The operational efficiency improvement factors of business firms can be identified through the analysis of the business operations of the firm compared to industry standards. To attract new customers and retaining of existing customers, the business firm is required to find out the key operational areas in which improvement is necessary.
In the case of the restaurant bar business research, there are numerous ways for data collection for research studies. To find out the most suitable data collection method focused on the restaurant business, a detailed study on various research methods is adopted here. To ensure the efficient and effective performance of the business, a detailed study on various business operations of the firm has to be carried out. Required data for the research can be collected from employees and customers of the organization in different ways.
This study concentrates on Surrey, United Kingdom. There are certain facts about Surrey that have a strong influence on the business aspects, in this part of the UK.
For one thing, Surrey is a very affluent country, basically in the service industry, and is closely connected with London in more ways than one. It has the highest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the UK and also the highest cost of living index after London. Most of the UK’s millionaires are found in Surrey, and it also boasts of the highest wage rate to workers. Its proximity to London makes it an ideal choice for business and tourists and this is particularly favoring the bar and restaurant business since Surrey has a high floating population consisting of traveling businessmen, tourists, and other visitors who would also be visited Surrey’s bar and restaurant for business or pleasure. Gatwick airport, one of the major airports in the UK was in Surrey, now a part of Sussex.
Thus it could be reasoned out as to why, despite the obvious excellent infra-structure that Surrey has to offer, La Petit bar and restaurant need to improve in areas of business promotion and marketability of their products to gain a bigger market share of bar and restaurant business in Surrey.
The following are some field methods of data collection:
Focus group discussion (FGD): This method of data collection is developed by Richard Krueger (1988). A Focus group is a group that is formed with some goals, purpose, etc, but they are unfamiliar to each other. But they will be familiar with the research problem. Thus they can discuss the various issues regarding that.. It has a fixed size and rules and procedures. Mostly they are composed of seven to twelve participants.
Generally, an expert trainer will conduct the focus group discussion. He will allow the participant to talk freely, by encouraging sharing their outlook regarding the problem. The discussion will be conducted several times but the participant will be the same thus they can interpret their discussions and find some conclusion. Through this analysis, the researcher can find out some facts, ideas, or clues about the research problem. This is mainly useful for finding out target customers, finding out specialties of particular products, etc.
Behaviour /Cognitive Mapping: This type of method is mainly useful for identifying the advantages and disadvantages of a particular recreational site (eg, beach, campground, etc.). Researchers will collect data from the visitors of these recreation areas. It helps to understand the behavior or perception of the visitors and to locate the environmental cognition in that area. It helps the authorities to formulate policies about the maintenance, supervision, new project, etc.
Projective Techniques: In projective techniques, researchers will analyze the reaction of the respondent after showing him some visuals or tuning some sounds. Another way is asking them to fill an incomplete sentence, like, if your mother is not looking after you, then……..Or asking them sensitive questions (For eg, if u are dismissed from the post, what you will do?). These techniques combine semi-structured interviews or written questionnaires. This method is useful to find out the opinion of people regarding sensitive subjects.
Mapping and Scaling: Both of them were used participatory techniques in the situational analysis. These are used in health systems research. It provides rich data regarding the problem. It is mainly useful for describing some relationships or resources through visuals. That helps the research to understand the more clearly research problem.
Scaling: In this method, the researcher uses the respondents as scales to categories some variables if the researcher is not able to do that. For eg, the respondents may be asked to collect something and categories it as per their preference and the researcher will find out the logic of categorization.
Delphi method: It is very useful when the sample size is very large. The researcher will collect data through a series of questionnaires. A series of questionnaires and feedback reports will send to the respondents. The feedback will be analyzed and a revised questionnaire will send again and this process will continue for a period until a consensus is reached. The main defect is that it is very time-consuming.
Personal interviews: In personnel interviews, data collection is carried on through unstructured open-ended questions. The interview may be long for a limited time and it will be typically recorded. The data collected through this method should be more subjective than other methods such as surveys. But the results based on such data may not be statistically reliable as it represents only a small segment of the population. “Focus groups and interviews yield valuable insights into customer attitudes and are excellent ways to uncover issues related to new products or service development.” (Market Research Techniques: Personal Interviews. 2006).
The major drawbacks of the personal interview are that it is expensive, and can take a long time for completing the data collection. The responses of participants may be biased. (Primary Research Techniques: Pros and Cons).
The interview may be structured or semi-structured. The structured interview is useful in case of more or inexperienced interviewers are involved in the research process.
Qualitative Methods for Effectiveness Evaluation: When Numbers are not enough
In the personal interview, more issues on the research topic can be covered. But it is costly. The interview staffs require better training for conducting the research. Data collection is decentralized in this method and thus each of the interviewers is required to occupy adequate skill and knowledge about the research topic. It is also time-consuming. (Jakubiak, Mudge and Hurd 1990, p.10).
Observation: in this method of data collection, the actual behavior of the customers in the marketplace is collected through electronic ways such as video recording. It will help to collect data relating to the buying behavior of the consumers. It is also suitable for finding out the individual performance of each of the employees in the organization. In surveys and focus groups, the responses of customers can be biased through various factors. Observation provides a clear-cut picture of the usage habits and shopping patterns of the consumers. (Marketing and Advertising: The Five Basic Methods of Market Research. 2009, p.1). Observation may be of blind observation and or structured observation. In blind observation, the participants are not aware about they are being observed. It is inexpensive and real-life results can be obtained. The willingness of participants is not required for this method. The major drawback of this method is that the data collection is carried on from a distance and thus the motivational factors affecting the behavior cannot be identified. The only assumption is possible in this method. Whereas in structured observation, the participants are aware and thus motivational factors affecting the behavior can be gathered. But it requires more resources and the willingness of participants is a must. It is expensive. (Kennaugh 2003).
Questionnaires are commonly used data collection methods in market research. It will be effective for collecting fresh and unique data relating to the research topic. It is suitable for collecting opinions of the customers as well as employees relating to the existing or proposed products or services of the organization. The analysis of such data will generate information on the attitude of customers towards the products and services of the firms. It will help to assess the buying behavior of consumers in the market. It is considered as the basis of market research. The quality and effectiveness of the data collected through the questionnaire depend depending on the quality of the questionnaire used for the research. The results may be immaterial, inaccurate, and even convincing due to the influence of bias on the responses. (Market Research Questionnaires: Introduction. 2008).
Revenue and output enhancement techniques in Le Petit Bateau
Coming to the case study of Le Petit Bateau, it is seen that the owner would like improvements in the following areas, viz.:
- Increasing revenues and profits are not very high when compared to the potential for business in this part of the UK. There is tremendous growth potential for bar/restaurants in these parts, but somehow, Le Petit Bateau is not able to capitalize on this, rendering it a mediocre place. It is necessary, while retaining existing clientele, to have volume growths trends and also cajole present customers to spend more in the bar and restaurants.
- Another noteworthy factor is concerning employees and the workforce that need to be motivated to work more effectively to achieve maximum productivity and output. The management feels that employees are not working to their full potential and there is a need for the impetus for better output and performance from the workforce.
The survey that was conducted, through stratified sampling techniques, visited the locality in Surrey and conducted interviews and face-to-face discussions with the tourists and residents to assess the present condition of bar and restaurant business in these parts. It is found that advertisement and publicity play an important part in a business promotion which needs to be extensively carried out by this business center. First Le Petit must identify its potential customers and clients- they could e in terms of overseas businessmen, tourists, travelers, and travelers who wish to visit Surrey for business or pleasure. Therefore, the business needs to undertake massive advertisement and publicity to develop the market further.
It also needs to keep contact with its present clientele through communications with them so that they would make use of Le Petit during their subsequent trips to the place.
Internet servicing could be carried out for the local population. Thus, their restaurant needs to have outdoor catering services that could deliver food piping hot at the doors of the customers through outdoor catering services. Internet selling needs to be improved that could be the mainstay of future business both in the bar and restaurant business.
It is seen that health hazards associated with bar business could be the quality of air in bars. It is believed that if Le Petit could declare their bar and restaurant tobacco-free, it would not only add to the health factors of the business, but also greatly improve the quality of air and other health parameters of the bar and restaurant, and also enhance profits due to larger clientele.
“Supporters of smoking laws often argue that they do not harm restaurants, bars, and taverns and may even raise their profits.” (Dunham and Marlow 2007, p.326-333). The results of the survey conducted confirmed that major health benefits could accrue, especially in the bar business; this could also motivate the workforce for better performance.
Improving employee performance
The reasons why employee output has sagged over the recent past have been the main focus of study. According to it, lack of proper motivation in terms of emoluments and benefits, long working hours, and lack of proper rest has been the main cause of lowered performance. Therefore it is necessary that necessary fatigue tests and another individualized study of workforce reactions to work need to be made, in terms of motivation, rest periods, better and cordial interaction between management and workforce, and regular meetings and interactions with HR personnel need to be carried out.
During these sessions, the disgruntled employees could air their grievances at public forums and seek redressal of their complaints; the management, on its part, needs to concern itself with these issues, since it directly impacts future performance.
It has been found out from the study that dissatisfied employees could be a negative influence, rather than a positive one, on the existing workforce, and therefore it is necessary that for enforcing maximum commitment and optimum productivity, the workforce needs to be thoroughly motivated and committed to working. “We treat the staff restaurant as our third restaurant. We cannot expect people to serve excellently if we do not treat them well in the first place” (Skills Strategy: Universal Industry Standards of Professional Training Established, p.21).
Therefore it is necessary that Le Petit needs to introduce certain radical changes in their present systems. It could be in terms of increasing their visibility and marketing by advertisement and publicity programmers, maintaining the database of existing clientele and keeping in contact with them regularly, liasoning with the Association of Bar and Catering for enhancing business prospects in the locality and also taking ways and means by which more business could be generated.
For motivating the workforce, regular training aids and incentives need to be provided.
Proper relaxation, entertainment, and exercise are needed for optimum work output.
There should be a regular and regulated regime of performance assessment and review of each member of the workforce, in which areas of strengths, weaknesses, and improvement zones need to be identified and steps are taken to enhance strengths and reduce or eliminate weaknesses. Again, the recruitment, selection, training, promotional, and retrenchment/retirement needs to be policy-based and applied uniformly throughout the enterprises. Bar and restaurants have a specialty in that they are consumer or market-driven; thus service is of paramount importance and this culture needs to be imbibed by every staff member, junior or senior.
The interaction between management and employees in a cordial way would inspire employees to give out their best and also contribute to optimum performance. Assessing potential, duly rewarding, and inspiring the workforce is a major responsibility of management if drastic improvements are to be registered.
Further, elements of trade unionism and collective bargaining could be a major aspect to tackle by the Surrey bar and restaurant business. If employee-employer relations are robust and they understand each other well, the influence of trade unions may as well be minimal if not absent.
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