We chose Olive Garden restaurant to do our service blueprint on. There were various factors that helped us make our decision. The first factor was that it was a restaurant and we believe that restaurants have more key “wow points” than hotels. Also, the mood and emotions of the guest can be more easily influenced at restaurants. By constructing a service blueprint, we are able to understand exactly what the customer wants and how every point in their visit can be influenced by the staff, management, and restaurant operation. Another big factor in making our decision about choosing Olive Garden was the amount of evidence and information available to us regarding the restaurant.
A larger operation, such as McDonalds or Denny’s would have an enormous amount of information available. But, by choosing a restaurant with larger amounts of information, the information would become lost in translation. There would so much information available, which would most likely not be consistent with what we wanted. There is an Olive Garden close to all of our houses, so we found it beneficial to pay a visit to the establishment to draw up other information. A third factor for choosing Olive Garden was its reputation. It is known for its food and its service, and we thought that we could conclude evidence that would show us why this restaurant is so popular. Everybody knows Olive Garden and the majority of people, who know it, love it.
The three key factors about the Physical Evidence are: Host/Hostess stand, menu, and food/food appearance. The host stand is the first thing that the guest sees when coming to the restaurant. You must make sure that the host stand is properly organized and ready to take reservations and names. The guest wants to be sat in a timely manner and if they are quoted a 20-minute wait-time, they don’t want to have to wait thirty minutes. You must also hire very friendly people for the host stand. They are the biggest impact on starting the guest experience. If you have a very negative host, it could lead to the customer having a negative experience. The host has the ability to sway the emotions of the guest. The menu is the second biggest key to physical evidence. Customers who dine at Olive Garden want variety. The customers also want consistency. Some of your guest always wants to try something new and the others get the same thing every time they dine at the restaurant. The menu must be consistent with all Olive Gardens and it also must have an evolving factor about it.
The third factor is the food and the food appearance. The food appearance must be good enough to the corporate standards of the company. Most of their guests have been to a different Olive Garden before. If they are the guests that always gets the same menu item every time, they want to make sure that the food tastes and looks the same as before. The food must also be quality food. This means that the food must be able to please all members at the table. Since it is a chain, every lost guest is worth more than as if it was a single standing establishment. The food coming out cold could be a huge factor relating to a negative experience. There can be potential problem areas that must be identified in a service blueprint. One of the first slow points that may occur would be when the customer is greeted and put on a wait list. If a customer is not given a correct wait list time, this could result in slow delivery and a potentially upset customer.
One of the most obvious potential problem areas of Olive Garden’s service blueprint is taking the food order. It is important that the correct food order is received, that the food is cooked as ordered, and is delivered to the customer in a reasonable amount of time. Since this area goes through at least three different channels, it is a key point where slow delivery can occur or the possibility that an incorrect order could get put through to the kitchen. One of the last fail points could be processing the bill. This can be a huge fail area due to the possibility of ringing up a wrong order, or splitting the check with different debit cards and cash.
While there may be certain areas that can be prone to slow delivery or problems for the customer, there are solutions to address these areas and create a flawless experience based on the service blueprint. For example, wait times must be calculated correctly in order to assure a customer is given a correct time. It will cause a backup in the amount of people waiting and stir problems if someone is told that the wait is about 15 minutes, and they are waiting 25. It is better to give a little bit longer of a wait time just to give a little bit of flexibility. In regards to the food order process, the best possible alternative to these problem areas is to have the server write down the correct order, repeat it with the guests, and ensure the order is cooked correctly before bringing it out to the customers. This is an important area to be precise in because the product of Olive Garden is their food, and service will lack credibility if the food is not brought out correctly. Finally, the last fail point that must be addressed very seriously is the processing of the check for the customers.
This area is so important because it is the last interaction with customer and the last piece of physical evidence they have to take with from the experience. If this experience is not seamless and quick, it may ruin the whole experience. Because of this, the solution for the Olive Garden server is to be quick, efficient, and to double check with the customers on how they want the bill split (if they do). All these areas have simple solutions that can be easily overlooked and it is important to keep them in mind every day. Service blueprints can be used in an organization for marketing, human resource management, and operations. When designing a blueprint for marketing you should take into account what the customer actually sees or handles. If you are marketing free food to attract customers, you should also see how many steps are involved in providing that free food. Marketing is a tricky area in the industry. Many different items can fall under marketing and when designing a blueprint you should mange all those items and areas. When designing the blueprint for human resources, you should focus on all personnel.
You should include factors involving hiring new employees and maintaining current employees. Also, some human resource departments may also want to create another list of items relating to their relationship and personnel involving the unions. The managers should decipher what needs to go into the blueprint by creating a chart that lists all responsibilities and duties of the human resource department. The Operations blueprint will be bigger than other department’s blueprints. This is where the guest has the most contact with the employees and staff. There is also more physical evidence in this department than all other areas. The support process will be smaller in comparison with the contact person category.
Making the blueprint has taught me a lot about the restaurant industry. I have noticed there are many factors of physical evidence that can affect the experience of a guest. I didn’t realize that parking could cause some guests to get irritated. While at Olive Garden, I notice one of the employees was outside cleaning up the parking lot and making sure that there was no trash anywhere. I also noticed there are several points where a guest can be delighted. Something as easy as making sure the drinks are delivered as quickly as possible can lead to a guest getting that “wow” factor. Making sure that you have a proper support process is also something that affects the restaurant as a whole. In the process of the host stand, they should make sure that there is a proper reservations and seating system being used. While in the business world, I will make sure that all items on a blueprint will have a proper and effective support system. The only way you can effectively mange people is by being able to manage them when you’re not around. This is an example of properly staffing, training, and creating systems for the employees to follow.