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How Fairuz can increase productivity without neglecting service quality

Introduction

Service quality is defined as the gap that exists between customer expectations and their perception of the service. Service productivity, on the other hand, is defined as the effectiveness with which resource inputs are transformed to produce value for customers (Barnes, 2003).In the hospitality industry, customer satisfaction is achievable through ensuring that they are provided with the best possible service quality.

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This will not only determine their satisfaction, but also their possibility to return or recommend the company to other potential customers. Just like quality is paramount, it is also vital to ensure that productivity is at its optimum so as to cater for all customers, especially during peak seasons (Grigoroudis & Siskos, 2009). In this regard, companies are expected to ensure that service quality does not compromise productivity, and vice versa. This report presents a proposal for Fairuz, a Lebanese restaurant that operates in London, on the approaches that can be used to increase their service quality without overlooking productivity. The restaurant serves Lebanese food, and has a seating capacity of 75 clients at any given time (Fairuz, 2014). By applying the strategies that are suggested in this proposal, the company will be able to increase customer satisfaction and reduce operation costs.

Proposal

There are several aspects of Fairuz that ought to be addressed in increasing service quality and the overall productivity of the restaurant. As this proposal aims to make these improvements at Fairuz, it will focus on improving the position of the restaurant in the market by making it more competitive than other restaurants of its level.

Improving Productivity

This section presents the approaches that Fairuz restaurant needs to use in order to increase its service productivity. Though there are many approaches that can be used to achieve this, this paper suggests three approaches that Fairuz can use. These include improving employee productivity, using key performance indicators to measure productivity and utilization of technology (Assaf et al., 2011).

Employee productivity

Productivity of employees in service companies is largely dependent on human resource practices or policies used. The collective efforts that are made by employees towards the attainment of organizational objectives vary with the effectiveness of the human resource department (Bratton & Gold, 2012). The most appropriate way in which their productivity can be increased is through applying different employee motivation strategies. These include offering reasonable remunerations, bonuses and rewards (Hartnett et al., 2011). Employees at Fairuz can also be made more productive by standardizing all processes, procedures and policies in the organization to create a sense of order. This saves time and maximizes efficiency (Medeiros et al., 2012). Even though these can be achieved at Fairuz, they may be hampered by high employee turnover because Fairuz’s budget may not allow it to compete with larger companies in terms of employee salaries. Small restaurants are always faced with the risk of losing employees to larger organizations.

Measuring performance through key performance indicators

Performance indicators that can be used by Fairuz to measure its performance, to establish flaws and make improvements, vary with the different departments. In regard to staff, the restaurant has to ensure that it has a sustainable wage cost (Sainaghi et al., 2013). This can be done hiring small but sufficient number of employees to cater for the 75 guests that the restaurant targets to serve. This will reduce the wage burden in the company and also make it possible to remunerate them well. Labour or wage costs can also be minimized by ensuring that employee turnover is minimized, given that it is nearly impossible to completely eliminate it, especially in restaurants. Costs that could be used in training new staff members monthly or weekly can then be directed to more productive activities in the organization (Choi et al., 2012). Other key performance indicators that can be used by Fairuz to determine its performance include seating efficiency, stock value, costs of food and profitability (Sainaghi et al., 2013).

Using Technology to increase Productivity

Most of the companies in the services sector, which include restaurants, are fast adapting to the technological changes taking place in the industry to increase productivity and efficiency in service delivery (Tzeng & Chang, 2011). Fairuz can use technology in all its departments to achieve an increase in productivity. For instance, it can acquire modern ovens or stoves for its kitchen that can be used to prepare more of food in a shorter time and on less energy. This not only makes it possible for the company to cater for many customers, but also increases its efficiency (Sloan et al., 2009). Technology can also be used to ease communication among employees within the restaurant. In this case, one of the technological equipment that Fairuz should acquire is the kitchen display system. This system provides real-time updates and information about food orders that have been made by clients and also monitors the speed of service (Katsigris & Thomas, 2008). This is quite effective and time-saving than the traditional approach where servers had to take orders from clients then go to inform chefs in the kitchen. This consumes more time and is prone to human error. Whilst it is expected that technology will contribute towards an increase in efficiency and productivity, Fairuz has to consider that the initial costs to be incurred in setting up these technologies and training employees on how to use them is quite high. Therefore, an analysis needs to be done to establish the most ideal technologies to implement, which will assure it of a good return on investment (Allen, 2011).

Improving quality

Even as Fairuz strategizes to improve its productivity, it is also vital for it to ensure that the quality of service is not compromised. Thus, this section explains approaches that the restaurant can use to increase the quality of provided to its clients.

Ensuring employee competence

Restaurants have different departments that require different skills and competencies in executing their respective responsibilities. They can be classified into managers, chefs, servers and miscellaneous employees (O’Fallon & Rutherford, 2011). To ensure quality, Fairuz has to ensure that it hires employees that have the required qualifications and experience needed in delivering their required duties.

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In addition to this regular training sessions have to be organized to improve their competencies. If employees are competent, the chances of substandard service quality are greatly reduced (O’Fallon & Rutherford, 2011).

The fact that the restaurant serves Lebanese food means that the majority of clients are Lebanese. Thus, the company needs to ensure that a section of its employees are familiar with the Lebanese culture, foods and other dimensions that may affect their service perception. Being a small restaurant that mainly targets the Lebanese population, it may be challenging to hire the best talent since people with skills in this industry often target to work for larger organizations (Jang & George, 2012). Therefore, Fairuz may be limited to selecting low-income people who may not be quite competent and provide them with on-job training to improve their competence. This approach can mainly be applicable for selecting employees in positions that do not require special skills, like waiters.

Utilizing quality measurement tools

It is quite vital for organizations to ensure that they have an ideal framework that they can use to gauge their quality of service. This involves benchmarking the company’s current progress, identifying the problems that might exist, predicting future outcomes and using key quality indicators that are applicable in the restaurant business to establish their position in terms service quality (Barnes, 2003 ).

For Fairuz restaurant, measuring service quality should be done by comparing customer expectations and their perception of service. Whereas all restaurants work to meet or exceed customer expectations, there are several factors that may limit their capabilities to attain this objective. It is thus vital for Fairuz to collect regular client feedback to enable it establish any flaws that may exist in its service delivery and make the necessary changes (Grigoroudis & Siskos, 2009).

One of the most convenient ways that Fairuz can do this is through requesting waiters and receptionists to ask guests whether the meals met their expectations. The company also needs to link its website to a third-party review website like Tripadvisor, which will be vital in monitoring any customer feedback any time a review about the restaurant is made. Other approaches that can be used to do this include sending follow-up emails to clients and engaging more with clients over social media avenues. Positive feedback is an indicator of good service, while negative feedback indicates that the service offered is substandard and appropriate measures need to be taken to improve. One challenge that can be associated with this approach is that some clients’ views may be biased or in some cases, clients may provide conflicting feedback.

Making comparisons with competitors in the market

Perception of services at Fairuz is relative to clients’ perceptions of services in other neighbouring restaurants. In this regard, Fairuz will only be the preferred choice if its service quality is considered to be netter than that of its competitors (Grigoroudis & Siskos, 2009). To obtain a competitive edge over other restaurants, Fairuz has to ensure that it utilizes customer feedback so as to align its services with the customer preferences. Due to the fact that customer tastes and preferences are prone to regular change, Fairuz also needs to carry out regular customer research by collection of customer feedback to decide on what changes it should consider making (Barnes, 2003). Through tertiary monitoring websites or by visiting its competitors’ social media sites, Fairuz can be able to identify the core strengths and weaknesses of its competitors. These will be instrumental in ensuring that makes its services better than those of its competitors (Kalluri & Kodali, 2013). However, whereas it is assumed that Fairuz is only in competition with restaurants of its level, there could be other bigger restaurants with unmatched capabilities that may be targeting the same clients. This poses a great threat to Fairuz.

Using Technology to Improve Service Quality

Service quality in restaurants can be improved through incorporating several technological solutions. Whereas food is a major part or determinant of customer satisfaction, the whole experience of customers in the restaurant is also dependent on several factors (Tzeng & Chang, 2011). For instance, Fairoz can ease the process of making reservations by providing an option for it on its website. In addition, free Wi-Fi can be provided in the restaurant for clients who are interested in surfing the internet when having a meal at the restaurant. Technology can also be used in the collection of customer feedback, which is vital in improving the service quality at Fairuz. The most appropriate cost-effective approach that is relevant to the present-day customer is social media sites like Facebook and Twitter (Tuten & Solomon, 2012). Fairuz has to consider subscribing and increasing its activity on social media to monitor customer feedback. Point of Sale (POS) systems are also ideal feedback collection systems for restaurants. Though the mentioned technologies improve the service experience of customers and can also be used by the company to improve its service production, there are certain disadvantages that may arise. For instance free Wi-Fi might expose some clients to internet threats, especially those who may be unaware of how to secure their information when online (Cheema & Papatla, 2010).

Conclusion

Service quality and service productivity are both vital for service based companies, which include restaurants. Therefore, as companies strive to increase their productivity, it is also necessary for them to ensure that service quality is also improved, and vice versa. This proposal has provided suggestions of approaches that can be used to improve service production and service quality at Fauruz, a small scale Lebanese restaurant that is based in London. The suggestions that have been presented include effective human resource management approaches, utilization of quality and production measurement approaches, and incorporating technology in the restaurant’s operations. Though these recommendations have a high potential of increasing service quality and productivity, some of the limitations associated with them have also been provided. Whereas this proposal has provided suggestions for Fairuz, they can also be applicable to other companies in the industry.

References

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