discuss definitions of quality in terms of business and services provision business and services provision
illustrate the processes of inspection and assurance
discuss a range of approaches to quality management
In any commercial operation, quality management is an important aspect which needs to be properly addressed to ensure future success and continuity of the operation. This is why I shall discuss the different approaches to quality management which can be utilized in the context of a commercial operation.
According to ISO 8402-1986, quality can be explained on the basis of totality of characteristics or features of a product or service that has the ability to meet the implied needs of the product or service (Oliver et al. 1994; Petrovsky et al. 2017; Grimmelikhuijsen et al. 2017). Quality control can be understood as a system that can be used to maintain standards in the quality of products or services by measuring the output to the specifications (Mitra 2016)
Quality of a service or product can also be measured on the basis of three characteristics: intangibility, heterogeneity and inseparability (Hilton 2016; Manhas et al. 2015; Özer et al. 2013; Biege et al. 2013). Quality Inspection is a process of checking a product or service. The inspection can be done following a standardized checklist based on required specifications of the product or service (Anjoran 2018). Quality Assurance is a process that is used to prevent defects or mistakes in a product or a service. This process focuses on planning, documenting and agreeing upon a set of standards and guidelines that can ensure quality of the product or service (Robinson 2017). Quality Assurance is a process that is used to prevent defects or mistakes in a product or a service. This process focuses on planning, documenting and agreeing upon a set of standards and guidelines that can ensure quality of the product or service (Winkler et al. 2017).
In total quality control and management, the following six steps can be implemented to ensure and maintain quality: a) defining the quality characteristics of the service b) identifying how to measure those characteristics c) setting quality standards for each characteristic d) setting quality control for each characteristic e) Identify and eliminate causes of bad quality f) continuous improvements (Goetsch and Davis 2014).
Additionally, different steps can also be used to receive accreditation from the investors. Accreditation from Investors in People can be obtained through 4 steps, namely: Discovery, Online Assessment (IIP40 online assessment), Employee interview and observations, and Accreditation reports and feedbacks (investorsinpeople.com 2018; Smith et al. 2015).
W Edwards Deming suggested 14 aspects which can help in the management of quality, which are: consistency, adoption of new philosophy, mass inspection, minimize total cost, constant improvement, training, leadership, reduce fear, break barriers between departments, remove negative practice, remove numerical quota, remove barriers to workmanship, education and retraining and cooperation. The Deming wheel or PDCA cycle further suggests that quality of a service can be managed through a cycle of Planning, Doing, Checking and Acting (PDCA) (Dudin et al. 2015; Johnson 2016; Goetsch and Davis 2014).
Joseph Juran provided a cross functional approach towards quality management, comprising of three processes: Quality Control , planning of the quality and Quality improvement (Goetsch and Davis 2014).
Philip Crosby defined the four absolutes of quality management as: a conformation to requirements, preventing as a system of quality, maintaining zero defects in overall performance and price of non-conformance as a quality measurement. He outlined 5 ‘vaccines’ for improvement of quality: integrity, systems, communication, operations and policies (Sallis 2014; Goetsch and Davis 2014).
All these three theories aim to improve quality through the focus on the improvement of the quality of the process and also the final product or service provided, and also incorporates the process of identifying the challenges or barriers towards optimum performance and thereby removing them.
I strongly believe that such information will be highly useful for your consideration.
In the hospitality industry, customer satisfaction is an important aspect, since the industry focuses on experiences of the customer. It is helpful to assess the level of happiness of a customer to the given services in the hospitality industry and therefore, a focus on customer satisfaction helps to keep expectations of the customer at the forefront of the business process. Customer satisfaction is a key aspect which depends on the behaviors of the service providers (Lee t al. 2016). Customer satisfaction has been linked to five other factors such as brand image, perceived quality of service, perceived value of service, customer loyalty, and customer expectations by Lee at al. (2016). The diagram below represents how these five factors affects customer satisfaction.
In the hospitality industry, different strategies can be used to in achieve and maintain high levels of customer satisfaction. These strategies are mentioned below:
- Strong online presence:
- Understanding the needs of the customer
- Addressing customer feedbacks and complaints promptly.
- Staff training: This can help to ensure that all staff has the necessary skills to work in harmony towards the satisfaction of the customer, helping smooth running of the business and therefore further improve customer satisfaction.
- Tacking, analysis and reporting on customer satisfaction
(Pizam et al. 2016; Kim et al. 2015; Radojevic et al. 2015; Bruns-Smith et al. 2015)
Several continuous improvement models are available which can be implemented in the operations of a restaurant, which includes: six sigma, kizen, failfast/fail forward, perpetual beta, Parasuraman gap model of service quality (Goetsch and Davis 2014; Dale 2015).
Six sigma is aimed to increase efficiency and reduce errors or wastage. Using this technique, one can define measure, analyze, improve and control the process. This strategy can help to improve order accuracy, improve quality and also reduce errors in team work. This strategy can be used to increase performance of the staff (Pyzdek and Keller 2014).
Kaizen focuses on small, incremental changes in a process that leads to increased efficiency and quality of the service. The steps include: training, ensuring the acquired skills are used in practice, building work team and employee environment, using problem-solving strategies in work team and developing a sense of operator ownership. This can be useful to bring about slight changes in the operations (Androniceanu 2017).
Fail Fast strategy is useful in situations of high level of uncertainty, and helps to identify products or services which are not working and does not move quickly. In a restaurant, this can be useful to identify projects which are or are not worth investment (Khanna et al. 2016).
Perpetual beta is a strategy that considers a process as a state of continuous development (or beta stage) (Fredericks et al. 2017). This strategy can be utilized to ensure continuous improvement of various processes in the organization.
Parasuraman gap model of service quality also called the 5 gap model identifies 5 gaps that should be addresses by an organization: Gap 1 is the difference between customer expectation and the perception of the management regarding customer expectation. Gap 2 is the distance between management’s perception and actual experiences of the customer. Gap 3 is the distance between specification of experience and the delivery of experience. Gap 4 is the distance between delivery of customer experience and what had already been communicated to them and Gap 5 is the distance between customer perception regarding service experiences and has been actually delivered to them (Vinayak and Bedi 2017; Ross 2017).
A restaurant business is a very competitive industry, and the success of a restaurant often depends on transient factors such as the taste of the food, customer expectations or needs, economy as well as the presence of competitors who use more innovative strategies to attract customers (Alonso-Almeida 2015). Due to this, it is not merely enough for restaurants to just plan an improvement strategy to expect a successful outcome, but must be able to implement a process of improvement as a continuous and regular phenomenon (Hutchins 2016). Without a continuous improvement process, a restaurant can fall back to ineffective processes even after the initial implementation of the improvement strategy (Ylänen 2017). Discussed below are some strategies which can be used to ensure continuous improvement of the business process:
Added value can be understood as a difference between the final selling price of a commodity or service with the marketing value of the product. This is a type of value that makes a product or service more appealing to the customer (Bowie et al. 2016). The added value of a product can be improved by the following strategies:
- Identification of risks and areas of improvement: Through the process of audits of functions and processes in the restaurant, key areas of risks as well as scopes of improvement can be identified, and therefore be addressed in the improvement plan.
- Analysis of the process can be done, after the key areas of improvement and strategic risks have been identified through the audit. Analysis allows the identification of the weak links.
- Planning of a strategy for improvement. The strategy can address the reason for implementing the change, the process that needs to be changed, and how will the processes be changed. Any financial resources implicated by these changes must also be clearly outlined.
- Preparation of the staff for the change or implementation of the new process, and briefing them on the reasons for implementation of the change.
(Bowie et al. 2016)
These strategies can be implemented at different processes in the restaurant:
- Food Ordering: This process can be improved by many ways like having separate ordering lines for each food type, regular inventory count on the same day of every week, preventing the ordering of too much perishable food.
- Checkout: electronic process of checkout can be helpful to make the process more efficient, and also reduce costs.
- Food leaving kitchen can also be inspected before it reaches the customer table, to ensure incorrect or cold meals are not being served.
- Point of sale systems can also be incorporated by integrating the above aspects into a single intelligent system that can help to streamline the ordering process, automate inventory count, and trigger orders of raw materials upon reaching pre-stock levels. This system can also be integrated to mobile payment systems to further ease the payment and collection process. These systems can also help to improve accuracy of the orders, speed preparation time and improve the productivity of the staff.
Different types of information can be made available to the customers to improve marketing of the brand/organization. These include ratings and feedbacks of the restaurants, coverage in social media and public media, highlighting special offers/promotional/value added services or products for the customers. Also, information on the food like calorific value, serving size can also be provided (Green et al. 2015) These aspects can help customers to understand the services or products of the organization.
How quality management can be measured and how to plan for quality and control quality:
In an organizational level, a formal evaluation can be a part of the management strategy such as total quality management (TQM) or continuous quality improvement (CQI) (Dale 2015). These strategies allow the gathering and analysis of data in order to measure the service quality. Few approaches in the assessment of the quality management practice, such as SERVQUAL, LibQUAL+TM, Performance Indicators (PI) Benchmarking and Accreditation (Chaturvedi 2017; Mallya and Patwardhan 2018; Gössling 2015; Come 2015; Widarsyah et al. 2017)
Quality planning in a restaurant can include the following strategies:
- Cost Benefit Analysis- This helps to understand the different costs of the organizations versus the potential benefits, and therefore be used to eliminate those costs which can be prohibitive (Svensson 2016)
- Design planning can be done at the early stages to ensure quality standards are maintained
- Understanding the costs of poor quality planning for chefs helps to understand the costs incurred by the restaurants when the chef fails to deliver as per the customer’s expectations
- Planning quality management strategies can be implemented to every aspects of the restaurant
- Quality quantifiers can be implemented using quality checklists which can be self assessed.
(Goetsch and Davis 2014)
Quality Control can be implemented in a restaurant by:
- Improving/maintaining guest service: a good service will foster good experience of the customer, and hence help to develop customer loyalty
- Improving/maintaining quality of food: Quality of food in terms of its taste or smell as well as their presentation can include an artistic appeal to the food and therefore help to improve customer satisfaction
- Staff training: this helps to ensure that allows staff have the necessary skills and conduct the best practices to ensure satisfaction of the customers
- Cleanliness and Sanitation: Proper cleanliness and sanitation helps to maintain a clean, healthy and hygienic environment, and is a significant consideration in any hospitality organization
Advantages and disadvantages of user and non-user survey to determine customer needs in a restaurant industry
In the restaurant industry, user surveys refers to the surveys filled up by the customers in the form of customer feedback or customer satisfaction survey questionnaires, while non-user surveys are the surveys done on the general public and not specifically to customers. The surveys can be crucial to evaluate the needs or expectations of the customer and thereby address such aspects to improve the quality of service (Hill and Alexander 2017). The process has different advantages and disadvantages such as:
Advantages of surveys:
- Real-time feedback: This can help to stay focused on the customer reaction to all aspects of the business process, and help to identify current customer trends.
- Benchmarking results: This can help to compare and contrast survey results from multiple customers over time, to identify changes in customer needs and expectations and deicide if any changes are needed to address them
- Showing customers that their concerns are important for the management. The feedbacks assure the customer that the management is concerned of their opinions and intends to retain them in the long term.
Disadvantages of customer satisfaction surveys include:
- Limitation of time to fill the surveys: Too many surveys that regularly bombard the customers leave them very little time to properly fill out the surveys, and therefore can result in low response rates and low satisfaction scores despite efforts to improve them
- Issues of customer privacy: Customer information filled up in the survey forms can also lead to issues of privacy and therefore can dissuade many customers to fill the forms properly.
(Hill and Brierley 2017)
Encourage participation by under-represented group though consultation methods
Participation by under-represented groups can be encouraged through several strategies like surveys (forms, telephonic, electronic and mail survey) or interviews. Analysis of surveys and interviews can help to identify the challenges, requirements, and expectations of the people. Under-represented groups can be encouraged to participate in the surveys and interviews to share their thoughts, ideas, comments, feedbacks and expectations (Allen et al. 2016; Chen and Raab 2017).
The survey forms should allow quick identification of the concerns or ideas shared by the individual, and also allow comparison of the survey results and easy consolidation. Through comparison and consolidation, it would be possible for the management to visualize any patterns in the information shared by the under-represented groups (Brace 2018)
Survey forms can be filled up manually by the individuals and submitted to the surveyor, while telephonic surveys can be done remotely over the phone, thereby bypassing the necessity of the surveyor to meet each person for the survey. Email surveys and electronic surveys can be sent through emails to specific groups, which further ease the survey process, since it gives a flexibility to the individual to fill up the survey form at a time of their convenience.
Participation of under-represented groups can be further improved through improving the presence of the business in the local communities (of the under-represented groups), in mainstream media as well as social media platforms, and increasing the awareness of the brand in the selected populations (Chan et al. 2015; Manchanda et al. 2015).
Improving quality through complaints procedure
The procedure of complaints is a vital strategy through which the management is able to understand the concerns of the people. Customer complaints and feedback is therefore an important marketing strategy through which opinions of the customers regarding a business can be highlighted (Cheng et al. 2015). There are several reasons why the procedure of complains can be useful to improve quality of service or product:
- It helps in the improvement of the product or service by understanding and addressing the needs or problems of the customer
- It helps to measure customer satisfaction by analyzing how happy or unhappy a customer is with the service or product
- It provides vital information on how to improve the customer experience by asking the customers what they want and using that information to create a more personalizes experience.
- It can help to improve retention of the customer and brand loyalty by promptly addressing the customer’s feedbacks or concerns, and improving their experiences quickly.
- It can be used to provide tangible information which can inform more effective business decisions. Data collected from feedbacks and surveys can be consolidated to create such actionable information which the management can then consider.
- It can be used to identify customer advocates and help to develop strong and mutually beneficial relations with them and further improve the brand presence.
(Yilmaz et al. 2016; Pan and Huan 2017).
Subject: Improving Service Quality in a restaurant
Role of Self Assessment
Self assessment is a process that helps an organization to identify their position in the path towards excellence, and help to plan the next steps of the business. This is usually the first step of an organization towards effective outcomes. Self assessments can also help the management to identify areas of improvement in order to better serve the objectives of the organization. Self assessment can also provide several key advantages to an organization such as: identification of success and opportunities for improvement, facilitate a change initiative, empower improvement strategies, empower workforce, align the activities of the workforce towards the organizational goals, access performance with competition and streamline the resource of the organization to the strategic objectives (Kulkarni et al. 2015).
Different tools for self assessment can be used to improve service quality such as Benchmarking and European foundation for quality management (Efqm) questionnaire. Benchmarking allows transparency and performance of a process and therefore is an important aspect of total quality management (TQM) strategy. Benchmarking provides a way of referencing or measurement standards for comparison and is therefore a form of performance measurement, helping to maintain standards of excellence for a business (Dale 2015).
The EFQM excellence model is a comprehensive management framework that is extensively used throughout Europe. The EFQM is aimed to assist and support organizations trying to achieve sustainable excellence and comprises of both private and public organizations. The EFQM excellence model is a framework that can help to develop a holistic understanding of an organization regardless of their size, sector or maturity (Calvo-Mora et al 2015). The framework helps to understand the cause-effect relations between the functions of the organization to the results it achieves. The framework is further made up of three components: the fundamental concepts of excellence, the model criteria and the RADAR logic (Bolboli and Reiche 2015).
communication and record keeping importance
Communication is an important strategy in the process of quality management. Effective communication is a necessary tool for implementing any large scale change, and therefore is an integral part of the quality improvement framework. To ensure proper communication, it is also necessary to consider the inputs, outputs, out-takes and outcomes of a process, where input is the background information, output is the quantitative measure of the process, out-take is the measure of employee awareness and outcome is the measure of how much the communication changes the behavior of the staff. Furthermore, strategic communication can also help to develop an operational effectiveness, and therefore ensure quality of service. In business projects, communication between the managers and staff helps to develop an understanding of the organizational policies and is a mode of information exchange. Therefore, communication is also considered as an essential managerial skill, since it is the precursor towards quality of process (Dale 2015; Ross 2017).
The process of record keeping is another significant strategy that helps in the assimilation of vital business relation which can be useful for the management to make key decisions. In this process, the records are first identified, filed, protected and controlled and it provides a history on how a quality management system functions. Through accurate records, it is possible to understand the performance of QMS, identify sources of key problems faced by the organization, assess compliance to standards and requirements, identify patterns in QMS performance and also monitor improvements (Benavides-Velasco et al. 2014).
Advantages of communication and record keeping is that they both provide real time information regarding the process, as well as help to identify concerns, ideas, beliefs or expectations of individuals. Disadvantages of communication and record keeping are that they both can be time consuming, and sensitive to errors (Dale 2015; Ross 2017).
Implementing quality scheme in Staff consultation process:
Quality scheme can be implemented at various levels of staff consultation process. The process comprises of four stages: 1. Forming ideas, 2. consulting on the proposal, 3. Considering response and giving feedback, and 4. Decision making and implementation (Ross 2017).
In stage one; the staff can be informed on the change policies under consideration, communicating the organizational objectives. A communication plan can be developed to ensure effective communication of information through regular meetings and organizational charts (Ross 2017).
In stage two, communication plan and consultation plans can be implemented, and a draft of the organizational chart can be shared with the employees with explanations on the change processes. All the necessary details of the change process can be outlined regarding when and how the change will be implemented. Sufficient time is also allocated to clarify and doubts of the staff or addresses any feedbacks from them. Question answer sheets and FAQ can be designed to address the commonly asked questions. Selecting a group of staff experts can also help to ensure the staff understands the required protocols for change and facilitate communication further (Ross 2017).
In stage three, feedback from the staff can be collated in a format that can be easily understood. The feedback are properly addressed and clarified, and the proposed changes are amended to address the key aspects of the feedback. The responses to the feedback also should be made available to the staff, who participated in the feedback process. This also improves the communication between the management and the staff (Ross 2017).
In stage four, the decisions of the management is shared with the staff and support mechanisms for the employees are identified. Setting clear milestones, regular updates, and audit can help to ensure the planned changes are implemented and maintained (Ross 2017).
The New System that can improve service quality:
From the discussions above several strategies can be suggested that can improve the service quality of your restaurant, these are:
- Ensuring all staff are properly trained to provide the best service and provide best customer experience
- Providing attention and focus on the customers and their expectations and needs
- Ensuring the premise is clean and hygienic
- Ensuring customers in waiting area are not ignored
- Ensuring that the service and orders are delivered on time
- Ensuring that the orders are checked before it leaves the kitchen
- Making the process of payment easier through mobile paying apps and other payment options
- Facilitating splitting of bills
- Integrating automated point of sales applications that can place orders, check inventory and trigger stocking of products
- Integrating customer feedback forms with the bill to check customer satisfaction
- Ensuring a strong online and social media presence
- Addressing customer feedbacks and reviews promptly
- Regular quality assessment and audit of service
- Following key performance indicators
- Benchmarking and accreditation of services
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