A midsummer days' nightmare

Executive summary

The ability of managers to balance between employees’ personal demands and business established policies forms the most critical aspect in determining the levels of productivity and profitability that can be assimilated. This requires the human resources managers to ensure that the best practices are assimilated in dealing with workers at all times to guarantee their commitment.

The case study in this paper presents a situation where an individual with little leadership and management skills is charged with the role of managing a restaurant. Consequently, issues of coordinating activities coupled with other factors like limited workforce and resources makes the smooth operation of the business to become elusive.

The capacity to reflect successful leadership and management concepts in restaurant management stems from understanding work requirements, being professional, devising an acceptable vision, and challenging normal practice for the purpose of adding value and redefining existing culture in restaurant practices in order to anchor continued development.

Effective leadership and management in a restaurant therefore form the most critical elements that dictate strategic approaches and effectiveness in meeting restaurant business missions and objectives. To overcome the challenge facing this business, there is need for training and development of the existing leaders and other works as this will sharpen the workforce and create a forward force that will enable the restaurant to move forward.

1. Introduction

The capacity to reflect successful leadership and management concepts in restaurant management stems from understanding work requirements, being professional, devising an acceptable vision, and challenging normal practice for the purpose of adding value and redefining existing culture in restaurant practices in order to anchor continued development.

DiPietro et al (2007) posit that a leader in a restaurant must have the correct attributes and unique skills as well as characteristics that accompany them. As this paper analyses, leadership is the greatest factor that determines success or failure of an institution because it determines the focus, motivates lower level employees and ultimately links objective to success.

This paper is an in-depth evaluation of a case study of leadership and management at a fast food restaurant to determine management issues. Besides, it evaluates management problems in the restaurant and concludes by offering recommendations and strategic action plans of addressing the situation that was faces the leader.

2. Background and statement of the problem

Effective leadership and management in a restaurant form the most critical elements that dictate strategic approaches and effectiveness in meeting restaurant business missions and objectives.

The ability to realize high employees’ motivation, high productivity and eventual excellent consumer value and satisfaction demands careful articulation of human resource management principles that entails reducing their weaknesses while maximizing their strengths (Kimes, 2005). From the case study, the restaurant leadership has received immense pressure to improve performance from its top management.

However, there are numerous factors that present major problems to the realization of effective management. One of the major problems presented in the case is lack of training and professionalism in leadership of the restaurant as the mentioned leader mwpand other leaders have been put quickly promoted to positions of leadership without adequate knowledge of the roles they are supposed to carry (Sawyer & Melnyk, 2003).

This does not only force the unskilled leadership to frequently refer to guidelines and manuals for directions, but the roles also pose as burdens on their shoulders. Besides, human resource management is a major issue in the restaurant as there is no proper coordination of activities necessary to foster change, enhance motivation, recruitments and smooth functioning of activities.

Waller (2006) posits that the department and profession that plays one of the most important roles in any organization is the human resource department because it deals with workers, their motivation, appraisal and strategic focus that determines the overall productivity and profitability of any institution. Human resources departments are very crucial in their work because they link an organization with its visions because it is indeed the workers and employees who define the application of respective organization policies (Ofori, 2008).

3. Situation analysis- internal environment and external environment

Kimes (2005) points out that SWOT analysis is one of the best systems of analysing a company’s status and therefore determines its ability to progress in the market profitably. It explores a company from an internal consideration while gauging its external preparedness to address the different problems. Indeed, the ability of any business enterprise to grow lies in its capacity to maximally enhance its strengths and utilize the available opportunities while addressing the weaknesses and effectively countering the threats.

I. Internal factors

a) Strengths

The restaurant’s mission, goals, and objectives are very clear as the major guiding tools for its development and growth. As indicated in the case study, the company’s top management saw a rich niche of leadership among its workers upon which they could utilize as an entrepreneurial opportunity.

With all the other types of foods were being offered in the market and to customers, the mission to offer good menu was actually a major element of strength. Besides, the restaurant has also managed to grow due to the ability of the co-founders to assimilate recipes that are highly authentic and nutritious to the consumers.

As a marketing and sustainability strategy, this notion is able to bring and maintain consumers to the restaurant’s products. The other strength the restaurant is that it has product offerings that are unique and of excellent quality. The company has a unique corporate culture and offers its customers efficient services. This gives it a high reputation in the market.

II. Team orientation

The performance of small groups within an organisation is a key ingredient to the overall output of the entire organisation (Kimes & Thompson, 2004). Hence, the success of any organisation heavily relies on the individual output of small teams that constitute departments or divisions within an organisation. Increased productivity has been directly linked to group efficacy in an organisation.

Besides, there are other group dynamics elated to group efficacy that may also contribute positively to the growth of an organisation. Most studies have also revealed that group dynamics derive a lot of benefit from efficacy and the overall effectiveness of a group (Kimes & Thompson, 2004).

Although leadership style in an organisation is paramount in driving groups, leadership satisfaction may not necessarily be affected by group efficacy. In this restaurant, despite poor leadership, there is team orientation, a concept of team building that can be described as an organizational behaviour and practice that attempts to bring employees together as one cohesive team that works to achieve a common objective or goal.

b) Weaknesses

The ability to identify and establish modes of addressing the different weaknesses in any company or business unit, acts as a rotating framework upon which growth and development can be inferred (Waller, 2006). Ogunlana (2008) explains that all business units posses various weaknesses that determine their overall ability to achieve the necessary productivity and profitability.

While the ability to select the correct and professional leaders who share the same vision and are strongly entrepreneurial oriented is a key facet in enhancing faster growth and adaptability of a restaurant business unit to assimilate the necessary growth with time, the restaurant management selected untrained and inexperienced leaders to manage the business’ operations.

Indeed, bad choice of business leadership has acted as a major setback for the restaurant and a major point for its near downfall. Besides, another distressful weakness that the restaurant has is adapting faster to the ever changing needs of a restaurant operations. The management of the restaurant lacks proper coordination and communication necessary to ensure smooth flow of operation and provision of necessary resources.

c) Opportunities

According to Kimes (2005), the most important aspects of any business entity is its management ability to identify the different opportunities that face it at different periods. The restaurant has numerous opportunities in the hospitality business arena to enhance provision of services and quality food stuff.

Being a restaurant that served its customers for several years and has made tremendous advances in terms of products and services, it has more time to prepare, analyze the external environment and set strategies for future changes. In addition, the business has competencies that include a team of workers who are self motivated which it can use to enhance provision of services in the market.

Threats

Like other restaurants in today’s economy, this restaurant faces numerous threats that affect its performance in the hospitality industry. One such threat concerns limited resources to use to improve its products and business operations.

From the case study, it is depending on old and worn out machineries to preserve and prepare food stuff. Deficiency of resources is a threat to this restaurant as it may make it less competitive and lose its hold of customers in the market. Consequently, its competitors who are equally stronger will take its position in the market.

Besides, another threat is its leadership which is less trained and lacks professional experience to run restaurant operations (Sawyer & Melnyk, 2003).

This problem is compounded by the fact that other core leaders have neglected their roles and instead left the running of the restaurant to less skilled leaders. The effect of this threat is that the effectiveness of service provision, human resource management as well as customer service will diminish. This calls for the leadership of the restaurant to change its tactics and set new management strategies.

III. External factors

d) Economic factor

One of the economic factors affecting the restaurant is the trade cycle that Kimes and Thompson (2004) describe as the fluctuation of cost of commodities or goods in an economy. Accessing food materials and resources such as refrigerators and cooking materials due to their cost are some of the challenges that the restaurant face due to the rise, fall, stability and continuity of cost of products. It is imperative to note that trade cycles is a changing factor that impacts on any business in an economy due to changes in general price level.

5. Analysis of alternatives

a) Offer training and install new machineries

In his publication, Kimes (2005) points out that all institutions whether profit or not for profit seek to grow and meet their outlaid perspectives. This has however been a great challenge with many institutions as their leaders and workers lack adequate training resulting to losses or suboptimal profitability.

Training and development therefore becomes so critical to all organizations because so critical because it determines the ability of an organization to remain in its vision objectives (Yun, Cox & Sims, 2006). As case brought it, lack of training for the promoted leaders made their work and the smooth running of the business cumbersome. Training and development will sharpen the workforce and create a forward force that enables an organization to move forward.

This is in line with John Kotter’s theory of change management which posits that workers are the driving forces for their institutions (de Vries, Bakker-pieper, & Oostenveld, 2010). The top management of the restaurant should train workers to create the innovativeness edge sharp enough for higher profitability, innovativeness and and provision of better quality products and services.

b) Establish supportive structures

In his theory of organization change, Kurt Lewin pointed out that there is need to establish the necessary supportive structures that cultivate the need for change demands (Ogunlana, 2008). The theory points out that that organizations’ leadership has a role in provision of the necessary goodwill that brings down the management to the workers levels (de Vries, Bakker-pieper, & Oostenveld, 2010).

It is worth noting that over the years, the need for change in managing restaurants has risen at different instances especially with the rising levels of competition and fast changing business environment.

It became clear from the case study that management problems will always call for major and minor changes that directly or indirectly impact of the restaurant. It is in this respect that this calls for long term critical thinking as a basis for management decision making at all times.

6. Recommendations, implementation (Action plan) and conclusion

In the theory of cultural dynamics, the overall ability of an organization to assimilate change and maintain the same consideration is through careful inclusion of the workers into the change demands which carves their necessary identity (Alimo-Metcalfe et al., 2008).

The theory continues to say that though the management acts as the major proprietor for enhancing the necessary progress in an organization, the most important factor is the workers who dictate the application and efficiency of the same considerations. Since the restaurant culture is to quickly promote its workers into positions of leadership, it should focus on their experience as this will be key in facilitations their effective operations.

De Vries, Bakker-pieper, & Oostenveld, 2010 argue that as contingency theories indicate, effective change management requires that careful structural constitution where the alignment of structures is empowered to ensure stronger flow and coordination of the major decisions assimilated by an organization for change. It is in this respect that there is need for coordination between the top management and other leaders in the restaurant which is lacking according to the case study.

The top management of the restaurant should consider that a leader such as one in the case study being in the restaurant and interacting with customers and other workers posses greater knowledge to point out at the areas that need change. Palmer (2009) points out that though management of the restaurant may not necessarily apply the propositions by the leader in charge, they should view the emergent considerations to change as part of their own decisions.

Besides, following the increasing demand for quality services by the staff to consumers, installation of better machineries and training employees will possibly be the best system as it would enhance their in their operations and enhance their accountability. The system will also be good in that it will employ the company’s resources instead of seeking external facilities for training and practices.

Figure 1: Training and installation program

Time Action Expected outcomes/ suggested practical applications
2 days Install new machineries Changes in the systems outlook
2 Weeks Train employees Training on skills
1 Week Test new toasters Practical application of skills
1 Month Check customer Satisfaction Outcome evaluation
6 Months Monitoring the progress Continuous organization assessment

References

Alimo-Metcalfe, B., Alban-Metcalfe, J., Bradley, M., & Samele, C. (2008). The impact of engaging leadership on performance, attitudes to work and wellbeing at work. Journal of Health Organization and Management, 22(6), 586-98.

de Vries, R.,E., Bakker-pieper, A., & Oostenveld, W. (2010). Leadership = communication? The relations of leaders communication styles with leadership styles, knowledge sharing and leadership outcomes. Journal of Business and Psychology, 25(3), 367-380.

DiPietro, R. B., Murphy, K. S., Rivera, M., & Muller, C. (2007). Multi-unit management key success factors in the casual dining restaurant industry. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 19(7), 524-524.

Kimes, S. E. (2005). Restaurant revenue management: Could it work? Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management, 4(1), 95-97.

Kimes, S. E., & Thompson, G. M. (2004). Restaurant revenue management at chevys: Determining the best table mix. Decision Sciences, 35(3), 371-392.

Ofori, G. (2008). Tipping points that inspire leadership. Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, 15(3), 212-229.

Ogunlana, S. O. (2008). Performance and leadership outcome correlates of leadership styles and subordinate commitment. Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, 15(2), 164-184.

Palmer, D. E. (2009). Business leadership: Three levels of ethical analysis. Journal of Business Ethics, 88(3), 525-536.

Waller, K. (2006). Successful restaurant management: From vision to execution. Journal of Vacation Marketing, 12(4), 381-382.

Yun, S., Cox, J., & Sims, H. P. Jr. (2006). The forgotten follower: A contingency model of leadership and follower self-leadership. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 21(4), 374-388.

Sawyer, L. & Melnyk, J. (2003). A midsummer day’s nightmare. Comprehensive Cases, 1-5.

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