As a player in the hospitality sector, the Final Stop Café will have to overcome challenges pertaining to menu mandates, staffing and taxation, among other challenges that seek to undermine productivity. It is prudent to implement Heskett’s ‘strategic service vision’ in the conceptualization of a viable operating strategy that seeks to balance quality and productivity (Kimes & Beard, 2013). The aim of this report is to identify the key elements of the Final Stop Café’s operating strategy and the areas of most emphasis. We also explore cost and quality assessment strategy as well as the expected results in terms of service quality, cost profile, productivity, and staff morale. Borrowing from Martin’s (1989) model, we develop an operating strategy model while paying attention to the Service Management Trinity. In section three and four, we develop a service blueprint and a service delivery system to identify and better manage the service delivery stages for better customer experience, with clear appraisal strategies. We also explain the effect of employee motivation on service quality, beginning from best recruitment practices to incentives and motivation. The final section brings about a service quality model to implement service guarantee that ensures customer satisfaction and retention (Lovelock, et al., 2014). By way of conclusion, we provide an overview of the operating strategy and service quality management techniques discussed herein.
Heskett’s model identifies the three fundamental aspects in operational strategy as Operations, Marketing and Human Resources. An operational strategy engineers the business model, and best-laid plans will ensure business success (Testa & Sipe, 2012). Final Stop Café’s way of service delivery, their business policy and guidelines are important for their growth and sustainability. Further, there needs to be a superb marketing strategy to stay ahead of competition and register the refreshment center as a first among equals at the Coogee Beach. Moreover, the workforce shall also have a fundamental effect on customer attraction and retention. This said, the Café needs to hire qualified staff and keep them motivated as this trickles down to the customers in terms of service quality and satisfaction. We shall examine the Service Management Trinity in more detail.
As the business is in the hospitality sector, the basis of its operations is service provision. The First Stop Café begins by identifying the customers’ needs. This requires an understanding of the products and services offered. The company needs to understand the requirements and perception of these services and products, and the organization’s image to the potential customers. The First Stop Café aims to be in the revelers and Coogee Beach visitors’ eye a relaxation and refreshment place that they need to visit after a day in the beach. To achieve this, the café intends to provide a variety of cold soft drinks and energy drinks, fruits, and juices during the day, as well as a variety of fast foods as the visitors would most likely prefer light meals and an accompanying cold drink of their choice. A strategic implementation of this will also involve use of cool colors and outside , garden catering to provide ambience for relaxation. The establishment also aims to provide a quality standardization mark that would serve as a sense of direction for the workforce at large. This serves to prepare the customers in terms of the variety and quality of services and products they should expect. This aspect will also serve to create a point of equilibrium for service/product quality and productivity.
It will also be equally important to promote the products and services rendered at the Final Stop Café. The revelers need to identify and at all times prefer the café as an ideal relaxation spot. To achieve this, the café will sell branded ski-boards, beach hats, tee-shirts among other merchandise. Also, as Gronroos (2002) observes, a restaurant that offers customer-perceived service quality products and services is better placed to maximize profits, and that customer satisfaction can be a marketing tool as it would be easier for them to recommend First Stop café as a relaxation spot to other Coogee Beach visitors.
The third facet of this strategy is to put together a motivated team that aims to provide quality services and products. This quality service provision can be ensured by appreciating the importance of a qualified and motivated human capital in customer satisfaction hence retention. The café management aims to exercise impartiality and diversity in workforce hiring and recruitment. Beyond that, teamwork among employees will be emphasized through job maximization or job rotation and ‘employee empowerment strategies’ (Nemetz, 2003).
A service blueprint is basically a cluster of service quality control techniques that are aimed at service and product quality improvement at every step of the value chain (Lederer, Toner, Krepp & Curtis, 2014). A service blueprint details every activity involved in service delivery and production. There several critical points in the service delivery process that Final Stop Café seeks to exploit to improve customer experience and satisfaction, for instance contact customer actions, employee actions, support processes and physical evidence. This service blueprint will also serve to develop service stages in the system, offer direction for necessary critical intervention for future problem-solving, and explore profit maximization intervals while still minding services and product quality (Shostack, 1984).
This entails examining the customer’s actions during service delivery on checking into Final Stop Café, for instance enquiries, choices on meals, and the package they’d purchase. A consumer may prefer bundling where they pay for the core services of food and drinks as well as lodging facilities, or purchasing of different products and services (meals and lodging facilities) separately. This facet is important because the level of satisfaction and customer perception of the café’s facilities and services (Snape & De Souza, 2016) measure the success of the café. For a business in the hospitality sector, the focus is obviously on positively influencing these customer actions (Mok, Sparks & Kadampuly, 2013). This level would be exploited by creating a good first-impression of Final Stop Café and front the services and products of best quality and a must-go place for anyone visiting the Coogee Beach. The Final Stop Café aims to achieve this by offering variety in every service and product, strategic service scape and objectivity in target consumer base. Further, bundling benefits consumers in terms of convenience, cost efficiency, pricing decisions, and yield management.
This point of service delivery is also of importance in improvement of quality and productivity. This entails both visible and invisible actions of the front-office as well as back-office employees. A warm, welcoming Final Stop Café reception gives an impression of quality and satisfaction guarantee of the facilities, services, and products therein. There are also staff that engage with the customers but are out of the line of visibility. For instance, the telephone operator that enables a customer to make reservations, or order room service. These actions also serve to boost consumer confidence and reliability on the café and its services (Realmunto & Hunting, 2013). The management aims to ensure this by employee training on etiquette and sufficient motivation to ensure they are motivated to attend to customers.
This unit represents all those non-contact employees who provide technical support in ensuring the right quality of products and services is availed to consumers. These employees are involved in service provision and are involved in quality assurance but as far as consumer interaction is involved, they are non-existent (Murphy, 2013). This includes the kitchen staff involved with food preparation and lodging caretakers. These staff play a very fundamental role in ensuring that foods, drinks and lodging facilities are of high quality and satisfactory to consumer needs. The Final Stop Café aims to ensure proper motivation and job maximization with aim of ensuring quality services and products to employees as the final product.
Of major influence in the productivity and quality of the café is also the physical evidence. Physical evidence means strategic location of the café where consumers will be able to have easier access to the premises as well as a place that offers appropriate ambience for relaxation and recreation. This means the Final Stop Café’s physical structures need to marry with the establishment’s service scape so that it influences customer perception of services quality therein. If customers find the café not only strategically located but also offering full-board recreation with appropriate structures, they will be able to prefer the Final Stop Café repeatedly as well as recommend it to fellow visitors. This has a positive impact on both motivation to provide variety and quality in services and products (owing to the attracted customer variety) as well as overall profits maximization.
In all, this excellent service quality and operational strategy requires some serving protocol and implementation actions to ensure their successful execution.
The service delivery system comprises the physical environment, staff and consumers (Lockwood & Jones, 1998). This includes the technical core (not visible to customers), physical facilities, contact personnel, and end-user service providers. The physical environment (or location) and staff of the Final Stop Café need to work in collaboration to ensure consumer appeasement. Efficient design of an objective, consumer-oriented service delivery system is a source of advantage to a business in terms of competitive advantages in the market (Shostack, 1984; Verna, et al., 2002).
Given that Final Stop Café is a player in the hospitality sector whose consumer target is the visitors at the Coogee Beach, the company needs to adopt and implement a first-come-first serve basis and a bit of some priority queuing where necessary, for instance allocating restrooms based on number of occupants as well as demand.
By way of generalization, the service delivery system for the core services of meals and drinks at the Final Stop Café is examined. The steps involved in the service delivery system are customer entrance, table availability check, drinks order placement, serving of drinks, main dish order, serving of main dish, final bill request and finally the customer pays and leaves.
At the reception, customers are received at the main entrance and directed to the parking lot. Here, a customer is awarded the farthest-available parking space to enhance accessibility of succeeding customers. This is in foresight of other customers who might also require parking space. Also, the priority order may be implemented if a customer specifies that they don’t intend to stay long and thus be awarded the most easily accessible space. This accessibility improves efficiency in service delivery hence productivity.
The customer then enters the restaurant where a table is awarded based on the reservation system. Should there be no prior reservations requested, a customer selects an appropriate available table. This reservation system enables the Final Stop Café to operate based on foreseeable demand and customer intake, within a reasonable surplus to cater for customers without reservation for instance those coming from the beach for a quick meal. Foods and hospitality services are perishable in nature, and hence this demand estimate acts as an index for service availability and quality that helps boost quality and productivity.
Next, the customer places an order for drinks and later main dish. Here, the customer receives the menu and proceeds to make a selection. The first-come, first-served basis is implemented here where food is served based on order arrival. the reservation system implemented during check-in ensures that food and drinks are ready for order. This boosts service delivery efficiency and workplace productivity.
As the customer prepares to leave, a bill is processed and presented on request. Here, the first-come, first-serve basis is adopted to ensure smooth workflow for purposes of efficiency. As the bill amount is prepared as the customer orders for products and services, the bill is made physically available on request.
The customer proceeds to pay through the waiter and the payment is effected on a first-come, first-serve basis. Once the payment is processed, the customer can leave at their own pleasure.
The service employees that are responsible for conveyance of hospitality services at the Final Stop Café are a key factor in services quality. Encounter with service staff is often the most important aspect of a service (Lovelock, et al., 2014). In light of this, it is prudent for Final Stop café to hire and attract the best qualified staff that will add value and improve profitability of the establishment.
Employees are better able to instill confidence and loyalty in customers by exuding warmth and friendliness, especially the front-office personnel, waiting staff and other staff that engage in employee contact. The staff welcomes customers in a friendly manner and guarantees service quality. This serves to attract and retain a loyal customer base. Employee demotivation compromises quality of services and products, and this can undermine consumer satisfaction, hence quality and productivity.
This begins by engagement of best recruitment practices to attract the best staff, and ensuring staff motivation at all times. Staff turnover is a good indication of motivation. If there is a high staff turnover within a short time, employees are most likely demoralized. Further, direct customer experience reports can serve as a reliable gauge for employee motivation. A motivated staff guarantees quality service for customers, and vice versa.
A reliable quality management measure that the Final Stop Café aims to employ for quality standard implementation is the service guarantee. A service guarantee is a surety or pledge awarded to customers that the products and facilities will be satisfactory. The elements of this guarantee will be productivity and quality services and products. Smooth workflow will improve productivity, where customers are attended to as quickly as possible and within the shortest time possible. The different serving protocols at different stages of the service delivery system aim at improving throughput, hence productivity.
Staff motivation through incentives, motivation and job maximization will help improve quality of services and products. Further, the attraction and recruitment of best staff will grant Final Stop Café a competitive leverage among other restaurants at the Coogee Beach by guaranteeing quality services.
The aim of this report is to guide the Final Stop Café’s in conceptualization of a viable operating strategy that seeks to balance quality and productivity. In order to achieve this, as this report offers, is development of an operational strategy that seeks to streamline operations, marketing and human resources. The establishment identifies that it is important to understand the steps involved in a service delivery system and seek ways to decentralize productivity and quality improvement so that it is emphasized at every stage of service delivery. It is important for the café to base its operations on customer satisfaction, as they are the key drivers of productivity. Workforce also needs to be of best quality and motivated at all times. This ensures the trickle-down effect of quality and productivity in the establishment.
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