Jose’s Authentic Mexican Restaurant is located at a reasonable location in a large metropolitan area in New England. With a limited seating capacity, the restaurant enjoys a good reputation among its patrons who crowd the restaurant on Friday and Saturday night every week. The restaurant has been facing some problems lately as Karetski, a waiter in a restaurant, notices a dip in his daily and weekly tips from the patrons. He can relate this with problems at the restaurant as lower tips mean there are a lesser number of visitors to the restaurant. He is also presented with the findings of a customer satisfaction survey
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Firstly, one of Jose’s main persons, the cook, does not seem satisfy with the current operations at Jose’s. There are complaints about the quality of raw material, that is, the ingredients used in making the meals. Hence, this leads to poorly prepared meals, and the customers may be decreasing in number. Moreover, a major problem with the Mexican restaurant is its seating capacity, which leaves the patrons waiting to be seated on Fridays and Saturdays. It is also evident that the waiters and cooks are more stressful over the weekends as each customer order takes longer than usual to be prepared and served. The customer survey also pointed out to delay serving of meals as a primary issue.
Analysis of the Problem
The analysis presented here shall also cover the questions presented in the case. Firstly, ‘quality’ in terms of this Mexican-specialty restaurant would consist of customer service, food quality, timely delivery, ambience, the way of conduct of the staff, depth (variety) in the menu, as well as pricing issues. Hence, quality would not just mean the quality of food for Jose’s. All these features can be said to be various processes that the restaurant needs to take care of in order to provide an overall good customer experience.
Therefore, if any of these elements and features experience failures and delays, this will build up significant costs to the company. For example, a significant delay in serving of food will de-motivate the patrons and frustrate them. Hence, they may not like to visit the restaurant again and may go to competitors. Secondly, as the quality of cooked meal is very much dependent on the restaurant’s cook, a de-motivated and unhappy cook would not facilitate the production of quality meals. Hence, the restaurant owners need to take the feedback from the cook more seriously.
Moreover, as the customer survey has pointed out the importance of the order taker (waiter) in terms of the patrons’ satisfaction, the role of the waiter, such as Karetski, needs to be recognized and valued. It is the waiters who are the face of the company as they interact the most with the patrons. Hence, the concerns, feedback, and complaints of the waiters are important to improve the performance of the restaurant and make it more customer-oriented. It has also been noticed that customers are concerned with higher price charges at the restaurant. Hence, the patrons at Jose’s are looking for good value for their money. A bundle of benefits is what would satisfy the patrons.
On another front, it seems appropriate for a restaurant to extend its seating capacity and attract more customers. This is because the waiting time for customers on Fridays and Saturdays is a harsh and dreaded reality for the Mexican restaurant. It is a long waiting period that annoys the customer when they are looking forward to dining at their favourite restaurant. This situation is worsened by delayed cooking and serving time with the cook. It must be remembered that not all waiters are like Karetski who goes out of his way to serve the customer well in time. It appears that the ultimate aim of Karetski is to satisfy and provide value to the customers.
In light of the analysis presented above, it is recommended that Jose’s should focus on the following two aspects of its relationship with customers, starting immediately: quality of ingredients and better time management at all stages of the manufacturing. By spending extra bucks to attain quality raw materials, the restaurant can drive the growth of the company as a reliable and quality restaurant. Secondly, time management of the restaurant can be improved at various levels, which would benefit all stakeholders of the restaurant, including the customers, waiters, cooks, receptionist, and the management staff.
The quality of ingredients may require a higher investment initially but would lead to the production of better tasting meals as well as a satisfied and confident cook. The waiters should also be trained to interact in a friendly atmosphere with their counterparts and other staff members such as a cook. Secondly, significant time delays can be avoided if proper supply chain management is adopted by the restaurant. This will take care of the time from acquisition of raw material to the final serving to the customer. Moreover, extending the restaurant space and developing a more organized waiting area would tend to reduce anxiety and frustration in the patrons.
It must be noted as part of the solution to the problem that the role of the cook as well as a waiter is significant in providing a brilliant customer service. This is because the pressure of timely delivery is primarily on the cook. As depicted in the customer survey, the customers’ highest satisfaction is with the waiter. Hence, the role of the waiter in the management needs to be emphasized to keep the customer traffic coming in the restaurant.
It can be concluded here that paying attention to a few basics will set things straight for Jose’s Authentic Mexican Restaurant. This decision is also expected to rebuild pleasant tips for waiters such as Karetski and serve to motivate the cooks who are usually busy in the warm kitchen. The restaurant should continue with an elaborate Mexican menu to give more options to the valued patrons. This will also justify the expensive menu items to the patrons.
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