Exercise 12 The process of serving a at a gourmet restaurant is an example of a cross-functional macro process in the food service sector. It is cross-functional because it often involves three different actors: the waitress, the chef and the cashier. In most cases, it is the waitress who connects and conveys instructions from the customer to the chef and cashier and vice versa. Occasionally, the customer may interact with the chef directly, depending on the particular culture and stature of either that given gourmet restaurant or the customer being served. Where the waitress connects the customer to the chef and cashier there are three sub processes involved: taking order from customer, giving menu order to the chef and giving billing order to the cashier.
Taking an order from a customer at a gourmet restaurant involves the following series of steps: (1) waitress provides customer with the menu; (2) customer goes through the menu; (3) waitress clarifies menu items with customer; (4) customer selects the meals that she wants and their quantity; (5) waitress goes with customers order. Giving menu order to chef is a shorter process involving: (1) waitress giving chef selected menu and order sequence; (2) chef giving waitress expected order timeliness; (3) waitress serving the meal to customer.
Finally, the billing sub-process involves four steps: (1) waitress informing cashier menu items served and their quantities; (2) cashier issues an invoice; (3) waitress gives customer invoice; (4) customer confirms invoice and gives waitress cash or card to debit as payment. Exercise 12-2 Some of the parameters that customers use to evaluate gourmet restaurants include: customer service, for example how long did they wait to be served, how long did it take to deliver their meals; food quality, though highly subjective it includes attributes such as freshness, taste, over-cooked or undercooked etc. ; and quality to cost ratio, that is whether the quality of the meal matched its price.
Feedback on customer service at gourmet restaurants often come in two ways. Firstly, the tip that the customer gives reflects her level of satisfaction with the service. A generous tip implies that the customer is pleased with the service. Secondly, before customer leaves the Maître d’ asks her for feedback.
This feedback can help the restaurant make special arrangements for say extra staff during peak hours to avoid leaving customer unattended or even extra chefs if the bottleneck is in terms of time it takes to deliver meals. On the other hand, feedback on quality of food is often given directly to the chef. The customer may request to see the chef or the chef may on his own accord come for feedback from her customers. For gourmet restaurants this particular form of feedback plays a critical role in the success of the business.
Gourmet restaurants are meant to accentuate the eating experience through taste and experiments. Chefs at these places have to continuously experiment with new menus if they hope to stay in business while at the same time their new menus must be not only palatable but exquisite to their customers palates. The customer to chef feedback is therefore very important.