The modern world is subjected to technological progress in all spheres of human activity. In business, the advances of modern technology are also important as in the current highly competitive markets technology and information processing systems become the leading competitive advantages for companies. At the same time, the transition of any business entity to the modern information technology operation involves considerable costs and expenses for technological modernization and personnel education concerning the new IT systems performance.
The restaurant industry is also touched by the overall modernization initiatives, and in every country, these initiatives can have various effects on their implementation. Therefore, a comprehensive analysis is required for the process of implementation of the modern IT solutions in the restaurant business companies before the actual performance of the companies is based exclusively on these IT products.
This is namely the case with Blackshop Restaurant that plans to implement the reservation management software OpenTable. Blackshop Restaurant is a part of the Cerny Hospitality Group (CHG). It was first opened in 1983 (Moolani and Peng, 2009, p1, paragraph 2) to quickly develop from an exclusively family-run enterprise into a large restaurant facility with established contact with the companies like Toyota, Hilton, Com-Dev, Radisson, and others (Moolani and Peng, 2009, p3, paragraph 3).
Receiving 50 to 300 visitors daily, depending on the day of the week and whether it is a weekend or not, Blackshop Restaurant’s management feels the need to update the table reservation system which currently consists in writing the reservation requests down on paper and further planning of turning the tables (Moolani and Peng, 2009, p4, paragraph 3,4). On the one hand, the software for table reservations will allegedly allow an increase in restaurant attendance. On the other hand, Blackshop Restaurant’s management connects certain organizational issues with OpenTable implementation.
Case and IT Management Theory Applied
IT Governance Mechanisms
First of all, assessing the applicability and potential benefit of OpenTable implementation to Blackshop Restaurant, it is necessary to state that the contract with the OpenTable producer will introduce new IT governance mechanisms for use by the restaurant. In more detail, the assigned reservation managers will have to operate the OpenTable touch-screen monitor computer and a telephone station to receive reservation requests and place them into the database (Moolani and Peng, 2009, p6, paragraph 3).
As well, the restaurant will have to permanently update the online reservation requests made for Blackshop tables through the OpenTable website reservation option (Moolani and Peng, 2009, p6, paragraph 3). As well, there will be a need to include the monitor supervision into IT governance mechanisms, i. e. the control of reservation calls while the manager is away leading the arrived clients to their tables (Moolani and Peng, 2009, p7, paragraph 1).
IT’s Implications for Blackshop Restaurant Management
Needless to say, OpenTable implementation will have implications for Blackshop Restaurant management. Overall, the significance of management in any organizational change is crucial. Chew, Cheng, and Petrovic-Lazarevic (2006) argue that “managers as change agents are expected to restore or reinforce the new system actively with all employees in the refreezing step” (p60, paragraph 1). This very refreezing step is the process of adjusting the company to the innovation. Drawing from this, OpenTable implementation will have two major management implications for Blackshop Restaurant.
First, the managers will have to adjust their work to the OpenTable software. Second, the performance of the waiter and kitchen staff should also be monitored in its adjustment to OpenTable. Finally, the measurement of OpenTable efficiency will also be a task for management as Pearlson and Saunders (2009) claim success measurement to be vital for information technology management in an organization (p87, paragraph 4). Therefore, the management of Blackshop Restaurant will face the major effects of OpenTable implementation including the introduction of the new IT governance mechanisms and the need to control and occasionally improve the performance of the restaurant under the new reservation system.
Zero Time Organization
At the same time, one of the greatest benefits the OpenTable software might bring to Blackshop Restaurant is the restaurant’s ability to adapt the so-called zero time organization, i. e. instant “customization” or organizational flexibility developed to the extent that allows this organization to respond to customers’ needs at once (Pearlson and Saunders, 2009, p92, paragraph 4). This flexibility is especially important in the restaurant industry as the direct communication between the company and the customers. As well, the zero time organization acquires greater importance in the Australian context of the increased government funding and tax cuts for the restaurant industry as argued by Ryan (2007) and the introduction, according to Fact Sheet (2009), of new restaurant tariffs.
Accordingly, to achieve zero time organization Blackshop Restaurant needs a quickly accessible and comprehensive customer record and table reservation system. OpenTable can be one like it, according to Moolani and Peng (2009), allows the organization to establish the secure reservation system and increase the organization’s customer recognition practices (p5, paragraph 4), and provides for the development of the five major elements of zero time organization that, as Pearlson and Saunders (2009, p92, paragraph 4) argue, include instant value alignment, instant learning, instant involvement, instant adaptation and instant execution.
Henderson-Venkatram Strategic Alignment Model Applied to Blackshop Restaurant Case Study
One of the best tools to assess the applicability and financial fit of OpenTable software for Blackshop Restaurant is the so-called Henderson-Venkatram Strategic Alignment Model, which serves as an instrument of the comprehensive and comparative analysis of the overall organizational and IT goals of the same organization (Henderson and Venkatram, 1992, p33, paragraph 2). The Henderson-Venkatram Strategic Alignment Model consists of four major levels including business strategy, IT strategy, business infrastructure and processes, and IT infrastructure and processes. The business and IT levels are contrasted to see the necessary alignment, if any, between them. Only if IT and business strategy are in agreement, the IT innovations will benefit the whole organization (Henderson and Venkatram, 1992, p33, paragraph 3).
In Blackshop Restaurant, there is likely to be the needed alignment as a business strategy of the organization is to increase the daily attendance rates and the overall profitability of the restaurant and to gain the competitive advantage (Moolani and Peng, 2009, p6, paragraph 4). The IT strategy is to allow the restaurant to achieve its business strategy goals in the form of a better reservation and customer recognition system. The governance mechanisms implemented for this purpose are also aligned as Blackshop Restaurant aims at concluding the strategic agreement with OpenTable for the use of their software and widening the restaurant’s performance options through the OpenTable online reservation opportunities.
Blackshop Restaurant Problems to Be Solved by IT
Moreover, OpenTable is likely to solve the major group of the problems faced by Blackshop Restaurant, especially in the IT-sphere. According to Moolani and Peng (2009), currently, Blackshop Restaurant has no actual IT department as a reservation is carried out by writing the requests down on paper. This procedure is rather a time and effort consuming and it can often result in operational issues during the working days in Blackshop Restaurant (Moolani and Peng, 2009, p6, paragraph 4). Therefore, OpenTable might be the tool to reduce time and effort spent on reservation procedures and operational issues like bottlenecks of customers waiting near the kitchen and in the bar. As well, OpenTable might facilitate the initiative of Blackshop Restaurant (Moolani and Peng, 2009, p6, paragraph 5) to develop ties and contact with hotels and other companies across the industries.
Finally, implementation of the IT system involves funding concerns for Blackshop Restaurant. It is also important to notice that funding an IT innovation is always a problematic point for the companies as the IT sector’s importance is underestimated. However, Pearlson and Saunders (2009) single out a chargeback, allocation, and corporate budget as three major IT funding methods (p279, paragraph 1).
Since Blackshop Restaurant is known for its respectful and careful treatment of its employees, the corporate budget funding method is the most acceptable for this restaurant as a means of IT costs recovery. Corporate budget, according to Pearlson and Saunders (2009), presupposes funding the IT development from the overall assets of the company (p281, paragraph 2), while chargeback and allocation are similar ways to distribute the funding duty among the company’s employees (p279, paragraph 2, p280, paragraph 3). Therefore, the corporate budget method of funding is recommended for Blackshop Restaurant.
Thus, the general conclusion of this report is that OpenTable is advisable for Blackshop Restaurant. The reasons for such a conclusion include the potential benefit of the software implementation and its ability to solve the long-term problems of Blackshop Restaurant. In more detail, OpenTable is claimed to be the time and effort saving tool that allows the company to adopt the zero time organization principle according to which Blackshop Restaurant will be able to satisfy its customer’s requirements immediately after they are set. Finally, Henderson-Venkatram Strategic Alignment Model demands the business and IT strategies of the organization to be aligned for the successful IT innovation, and the Blackshop Restaurant overview allows assuming that this company possesses the necessary alignment level and can successfully implement OpenTable software.
Chew, M., Cheng, J., and Petrovic-Lazarevic, S. (2006) Managers’ Role in Implementing Organizational Change: Case of The Restaurant Industry in Melbourne. Journal of Global Business and Technology, 2(1), 58 – 67.
Fact Sheet. (2009) Restaurant and Cafe industry tariff review. PPCA. [online] Restaurant and Catering Australia. Web.
Henderson, J. & Venkatraman, N. (1992) Strategic Alignment: A model for organisational transformation through information technology. In: T. Kochan & M. Unseem (eds) Transforming Organisations, Oxford University Press, NY, p. 32 – 35.
Moolani, K. A. and Peng, M. (2009) Blackshop Restaurant. Ivey Management Services.
Pearlson, K. and Saunders, C. (2009) Managing and Using Information Systems. Wiley.
Ryan, R. (2007) Restaurant Industry Hails Budget Tourism, Tax, and Training News. HMA. [onoine] Hospitality Magazine Australia. Web.