A restaurant can be defined as a social place where people go to eat and drink, in the company of their friends. Restaurants are characterized by pleasant surroundings, away from home (Walker, 2008, p.4). Restaurants do vary in size and in service. They are often luxurious restaurants, coffee shops, quick-service and cafeteria, (Walker, 2008, p.4). There are several reasons that lead people to venture into restaurant business.
- First, is the money motivation. Successful restaurants generate more returns than many businesses with the same kind of investment. This will be possible when they are well managed to minimize their running costs.
- Second, there have high potentials for buy outs by big corporations. The sales from these buy outs are very profitable to the proprietors.
- Third, restaurants are places for socialisation. They are associated with a lot of interactions though personal relationships may be challenging.
- Fourth, the dynamic and ever changing environment attracts people. This eliminates boredom from people that results from monotony of jobs.
- Fifth, there are different and new challenges associated with restaurants and it also acts as a learning environment as there are new things to try out in the business.
- Sixth, it becomes habitual and eventually changes to a lifestyle that is deeply satisfying.
- Seventh, is the fact that some people feel they have too much time at hand. As a result they venture into the restaurant business to be busy and engage in constructive things (Walker, 2008, p.5).
Restaurant business: type, management issues and culture
Restaurants are retail stores dealing with a wide variety of foods and drinks. Restaurants can be single outlets to a chain of outlets. Several types of restaurants are: one, fully-serviced restaurants, the customers are served with the food contained in the menus, and are quickly served upon order. It is best suited where the tables are screened off for privacy of the customers. Two, the self service restaurants where there are food queue system, check in/ check out, or free flow system – the customers pay first at the cash desk and then sit to take their meals. Three, bistros – which is the combination of selling over the counter (for those who are in a hurry) and others seating while taking their meals. Four, is kiosks. Five, is the specialty facilities which are situated in open places or pavilions.
They deal with a particular product like ice creams, sweets amongst other products. Six, brand name catering, they offer fast foods, and brand name goods (foods) (Kirchgeorg, Werner, Wilhelm & Nobert, 2005, p. 976-8).
In our case the restaurant will be taken as a sole proprietorship owned by a single person. For the sake of profit maximization the restaurant will take the form of brand name catering, the name will be developed as the business is in the process of initiation.
Management issues/ challenges
Managing of a business comes with difficulties, referred to as issues in management. Restaurants are not exempt to these issues and so they too will face certain problems in their day to day running. There are some of the challenges which are unique to restaurant businesses.To start with, restaurants are associated with long working hours. This cases fatigue, a condition that leads to problems in health and high risks of viral infections (Walker, 2008, p.7).
Long working hours lead to ineffective operation, on the part of the workers, and little time for family. The managers are not favoured too, especially, if they are employed. They do not have job security. Things like change in ownership may render them jobless if the new owners want to come with their own working staff. The management finds it hard to manage employees who are not committed to working for long hours. The demanding nature of the job makes it difficult and this contributes to the high rates of labour turnover in the hotel and restaurant industry. The challenge comes in because recruitment and training of new employees become costly and the fact that they are not sure that the new employees will be there to stick (Bradch, 1998, p.15).
When it comes to managing of chain restaurants, there are four distinct challenges that emerge. These challenges are to do with adding of units, uniformity in management, local responsiveness and systemwide adaptation (Bradach, 1998, p.15). Adding of units becomes a problem because the new units must have employees ready to operate in them and efficiently. There may be delaying due to the lengthy process in selection and recruitment. Uniformity is all about carrying out the roles of management in the same style. Responsiveness and adaption are to do with the way the business relates to the customers and how to improve itself.
Culture in restaurant business
Restaurant businesses are base on the culture of hospitality. They are associated with the culture of “the kitchen”. Different dishes and cuisines are prepared for the sake of the customers and thus there is a wide variety of tasty meals and of different origins. This is what gives the restorers the challenge in trying to develop different dishes of diverse origin. The aim is to provide the customers with a variety of dishes while at the same time developing new ideas on the basis of cooking and hospitality. The restaurant will have to cultivate its own culture to keep good relations with the customers and the employees. The culture will help to establish its brand name and to formulate its value and ethics, which will be unique in positioning the restaurant in the market, and to keep on being competitive.
Staff retention and human resource implications
This line of business is associated with long working hours and the employees may result in being fatigued and consequently, sick. The owners of these restaurants need to device sound methods aimed at developing and retaining its employees. This is important because we have a very high rate of labour turnover in the restaurants and hotel industry. The first important role that the managers need to do is to orientate the employees, after they have been recruited in the business. In this case orientation covers the policies and rules of the restaurant, procedures, key policies and values of the company.
By the time they come into contact with the customers they are well equipped and in a better position to handle the job with ease and confidence, something that the employees need to perform their jobs well (Eliscu, 1999, p.4). For the restaurant to retain its employees the following are crucial.
First, the training should be on a continuous basis. This is for retaining talented people in the restaurant. They will be learning and growing at the same time. This way they will stick to your business. The employees are added with skills for better service and aligning them well to suit the roles of the job. The idea here will be to expand their knowledge base and expose them to new ideas (Elischu, 1999. P. 4).
Secondly, they are supposed to be shown recognition and being rewarded. Employees are motivated by money, recognition by the public (friends and family members) and being commended. These are some of the ways that employees feel appreciated. This is appropriate for building their self esteem. This is one of the best ways of retaining employees (Elischu, 1999. p. 4).
Thirdly, the employees are supposed to be compensated fairly. This is through money (wages and salaries). The jobs are supposed to be graded so that the employees are paid according to their levels of contribution. The best way is to have an open way with the employees in the process of grading their jobs. Have an open discussion with them regarding their salaries and encouraging them for promotion for better pays in the future. A good framework is supposed to be put in place to minimize instances where the business is accused of wage discrimination (Elischu, 1999, p. 5).
Fourthly, constant and open communication is important. It is among the best tool in employee motivation. Clear and effective communication of the needs of the restaurant will get the expected performance. This is because the employees will have the desired performance as they will know what is expected of them at all times (Elischu, 1999, p. 7).
Fifth, is the issue of commitment to career planning. There is need for frequent meetings with employees who have worked for the restaurant, for a certain period of time, is necessary in order to understand their goals and needs in terms of skills, and boosting them financially to take related courses. This builds expectations of the employees and remains committed (Elischu, 1999, p. 8).
Sixth, is to maintain employee satisfaction so that you can build their morale. This is where the employee survey becomes important and should be conducted by a third party. This reveals the weaknesses and strengths of the work place concerning the employees. The best approach here lies in the selection and training of first line supervisors to maintain a positive environment in the work place.
Lastly, the company should aim at retaining the best of the employees. This is important in retaining a good public image of the business (Elischu, 1999, p. 9).
The human resource management is the one that is responsible for all this work and so it should be well developed to make sure that the techniques it uses in selection, recruitment and training of the employees is the best. The remuneration too must be in line with professional standards to keep the employees motivated and encouraged. Though the human resource of the restaurant will incur costs in the whole process of recruiting, training and maintaining the best working crew, the advantages are much more than the cost. These are the bases through which every company succeeds.
The resource manager must be prepared to sacrifice the time and the resources of the restaurant so that the restaurant can stay competitive and succeed. Again it requires devoted and motivated work force to build on the brand name of a company. The employees are the ones who will carry the good name of the company to the public through the way they serve and interact with the customers and so their motivation is very vital.
On implementation we have to look at the best way on how to implement the plan in terms of the goals that we set for the restaurant. Having discussed on the management issues and the ways to retain the employees, we can use the “SMART” approach formulate goals and implement them. This will look in to the nature of goals that we make and how best we can be able to keep the restaurant running for better productivity using these goals.
- S – the goals that we formulate must be specific. Specific goals are easily achievable. This must, however, look in to the people who are involved. Specific goals will help the management to remain focused. In this case our specific goal would be to venture into the restaurant business, having carried a feasibility study to know the pros and cons of the business and how best to maintain a healthy balance between the two. This will help the manager to minimize the problems related to running of restaurants as discussed earlier as there is an informed position regarding the business venture.
- M – this refers to the criterion to be used to measure progress of the business at any given time. This would be in terms of assessing the already set goals, and staying on track for the achievement of these goals. Assessment of the effort(s) needed to attain these goals. In the case of a restaurant, this can be through the kind of employees we need to work in the business and their commitment.
- A – the attainment of the goals are achieved by setting necessary avenues to aid in the achievement of these goals. Wise planning will results to the attainment of set goals. Listing of goals builds self image that allows one to possess the goals.
- R – The company should have realistic goals which they are in a position and willing to realize. There needs to be suitable conditions for the achievement of the set goals.
- T – time frame is important. This gives the set goals a sense of urgency. This also means tangible. The goals can be experienced with one of the senses. A tangible goal has greater probability of succeeding (Creating smart goals, 2007). Goals like expansion of the restaurant business which will be seen as the company starts to open new branches to develop a chain store.
After looking into the ways of goals formulation we can evaluate the business venture to look at its viability. In the UK the culture of entrepreneurship is on the rise. When all the financial obligations have been met and the formalities of opening a new business met, we can go ahead and implement the business. The fact that the restaurant business has a high rate of return on investment compared to other business ventures with the same capital (Walker, 2008, p.6), it is a good venture to commence on. In the UK the market is available.
There are a lot of people who will form a big market segment and who will be willing to try our new brand. During the feasibility study, we looked into the marketing strategies and the market promotion, with great discounts to attract the customers and build on their confidence in our diverse cuisines. The positioning of our restaurant will be near residential area for convenience purposes of our customers and to reduce the costs of acquiring premises, as in the city streets it is more expensive.
Restaurants are retail outlets which range from single kiosks and outlets to big chains of differentiated sizes and roles. From simple to luxurious outlets, the main role of restaurants is socialization. The reasons of starting up restaurants range from money motivation to profitable buyouts amongst other reasons. Again restaurants are one the best business ventures as their rate of return on capital is very high provided they are well managed. In the UK the market is large and diverse keeping in mind that it, UK, is a cosmopolitan region, and this will give a good challenge in terms of a wide variety of cuisines and style.
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Walker, J. R., 2008. The Restaurant: From Concept to Operation. 5TH Ed. Wiley: London.