Hospitality and Tourism Industry Overview
Challenges and Solutions of Restaurant Operation
Running a restaurant is associated with difficult obstacles related to organization and operation. Among the management mandates a restaurant has to tackle include hiring and keeping the best cooks, managing information, exploring novel ingredients and recipes among others. Apparently, operating a successful restaurant or a coffee-shop takes more than just cooking the food and serving it to the customers.
The restaurant business attracts many investors. As a result, competition becomes stiff driving out new comers or preventing new businesses from growing. Competition is a healthy phenomenon in any market but if ignored can be detrimental to individual businesses. A relatively small market inundated by several restaurants would culminate in operational constraints owing to decreased sales and increase in operational costs (Abu-Yousef, 2008). A viable solution to competition would be proper analysis of the market from time to time to determine market trends, initiate appropriate response to be able to stay ahead of the competition. Creativity and consistency are fundamentally critical to maintaining customer loyalty. One needs to keep abreast with the customer dislikes, desires, demands and opinions so as to remain top of the industry.
A restaurateur comes up against regulatory issues by local and government authorities. They include licenses and permits, insurance requirements and administrative codes such as zoning considerations. Health and wastage disposal requirements may include regular maintenance of walls, floors, ventilation, toilet facilities among others. Zoning requirements usually demarcate commercial and residential areas (Bell, Ketchum, and Eric 2008). Therefore, an exemption would be required to set up a restaurant in a residential area with a vast market. As noted, all the above regulations and requirements add to the total cost of operating business. However, these are working standards set by the authorities and cannot be avoided. How can a Restaurant run smoothly despite this challenge? For any business to overcome its basic operational costs, business expansion is crucial. A big business is able to avoid such financial constraints through growth of revenue. With high revenues, a business is able to cater for its basic costs without much strain.
Demographic issues that a restaurateur faces are inconsistencies in income earning in the society. This affects the ability of customers to eat in restaurants at the prevailing cost of meals. A meal can be deemed expensive in one town or neighborhood but acceptable in a different town. Not all people like restaurant meals. Some prefer to cook and eat in their homes so as to satisfy their dietary needs. This also affects the success of the business. Other demographic issues affecting the success of a restaurant include the health of a community, size of the population among others. Geographical location is an important factor as well. A restaurant located in the town centre is likely to do better than one located in the outskirts due to the difference in the number of people likely to visit them.
Maintaining a properly efficient inventory system is a major challenge. This involves an additional cost so as to manage food costs. A proper inventory helps in management of food wastage, storage issues, food quantities, food prices, and deliveries. In the long run, costs are minimized and a sustainable pricing scheme established. This will enable the restaurant to grow and stay in the market.
The Impact of Computerization on Food Service and Lodging Operations
Computerization has revolutionized food preparation in terms of better control of quality and quantity. Ordering and procurement can be performed through the e-commerce websites which enable flexibility of the process (Pantelidis, 2009). Other notable features are robots that prepare drinks and the ovens connected to digital timers to control cooking in kitchens.
Making reservations has being made easier through the computerization. Online booking is available on the most restaurants’ websites. A customer can therefore be sure that their reservation will be effected. Additionally, bills by guests, room allocations, conferences and special occasions can be managed through a computer system. Some restaurants or hotels provide their customers with extensive computer services like free internet which is an efficient incentive.
Computers are also used in the accounting department to record sales and monitor revenues. The use of highly specialized and technically efficient computer software to manage the accounts enables managers to avoid losses due to human error. There is also improved service delivery through online settlement of payments by customers. Ordering of supplies is also computerized and payments easily effected through the same medium. All other sales transactions maintained by a computer system translate to improved management. Generation of reports for presentation to owners and investors can be computerized. This greatly reduces operation costs compared to a manual system.
Personnel management is also affected by computerization. This is by keeping proper records to determine shifts, overtime or special leave by employees. This helps to ensure that there is adequate workforce at any given time in relation to demand. Management of employee duties can also be computerized to ensure that each employee knows where they are supposed to work.
The Interdependence of Food Service, Lodging, and Meeting Segments
More often than not, many hotels in the hospitality industry combine food service, lodging and meeting segments. This is ideally meant to expand revenue through diversification of services. Apparently too, these three segments run hand in hand. Usually, a customer will book the conference room and requests for food service and often require lodging services if the meeting takes a while. It is also inevitable that the lodging service will be accompanied by food service. Therefore, these three segments are highly interdependent.
In smaller hotels, a lodging manager can manage to control all the three segments. In bigger hotels, the three managers at the helm of these segments work together to ensure a smooth management. The lodging manager will work with the conferences manager to determine personnel requirements and the quantity of food needed by the guests who decide to seek accommodation services after a meeting.
To improve on the synergy of these segments, it is important to offer training to all employees enabling them to work in any of the segments (Bell, Ketchum, and Eric 2008). This will improve adaptability, flexibility and efficiency in service delivery. Another way to further improve the synergy is by ensuring that there is an efficient communication and fast sharing of information as it is received. If possible, one department should allow the other to directly access information from a centralized information system. To improve the relationship of these segments, there is need for a proper understanding of each segment’s duty and the avenues that connect individual segments to one another. This is to avoid bureaucracy, confusion or misunderstandings that may hinder efficiency. Staffs in these departments need to be enlightened on their roles.
Gaming entertainment involves casinos, card rooms, charitable games, lottery games and horse races. These activities can successfully be integrated in the hospitality industry. However, government scrutiny is increased. This is in form of imposing more regulations and more tax levies. Additionally, some view these venues as susceptible to abuse by criminals in planning and execution of unlawful activities. On the other hand, gaming entertainment increase profits and improve service delivery in the hospitality industry.
Abu-Yousef, R. (2008). Top ten Reasons why Restaurants Fail. Retrieved from http://www.r-innovations.com/ReasonsRestaurantsFail.html
Bell, C., Ketchum, L. and Eric, H. (2008). “Steps to Success for Rural Entrepreneurs: Starting a Small Restaurant.” Prepared for U.S Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration by University of Alaska Center for Economic Development. Retrieved from: http://ced.uaa.alaska.edu/publications/manuals/FINALRestaurantHandbook.pdf
Pantelidis, I. (2009). High Tech Foodservice; an Overview of Technological Advancement. Retrieved from: http://www.academia.edu/180452/High_tech_foodservice_an_overview_of_technological_advancements