Hard Rock Cafe

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Retail Store Solutions

Hard Rock Café sets new dining trends with an IBM point-of-sale solution.

Highlights  Challenge Enhance customer satisfaction by reengineering restaurant service delivery to improve process efficiency and employee productivity  Solution A highly reliable POS solution featuring IBM SurePOS™ 500 systems and third-party wireless technology  Benefits A return on investment in less than one and a half years and improved responsiveness to diners’ preferences

Offering diners an experience that tops the charts Since opening its first restaurant in London in 1971, the Hard Rock Café chain has become a global phenomenon: it now has 108 restaurants, serving customers in 41 countries. Each location combines rock-music memorabilia, classic American food and a commitment to widespread humanitarian causes. In recent years, Hard Rock Café has expanded beyond its food-service operations into entertainment by launching a line of Hard Rock Café merchandise and a record label, as well as hotels, casinos and live music venues.

However, according to Chan Yong Hock, regional accounting manager for the Hard Rock Café in the Asia Pacific region, the well-known chain has been facing new market pressures as well as increasing competition. Referring to Hard Rock Café locations in Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, China, Thailand, Indonesia, Korea and Hong Kong, Chan explains, “The biggest challenge facing established restaurant chains like ours is declining tourism in our region. Also, there have been many new competitors—attracted by a low cost of living and growing population — offering a similar dining experience. Plus, employee turnover has continued to increase, reaching record-setting levels.”

As tourism has contracted, the Hard Rock Café in Singapore has shifted its focus to attracting a larger proportion of its clientele from the local dining population. “To stay competitive, we wanted to take advantage of our strong brand image, combined with consistently high food quality and excellent customer service to attract more customers from the nearby region,” recalls Chan. However, the restaurant’s outdated pointof-sale (POS) systems lacked the reliability and functionality that were steadily becoming the norm on the fastpaced food-service technology scene. To serve each dining party, restaurant staff had to walk back and forth between tables, the bars, the kitchen and cashier stations. Chan says that this resulted in “extended wait times before food was served,” further prolonged by periodic POS system breakdowns that required technical assistance and slowed customer transactions. What’s more, because the restaurant’s existing POS solution was based on manual processes, it was inefficient and costly to train new staff — and tracking lost revenue was nearly impossible.

“New wait-staff and cashiers had to memorize extensive information, from standard menu items and condiment options, to preparation alternatives, pricing details and corporate service policies,” says Chan, adding that this meant it took up to a week of intensive classroom education before a new employee was ready to work on the restaurant floor. Finding a recipe for successful service The Hard Rock Café management in Singapore needed to find a way to enhance customer service and reduce the amount of time that patrons had to wait for their orders. Plus, the restaurant had to cut down on training costs, as well as institute more-effective revenue controls and a process for tracking customer preferences and sales trends to improve profitability. In selecting a new POS solution, Chan says the restaurant’s main concern was reliability —not just of the hardware and software making up the restaurant’s new systems, but also of the technology provider delivering them. “Faced with so much upheaval in the technology industry

these days, we wanted to work with a company that we were confident would be around for the long term,” he explains....
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