, have the cook do his work and on peak days acquire an extra part-time cook to help with the food preparations and obtain an alternative supplier that delivers what is necessary and build a relationship with them, the best alternative to consider concerning the service issues of Jose’s Authentic Mexican Restaurant because of its attainable nature, cost-efficiency, practicality and wisdom. It is attainable because this not a complete overhaul of the system, it is simply placing a more efficient system with maintenance and control intact. All that is needed is to hire more help and to acquire a trust-worthy and reliable supplier. This process is easy enough to accomplish in a short period of time .It is practical since we use solutions that have been proven by time, like a management system and placing the right people in the right jobs. We also hire extra help on peak days only to reduce stress from the main cook who is responsible for the taste and the main attraction of the restaurant. We know this is practical simply by looking at what other successful businesses have been doing when the time comes that they need extra help. Therefore, the restaurant should focus on its customers’ needs and requirements, and strive to exceed their expectations.

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