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Applications of Information Technology Essay

ABSTRACT

Restaurants are built of complex systems for buying, storing, preparing and selling food. Cuban Pete’s is a popular independently owned restaurant located in Montclair, New Jersey. The restaurant offers a dynamic menu of Cuban ethnic items and has received renowned recognition. The restaurant has 285 seats — 195 of them in three sprawling dining rooms and 90 on an outdoor patio decked; takes reservations only for groups of six or more; and boasts that two-hour waits not uncommon; employs 40 PTE’s and 15 FTE’s; serves 500 patrons on average a day; and generates $400K in revenue monthly. Over the past 16 months, there has been a decrease in revenue and repeat customers. Cuban Pete’s needs to improve operation efficiencies, reduce cost, decrease customer wait and sit times, increase customer satisfaction, and improve marketing.

With no current automated systems, this paper will discuss how the strategic, managerial, and operational control of a small restaurant business can improve with the implementation of management information systems which coordinates everything from scheduling personnel to customer service. Systems to be discussed include Point of Sale Systems, Customer Service Management (CSM) systems, and social media for marketing and promotion.

BRIEF COMPANY HISTORY

Cuban Pete’s is an independently owned restaurant located in Montclair, New Jersey. It was established in 2006 and is owned by Dominick Restaino. With a history as a restaurateur and in honor of his Cuban heritage, Mr. Restaino named the restaurant after the hit 1946 Desi Arnaz films and as an establishment that would evoke the fevered, anything-goes 24-hour fiesta that was pre-Castro Havana, Cuba. Mr. Restaino hired a staff of affable waiters and dressed them in bright Cuban sport shirts and narrow-brim Panama hats. He brought in a designer, Tony Ortiz, who had the exposed-brick and distressed-plaster walls painted in tropical yellows and reds and aquas. The menu consists of tapas and entrees that top out at $16.95. Although well sought for its dynamic list of sangria offerings, Cuban Pete’s does not have an alcohol license.

BUSINESS PROBLEM

Restaurants are built of complex systems for buying, storing, preparing and selling food. The business problems to be solved will include a restaurants need to improve operation efficiencies, reduce cost, decrease customer wait and sit times, increase customer satisfaction, and have real-time performance monitoring. Although Cuban Pete’s has received press accolades, there business issues that need to be addressed immediately. In 2006, Mr. Restaino was arrested, pleaded guilty, and paid a fine for serving alcohol in sangria without a license. Then, the original and well-known chef, Carl Ruiz, left the in 2008 and since the team of cooks have yet to achieve the same level of customer accolades. In addition, over the past 16 months, although there has been a recessional recovery, Cuban Pete’s has not experienced an increase in business revenue and has experienced a decrease in repeat customers.

Wait times are long and all reservations, seating, order processing, and reconciliations are done manually and payments are not reconciled to orders. Although the business has a website with a widget that allows visitors to be added to the company’s mailing list, there is no in-house practice of obtaining customer information, request of online customer satisfaction participation or web follow-up. Finally, most marketing and business promotion is done mostly via word of mouth and in local newspapers. Cuban Pete’s needs to improve operation efficiencies, reduce cost, decrease customer wait and sit times, increase customer satisfaction, and improve marketing. Major business problems to be resolved are:

* Increase in revenue

* Attract new customers

* Retain and engage repeat customers

* Establish practices to streamline and automate business practices
With no current automated systems, Cuban Pete’s to implementation of Point of Sale Systems, Customer Service Management (CSM) systems, and social media for marketing and promotion to demonstrate better strategic, managerial, and operational control.

HIGH LEVEL SOLUTION

Strategic decisions are characterized by uncertainty and unstructured decision. These areas will include budgets, target markets, policies, and business objectives. Cuban Pete’s needs to implement automated systems that provide data in real-time on food items ordered and comparisons of weekly sales totals versus food costs, allowing planning for tighter cost controls. The management also needs to implement automated operational controls of specific tasks through appropriate technology such streamlining the customer transaction process including order tracking, order processing, machine control, scheduling, and compensation. Further, to experience a return on investment, increase customer satisfaction, improve the financial reporting process, and enhance strategic planning and performance monitoring efficiencies, Cuban Pete’s needs to implement a Point of Sales System and utilize social media for marketing and promotion.

BENEFITS OF SOLVING THE PROBLEM

Automation has its advantages. By implementing MIS, Cuban Pete’s will experience a reduction in manual labor and human error, an increase customer feedback to help waiters service the customers, and improved  capabilities for view of sales figures, menu planning, and cost accounting details. By implementing the following systems, Cuban Pete’s will attract more customers, improve wait times, streamline processes, and ultimately experience an increase in revenue and customer satisfaction.

TECHNICAL APPROACH

Innovation continues to improve the way companies do business. As a relatively small establishment, Cuban Pete’s needs a low-cost solution  improve business. The best way to improve business would be the implement a Point of Sales System (POS) and utilize social media channels.

* POS

This team suggests Revel iPad POS. Considered the cash register for the 21st century, this mobile POS software provides up-to-the-minute reporting to track the sales, orders, payments, staff and patrons in real time. There is no back-of-the-house server needed, no mandatory contracts, and no hidden fees or charges. Revel Systems’ POS System provides:

* Employee Login. Each employee has a secure login that is different from managers. This allows owners to track not only when employees clock in and out but also what they do in the system. * Order Taking. The order taking process is simple; just choose your items from the categorized list and build the customer’s order. * Order Details. Details about the order, such as item voids, deletions, special requests, discounts, holds, etc. are always available. * Payment Processing. Customers can pay using all major credit cards or gift cards and choose if they want receipts e-mailed or printed. * Cook View / Expedite View. If you want to go completely paperless, orders can show up on the iPad in the Cook View rather than printed in the kitchen. An Expedite View is also available so servers can see what has been cooked and ready to be served. This POS also provides Back Office support that will improve business as well. Some of the features include:

* Flexible Menu and System Configuration. Cuban Pete’s will have the ability to customize the categories and items of their menu to suit their needs. As well as tailor the layout of receipts, specify tax rates to meet local requirements, set surcharges, set discounts and much more.

* Real-time Inventory Control. As items and ingredients are sold, Cuban  inventory levels will automatically be deducted and available for inventory count comparisons to quickly detect theft, loss or waste. * Employee Scheduling and Reporting. With high employee turnover and seasonal doldrums, Revel Systems provides the capability to view metrics on employee data, such as work scheduled versus work performed number of voids, discounts by employee, and employee productivity and sales volume.

* Real-time Reporting and Analytics. Revel Systems provides a variety of reports to help Cuban Pete’s run business, including sales summaries, transaction details, ingredients sold, and much more. Cuban Pete’s also needs to improve and manage customer satisfaction. Revel Systems POS also provides Customer Relationship Management (CSM). This system will allow the business to acquire your customer’s e-mail addresses from e-mailed receipts and export these addresses to a spreadsheet. Other necessary technical features that this POS provides include: * Real-time Reporting. Revel Systems provides a host of reports that are instantly available and accessible from anywhere, with the ability to grant access to managers, accountants or other professionals.

* Centralized Management. With an established website, Revel Systems will allow Cuban Pete’s to centrally manage and monitor business from one website. All information is captured in real-time, and will get instant visibility to track sales volume, staff productivity, and help manage business effectively and efficiently.

* Cloud Computing. Data management and storage can be expensive for a small business. The Revel System POS also provides secure Cloud Computing. This System reduces the information technology burden on Cuban Pete’s business in both time and money. There is no longer a need for a back office server to store data or to worry about software upgrades and maintenance.

* Payment Card Industry Compliant. But security is also a major issue of business and customers. Revel Systems is Payment Card Industry (PCI) Compliant. Revel Systems built security and compliance into its products from the onset to ensure that everything from the hardware, software, and network were all PCI compliant.

* SOCIAL MEDIA

Social Media allows businesses to engage timely and direct end-consumer contact at relatively low cost and higher levels of efficiency than achieved with more traditional communication tools. Thus, this team suggests  Cuban Pete’s utilize standard social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, but also implement mobile social media (MSM). According to Juniper Research, the market for mobile web 2.0 evolutions will grow from $5.5B to $22.4B by 2013. MSM applications are expected to be the main driver of this evolution and are estimated to account for over 50% of the market.

Further, Pew Research, a Washington, DC based think tank, estimates that by 202, a mobile device will be the primary internet connection for most people in the world. Therefore, this team suggests that Cuban Pete’s, combined with the Revel System POS, adopt a MSM application. This permit opens standards (e.g. a transition to the TCP/IP protocol) and flat-rate systems. It also allows for upgrades to Radio Frequency Identification (PFID) tags that will be able to automatically connect to mobile phones and send URLS to them, similar to text messages.

BUSINESS PROCESS CHANGES

Cuban Pete’s is a manual business. Although they have a website, the business relies on manpower for all of its business transactions. Customers are checked in manually – wait times are long. Waiting staff takes orders manually, paper orders are handed off to cooking staff, credit card payments are entered manually – none are aligned or reconciled to management, distributors or protect the privacy and security of customers. The business needs to improve operation efficiencies, reduce cost, decrease customer wait and sit times, increase customer satisfaction, and have real-time performance monitoring.

OVERALL RECOMMENDATION

Today everything is about the ability to provide business effectively and efficiently. Over Cuban Pete’s boast about long wait times as an indication of the high great the business performs, most customers want good food, access and great service as well. To do this proficiently, effectively, and in the most cost efficient manner, Cuban Pete’s needs to secure a POS and utilize social media channels. Some industry specialists claim that if business is not participating in Facebook, YouTube, and Second Life, it is not part of cyberspace anymore. Social Media allows firms to engage in timely and direct end-consumer contact at relatively low cost and higher levels of efficiency than achieved with more traditional communication tools.

HIGH-LEVEL IMPLEMENTATION PLAN

The technical approach involves management information software designed by POS Professionals. Revel Systems is a user friendly point of sale designed by hospitality professionals. This software was designed by end users who have worked in the bar and restaurant industry. This particular software is designed specifically with the end user in my mind. Expectations are an easy and transparent transition to the new software system. New POS system will have the following features:

* Host\Hostess functions including reservations, waiting list\guest paging
* Online food ordering
* One touch order split and combine
* Multiple check tender Support
* Visual Floor Management
* Advanced CRM such as gift card, house account and frequent buyers
* 100% Touch Operated Point of Sale

Communication Systems and Mobile Devices.
* Key Inventory system that is visible to you and suppliers. This will increase order shipment efficiency, ensure better decision making regarding scheduling, purchase orders, shipments and invoices. * Transportation tracking will give the location of shipments as they are en-route and send out alert messages when shipments are late. * Invoice visibility will allow invoices, payments, and credit arrangements and limits to be viewed with a single touch.

Social Media.

Sites such as Facebook Places, Four Square and Latitude give Cuban Pete’s a great opportunity to take advantage of social media. By uploading photos of the live entertainment, atmosphere and videos of satisfied customers, potential customers can gain a “live”, up and close perspective of the restaurant. We can offer customers a small discount for “checking in” at Cuban Pete’s. Just “check in” on your Facebook Page and you get $4 off your bill and or 5% off your next visit if made within 30 days. This additional exposure is marketing the restaurant without spending large sums of money on advertising.

SUMMARY

Cuban Pete’s needs to improve operation efficiencies, reduce cost, decrease customer wait and sit times, increase customer satisfaction, and improve marketing. With no current automated systems, by implementing strategic, managerial, and operational control this small restaurant business can improve with the implementation of management information systems which coordinates everything from scheduling personnel to customer service. Two primary systems to immediately improve business includes of a Point of Sale Systems that will automate business and include Customer Service Management (CSM), cloud computing, real-time reporting, and secure Customer Payment Industry (CPI) payments. Another means to greatly improve business would be to utilize social media for marketing and promotion.

REFERENCES
Corcoran, D. (2006). Crowds in Search of a Fiesta. New York Times. Retrieved from http://travel.nytimes.com/2006/08/13/travel/13njdine.html?_r=0 Draft, R.L. & Legel, R.H. (1986). Organizational information requirements, media richness, and structural design. Management Science, 32(5), 554-571

Kaplan, A. (2010). Users of the World Unite! The challenges and opportunities of social media. Business Horizons. 53, 59-68
Toffler, A. (1980). The third wave: The Classic Study of Tomorrow. New York, Bantam Books. www.cubanpetes.com


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