Blackshop Case Study

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Blackshop is a popular casual restaurant in the area of Cambridge. It is a well run business in quite a competitive market. However, in a competitive market, proprietors of a business must do what is necessary in order to remain competitive and “maximise the number of guests” (Cerny). Blackshop must decide whether or not the Open Table system will allow them to gain a competitive advantage, and if so, what sort of operational strategy needs to be implemented for it to be successful. Issues that need to be addressed are whether Open Table systems such as the new reservation system and the table management system will, in fact, leave Blackshop with a competitive advantage. Blackshop should adopt the Open Table system. This upgrade in technology at Blackshop will allow them remain competitive via a new reservation system which utilizes benefits of the internet, adopt a targeted marketing system through emails, gather information on customers to enhance customer satisfaction and help with facility layout problems that occur through the old reservation system. Blackshop will also need to refine its operational strategy. In a competitive market, a company must structure its company in order to meet its service concept. Operational strategy will include areas such as marketing techniques, employee selection and job satisfaction. It will also outline ways in which Blackshop can improve customer satisfaction through process control. The Open Table system is able to address areas that are important to a firm in order for it to remain competitive or gain some competitive advantage. Customer satisfaction is one of the main areas that allow competitiveness. It is now recognised “as a primary goal on the path to profitability”(j8) and can be defined as “a evaluative response concerning the perceived outcome of a particular consumption experience”(j1). The Open Table system allows a restaurant to enhance the customers’ satisfaction through a numbers of avenues. Firstly, the reservation system allows potential customers to not only call up the restaurant to book a table, but it also allows the customer to utilize the internet to “make reservations without any temporal or geographical constraints”(P+D). This type of reservation system can also be used to collect detailed information about their customers. Information such as birthdays, anniversaries and special requests can be readily available to employees which can be used to enhance the customer experience and create a far greater guest management system. It allows the employee to construct “interpersonal bonds” with customers, creating the perception that “the employee has personal recognition of the customers’ needs and knows specific details about his or her service needs” (j5). Open Table also contributes to customer satisfaction with its advanced table management system. Having a system that allows Blackshop to maximise seat utilisation “effects efficiency of the process as well as creating good ambience”(j6). Blackshop have noticed bottlenecks forming in the wine bar during busy operating times. This is created because many of the customers are walk-ins and have to wait for a table to clear up. Waiting a long time for a service can lower customer satisfaction, resulting in less repeat business. The new table management system allows patrons to be seated in an earlier manner, thus alleviating some of the problems created from walk-ins. It is for these two reasons that a restaurant should be able to create “one of the most powerful promotional methods used in hospitality”(p+d). Word-of-mouth promotions are satisfied customers recommending the restaurants to potential customers. An integral part of word-of-mouth is gaining a customer’s trust. It is said that “customers trust in employees is likely to form if the employee and customer are well know to each other”(j5). As alerted to previously, knowledge of customer needs and personal information forms the basis for a closeness that...
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