Process maps provide an overview of the sequence of all process activities and tasks involved in the creation of a product or in the delivery of a service (Heinrich, Henneberger, Leist and Zellner 2009). For managers and decision-makers, process maps provide a way for analyzing and assessing the service delivery process (Kubiak 2007). In relation, O’Donnell and O’Donnell (2008) noted that process maps helps managers and decision makers by placing interrelating systems into perspective and showing how each task, system, and team members relates in a manner that is easy to understand. This paper details the process map for providing services to customers in a typical restaurant. In addition, this paper discusses the layout used for the process.
Process Flow in the Restaurant
The process flow for the restaurant is shown in Figure 1. The process starts when customers enter the restaurant. Near the entrance is the temporary holding area where the receptionist gets the names of the customers. Afterwards, customers are directed to the waiting area where they will wait while the table is being prepared. Then, the receptionist directs the customers to their table. Once seated, the customers begin to review the menu and waits for the waiter for the placement of the order. The waiter then takes the order and afterwards confirms to the customers whether all orders were taken. When the customers confirm the order, the waiter then places the order on the order board, otherwise ask the customers to repeat the orders. The chef then takes the order and reviews it. If there are no clarifications to make, the chef proceeds to cooking the food, otherwise call the attention of the waiter to verify the orders. After cooking the food, the chef prepares the food and places it on the designated area and rings the bell to call the attention of the waiter. The waiter then picks up the prepared food and serves it to the customers. The customers then eat the food and subsequently ask for the check. After a certain period, the waiter arrives with the check. The customer then reviews the check. If there are no concerns, the customer pays the bill, otherwise verify the check to the waiter. After paying, the customer finally leaves the restaurant.
Analysis of the Process
Looking first at the elements of the process map, the red ovals in the process map represent the start and end of the process. The first red oval that is seen in the process map signals the start of the process, while the last red oval indicates the end of the process. The green rectangles on the other hand, represent operations or work activities. Consequently, there are about 12 green rectangles in the process map, which show vital activities or tasks. Meanwhile, the yellow diamonds signals a decision point, which involves inspection and counterchecking. In the process map for the restaurant, there are three diamonds, in which the waiter, the chef, and customers conduct inspection or counterchecking. Next, the purple triangles represent idle times or delay. In relation, there are five purple triangles, which signal idle times or waiting time throughout the process. Finally, the arrows represent movements or transportation.
Moving to the process time, each step in the process consumes a considerable amount of time. For example, it takes about 10 minutes before the customers are taken to their seats. Upon entry, the customers are held temporarily to allow the receptionist to get their names, which takes about five minutes. Afterwards, the customers are again held temporarily while the table is being prepared, which takes again another five minutes. Looking at the other stages in the process map, chef’s cooking time and the customers’ eating time tends to be longest processes. It takes the chef about twenty minutes to cook and prepare the food. Similarly, it takes the customers about 20 minutes to consume the food.
Value Stream Mapping
A closer look at the process would reveal that certain activities and operations in the process map may be categorized as either value adding or non-value-adding. The value stream includes value-adding activities that help in the creation of the product or the delivery of the service (Jones 2002). Non-value adding activities in particular, refers to certain activities such as transferring materials between two non-adjacent workstations and waiting for service, which generally lengthen the processing time, increase the costs, and in most cases, increase customer frustration (Collier and Evans 2007). In the process map for the restaurant, stages in the process such as the customer waiting to be seated, to place the order, and to get the check are all non-value adding activities, which lengthens the process time and trigger customer frustration. Consequently, these non-value adding activities constitute about twenty minutes of the process time. For managers seeking to streamline the process, the purpose is to eliminate non-value adding activities in the process flow. The value-adding and the non-value adding activities extracted from the process map may be shown as follows:
- Hostess gets the name of the clients upon arriva
- Receptionist directs customers to the table
- Customers review menu
- Customer places order
- Waiter places order on order board
- Chef takes order
- Chef cooks and prepares order
- Waiter picks up order and serve food
- Customers eat the food
- Customers ask for check
- Waiter delivers the check
- Customer pays the check
Non-Value Adding Activities
- Customers wait to be seated
- Customers wait to place order
- Prepared food waits for picku
- Customer waits for the check
- Customer waits for the change
Layout Pattern for the Process
Generally, there are four major layout patterns in designing process: product layout, process layout, group layout, and the fixed position layout (Collier and Evans 2007). Consequently, the restaurant adopts the fixed position layout, whereby resources and people necessary to provide the service are situated in one physical location (Greasly 2009). For example, the chefs and the cooking equipments are situated in the kitchen where the food is cooked. Similarly, the receptionist is situated in the arrival area, as she/he is responsible for receiving the guest. According to Collier and Evans (2007), the fixed position layout is appropriate to service-providing firms, such as the restaurant. In this regard, the current layout pattern of the restaurant may be considered appropriate.
Process maps reflect the tasks and activities involved in creating a product or delivering a service. Managers and decision-makers in restaurants for example, could use process maps to analyze the service process and subsequently determine ways of improving the process flow. More particularly, managers could use value stream mapping to identify value adding as well as non-value adding activities. In the case of restaurants for example, activities presented as purple triangles in the process map, involve idle or waiting time. Consequently, these are non-value adding activities that prolong the process and at the same time trigger customer frustration. In process streamlining, managers seek to eliminate these activities. With regards to the layout pattern, the most commonly adopted layout pattern in service-providing firms is the fixed position layout, whereby resources and people necessary to provide the service are situated in one physical location.
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