Management in the Restaurant Industry

What is Quality

The human factor in the restaurant business is still one of the most important criteria for success. Not only managers’ discipline and quarterly bonuses but also automation systems help to influence it effectively. Service in a restaurant is a sequence of staff actions from meeting a guest to his departure from the establishment. It also includes behavioral patterns, communication guidelines, and even facial expressions and gestures (Batabyal & Das, 2019).

The higher the level of the restaurant, the stricter the requirements for the quality of service, in the area of interaction it concerns, above all, the responsiveness to the wishes and requests of guests, and general friendliness. Restaurants have basic standards of service necessary for the smooth operation of the institution (Batabyal & Das, 2019). Some establishments use all the standards and create them themselves as needed, some are limited to a few classic ones, depending on the concept, type of establishment, portrait of guests and portrait of the team (Buckley et al., 2020). The totality of compliance with all standards determines the prestige of the institution, as well as the quality of its service.

Quality Criteria

The main standards can include standards of cleanliness, standards of appearance, standards of guest service, and standards of serving food and drinks, and standards of serving. Standardization of service and the competitive advantage of the institution are closely related. First, an owner needs to get feedback from customers to understand what and how to standardize (Batabyal & Das, 2019). If guests are expecting quick service during the day, then they care about the speed of service. If diners like to find the waiter to be a good conversationalist, then such establishments usually have professionals as waiters. The most difficult factor is the emotional side of the issue: the lethargy and indifference of the employee in an instant will cross out the perfect service.

The restaurant, which is visited because of the optimal price-quality ratio, optimizes the process chain. Speed and simplicity of service predetermine the success of such an institution. A waiter who manages to talk beautifully about the dishes and offer some advice is more likely to earn a tip, and the restaurant will get regular customers (Buckley et al., 2020). Another common strategy is “customer intimacy,” which involves treating each guest individually. The salesperson (in this case, the waiter) simply has to be able to maintain a conversation about any topic.

The values carried by the concept of the restaurant, its mood must be close to the entire staff, from the waiter to the director. If a person wants to create the impression of a cozy family place, they need people who share family values, and who love children. If an individual has a youth cafe – a sense of humor and the ability to joke will be fundamental criteria for the interview. These people will convey the atmosphere of the institution to the guest, and they themselves will be easier to work in an institution that matches their character (Buckley et al., 2020).

There is special vocabulary with descriptions of food and drink to make sure the waiters do not say phrases like “tasty salad” or “haven’t tasted it”, but give a detailed answer. Most of the time, the visitor interacts with the waiter, so the main mistakes are made by waiters. The most noticeable mistake for the guest is if they got worse or stopped serving them at all after paying the bill (Susskind & Maynard, 2019). Also, very often the order in which the dishes are served to the guest is violated – they bring not what is needed but what was prepared faster.

Some people believe standardization minimizes creativity, wastes time, and leads to bureaucratization and that is their main mistake. Standardization is not an “army” with rigid discipline but a way to optimize processes (Susskind & Maynard, 2019). Standards of cooking and serving dishes, speed and competence of waiters, uniform rules of work with suppliers, a system of rewards and remuneration of staff – this and much more are easier to control with automated systems for the restaurant business.

Automation helps to solve two main tasks for the restaurant – to increase the speed and improve the quality of service. This is done by speeding up staff training on how to use the cash register on a tablet and by constantly analyzing data on customer demand and staff performance. The key is to work with orders. Cloud checkout of the new type, the ability to quickly generate and print a receipt, work with the touch screen menu on the tablet – all of this helps to enter the order by 30% faster compared to the traditional keyboard technology (Jarman & Lambert, 2018, p.40).

The waiter is always aware of what products have run out in the kitchen and knows what dishes cannot be ordered – this information is available on his tablet online. Automated systems also help to easily split the order into several guests and pay in installments, if required. Modern gadgets for the restaurant business allow you to send the order to the kitchen directly at the guest’s table – no need to carry the runner to the kitchen (Susskind & Maynard, 2019). If the restaurant uses loyalty systems, information about the customer’s order immediately goes to the guest’s card for the accumulation of bonuses and further marketing communications. This reduces the time it takes to process a customer’s order, which is one of the main parameters a guest pays attention to when they enter a restaurant.

Continuous quality audits are necessary for chain establishments, where the standards are set by the central office. Controlling their fulfillment in each individual location is quite time-consuming, and non-compliance with uniform standards is fraught with large losses. With the help of automation systems, it is even possible to control what goes on in the restaurant remotely, not from the office, but from a tablet or smartphone (Skelton & Pais, 2019).

Right down to how many tables are available in your restaurant at the moment. The standardization of service and its control through automated systems allows you to track the dynamics of business, to understand what blocks are dropping and where improvements are needed. There is an opinion that high quality of service is noticed when there are deviations when a guest gets more than he expected. Only in this way, service will be perceived as excellent. So, it is not enough to maintain service standards you have to surprise each time with something new, increasing the level of staff competence and bringing service operations to perfection.

Comparison of ISO 9000 Standards and Michelin Star

In 2015, a new version of the 9000 series of standards was released. The standards were developed so that organizations of all forms of ownership, sizes, industries and specifics can implement and operate effective quality management systems. The set of the new version is represented by four standards. ISO 9000:2015 presents the fundamentals and principles of a quality management system, as well as the terms and definitions used (Susskind & Maynard, 2019). It describes seven quality management principles, approaches to quality management systems, the leadership of senior management and documentation, the weighting of requirements for continuous improvement, work with risks and organizational development strategy, and the relationship of quality management systems with other management systems and models of excellence.

The advantage of the ISO 9000 family of standards is that they can be used to address a wide range of tasks at various stages of the design and operation of a restaurant, particularly in the formulation of company policy and strategy. The requirements contained in ISO 9001:2015 are common and are intended to apply to all organizations, regardless of the type of activity, size of the organization and the products (services) provided (Susskind & Maynard, 2019). The standard defines what needs to be done to implement a quality system but does not set out how to do it. It is because of this approach, that the requirements of the standard are universal and applicable to any organization. The company chooses how to implement one or another requirement of the standard based on its needs and capabilities.

It is quite a difficult task to maintain a decent level of service in a restaurant constantly. The need to implement standards appears when it is necessary to create a special atmosphere that distinguishes an establishment from its competitors (Susskind & Maynard, 2019). It is important that these standards should be equally and accurately implemented in all enterprises of the restaurant chain, regardless of what city they are located in.

Today more than 300,000 businesses worldwide have certified their quality systems to the ISO 9000 series of standards. These standards have become the most popular in the history of ISO because of the significant promotional advantages they give the holder of the certificate over the closest competitors (Susskind & Maynard, 2019). Quality management, in the ISO standard, is defined as the operational methods and activities used to meet quality requirements. At the same time, management in the broad sense is understood as a general function of organized systems that ensure the preservation of their structure, the maintenance of the mode of activity, and the implementation of its program and objectives.

This system is applicable to restaurants for the following reasons. The restaurant business as a complex of quality services should contribute to the growth of the quality of life of the population (Susskind & Maynard, 2019). Stimulating the quality of life of the population from the perspective of improving the quality of the restaurant business is possible in two ways. Firstly, the restaurant is one of the elements of infrastructure designed to provide the ability to produce a service and thereby objectively contribute to the growth of the quality of life of the population (Susskind & Maynard, 2019). Secondly, the necessary elements of restaurant service contribute to the growth of human self-esteem, a major perception of life in all its unique colors, elevating the subjective perception of the quality of life and objective needs.

The system is exactly the opposite. The point is that it needs to be analyzed, but the main difference is the goal. Whereas ISO 9000 is about quality control, Michelin is about creating a kind of rating. This kind of evaluation is no small responsibility to the chef and the restaurant’s customers. A whole staff of special Michelin inspectors is responsible for it. There are about 90 of them, 70 of whom work in Europe (VĂ©drine, 2018).

It is important that the inspectors are absolutely anonymous. No one knows their faces or names, they visit establishments unexpectedly, usually during rush hour. They order, have lunch, pay, and leave without drawing any attention to themselves. There is no way to know when your restaurant is going to be visited by an expert, and the visits happen more than once (VĂ©drine, 2018). To be awarded the first star, international inspectors visit a restaurant at least four times. A second star is awarded after a minimum of ten visits. Establishments that already have stars are visited every 18 months to verify that they maintain their declared level. That is, the coveted star can not only get but also lose if the restaurant ceases to meet the high criteria of the directory.

The exact criteria are a trade secret of the company and are not disclosed. One of the company’s inspectors, Pascal Remy, broke the secrecy in 2004 and published a book in which he accused the guide’s experts of being biased. In the first place among the criteria is unambiguously the cuisine (VĂ©drine, 2018). Quality of service, atmosphere, restaurant interior, prices – all this is secondary. The decisive factor is the author’s work as a restaurant chef, and the experts clearly give preference to haute cuisine in the French interpretation of the term. Since the author’s dishes are a prerequisite for the “stardom” of the restaurant, the institution could lose the star, if the chef leaves it. It is also obvious that one of the important evaluation parameters is the unique design of dishes.

A Critique of the Systems

Despite the prevalence and uniqueness of many quality assurance systems, they are subject to much criticism. The fact is that the main problem is the difficulty in maintaining such status. Maintaining Michelin status is also very expensive and not fully justified (Bice & Leavitt & Wisdom, 2019). Not so long ago, the desire to return the star, received back in 2005, was expressed by the French chef of the restaurant Le France, located in a place called Monceau-Les-Mines in Burgundy, Jerome Brochot (Skelton & Pais, 2019).

The point is that the chef could not cope with the costs of maintaining such a high-level restaurant. To cut costs, he had to lay off a significant part of the staff and simplify the kitchen, using cheaper products. Jerome Brochot suggests that once the restaurant gets rid of the star, there will be more visitors (Skelton & Pais, 2019). Because of the high unemployment rate in this region, expensive establishments are not in demand, and a Michelin star is always associated with expensive food.

It should also be considered two other examples that vividly illustrate the shortcomings of the system. Chef Olivier Douet of the French restaurant Le Lisita in NĂ®mes in the Languedoc-Roussillon region got rid of the Michelin star back in 2011 – and also due to too high costs for both expensive products and staff (Skelton & Pais, 2019). He transformed the institution into a diner, where one waiter can serve 20-30 diners at a time instead of 5-6, which meets Michelin’s requirements. Karen Kenya, head chef of the Belgian restaurant A’qi in Bruges, called the Michelin star a “poisoned gift” – during the economic crisis, the award was an honor that required too much effort and money (Skelton & Pais, 2019). The strict requirements and high expectations of visitors were too much for her to bear.

Nevertheless, cost and difficulty in maintaining credibility are not the only problems with all systems in principle. Often the criteria by which a restaurant’s prestige is determined are secret (Bice & Leavitt & Wisdom, 2019). This indicates a blurring of concepts where there is subjectivity. In other words, the credibility of the whole institution with a large number of customers and employees begins to depend on the opinion of one outsider (Bice & Leavitt & Wisdom, 2019). This is not entirely practical and appropriate since restaurants are associated with food and tastes that differ for each individual. High cuisine in general, is akin to art, and for any work of art, there can not be one, the only correct view.

The most obvious and popular way to navigate in a variety of restaurants and cafes is to use the famous guides. Fair and incorruptible, they have a multi-step rating system. Some are staffed by specially trained strict experts, while the restaurant’s position in the rating of others is influenced only by the opinion of ordinary visitors. We will consider both options on the example of the two most famous restaurant guides, which are trusted around the world – Michelin and Zagat (Skelton & Pais, 2019). Naturally, the rating of restaurants increases incredibly after they are mentioned in the guide, even without assigning a star. This is despite the fact that restaurants do not overuse information about the Michelin stars they have received for advertising purposes.

Being a Michelin restaurant is both an honor and a great responsibility. Newspapers and magazines begin to write about restaurants that have received stars only with the label Michelin because it immediately removes a lot of questions and indicates the level of the institution. Also, almost all other restaurant guides do next to the names of restaurants highly rated by Michelin Guide appropriate labels on their pages. However, the rating and income of other restaurants unreasonably fall, despite the high-level service. Thus, such systems create some privileges, discriminating against lesser-known places.

However, there are several ways to improve such systems. The first and most important point should be the introduction of clear criteria in the public domain so that all establishments have the opportunity to comply with them, raising the overall standard (Cheng & Chan & Ma, 2019). In addition, this would allow establishment owners and business owners to avoid wasting money on unnecessary or non-decisive factors. The next innovation should be the availability of potential Michelin stars for absolutely all establishments, including street food, for example. This will avoid the emerging privileges of other restaurants and keep the competition alive. When creating such systems, it is always worth bearing in mind that restaurants are, after all, a business where the interests of other figures have to be respected.

Applying the Principles to My Restaurant

I need to consider the application of quality systems and principles to my own restaurant. My restaurant specializes in the creation of healthy salads, where each customer can choose his or her own ingredients, thus creating a unique mix. Here you can see the target audience, which the business is aimed at, namely people who look after their health. Thus, based on the interests of this group of people, the predominant products should consist of fruits and vegetables, as well as drinks and sauces, which contain a minimum amount of harmful components. Thus, the quality criteria will be as follows:

  1. Freshness and quantity of choice of products. All ingredients must be in the condition declared by the laws, in addition to consistent with the commercial appearance.
  2. The staff should be friendly and patient in asking questions and making long choices. This criterion defines the environment for the visitor, making it more comfortable and relaxed, which greatly improves the quality of service.
  3. The institution should play neutral music that does not contradict the tastes of customers. This is meant a melody that is played loudly enough so as not to hear outside sounds but also not to make customers nervous (Borges & Rodrigues, 2020).
  4. Cleanliness and absence of odors are decisive criteria for assessing the quality of the institution. Food is an intimate part of life and shouldn’t be spoiled by smells, insects or general dusty conditions.
  5. It is necessary to provide an opportunity for complaints and recommendations to customers. It is important for visitors to be heard because their recommendations and their compliance serve to improve the quality of the establishment (Borges & Rodrigues, 2020).
  6. It is important to note that achieving a high rating or a Michelin star is not the goal. The point is that it is extremely costly, and the economic part is important in the vision of the business. In addition, the main goal of the establishment should be customer satisfaction, not the pursuit of an award.

The Future of Quality Measurement Systems

The future of quality rating systems is their digitization and transfer to the Internet. The fact is that there are already a huge number of services online that allow people to leave their reviews. These reviews and form the overall authority and assessment of the quality of restaurants since most potential visitors read the information about the institution before visiting it. The main advantage of such systems is the accumulation of opinions and comments, which are left by different people, rather than one. Also developed a system 3i TouchPoint Analytics, which allows not only to analyze verbal communication between employees and customers but also to evaluate their work on objective parameters in automatic mode (Information Resources Management Association, 2018). 3i TouchPoint Analytics is, first of all, a cloud platform for speech processing and analysis (Information Resources Management Association, 2018).

The employee’s workplace is equipped with a microphone, through which their dialogs with customers are recorded. The recording automatically goes to the server, where speech is converted into text, which, in turn, is analyzed for compliance with service standards. As a result, different quality indicators are automatically calculated for each employee, including the detection of deviations from the established scripts and standards. The solution is based on artificial intelligence, created using neural networks and machine learning. Thus, digitization of systems is the most likely future for quality assessment.

References

Batabyal, D., and Das, D. K. (Ed.). (2019). Global trends, practices, and challenges in contemporary tourism and hospitality management. IGI Global.

Bice, C., Leavitt, L., and Wisdom, S. (2019). Handbook of research on social inequality and education. IGI Global.

Borges, A. P., and Rodrigues, P. (Ed.). (2020). Building consumer-brand relationships on luxury brand management. IGI Global.

Buckley, M. R., Wheeler, A. R., Baur, J. E., and Halbesleben, J. R. B. (Ed.). (2020). Research in personnel and human resources management. Emerald Publishing Limited.

Cheng, C. M., Chan, W. W. L., and Ma, W. W. K. (2019). Shaping the future of education, communication and technology. Selected papers from the HKAECT 2019 International Conference. Springer Singapore.

Information Resources Management Association (Ed.). (2018). Emergency and disaster management. Concepts, methodologies, tools, and applications. IGI Global.

Jarman, J., and Lambert, P. (2018). Exploring social inequality in the 21st century. New approaches, new tools, and policy opportunities. Taylor & Francis.

Skelton, M., and Pais, M. (2019). Team topologies. Organizing business and technology teams for fast flow. IT Revolution Press.

Susskind, A. M., and Maynard, M. (Ed.). (2019). The next frontier of restaurant management. Cornell University Press.

VĂ©drine, C. (2018). The spirit of capitalism, according to the Michelin company. Springer International Publishing.

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