A Restaurant Analysis:

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  • Topic: Customer service, Darden Restaurants, General Mills
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  • Published : July 15, 2008
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Olive Garden Italian Restaurant, Ruby Tuesday, and Hard Times Café represent three franchise-operated, chain restaurants in the DC metropolitan area. This paper examines the organizational goals, authority structure, field research, customer seating patterns, technology, organizational structure, operational logistics, research limitations and team recommendations. The Olive Garden Italian Restaurant located is located Bowie, MD and is a franchised restaurant which was established in 1992 by Bill Darden and Joe Lee as part of a large corporation, Darden restaurants, which is a division of McCormick. The restaurant is known for providing 100% quality family dining with a true Italian-themed atmosphere and cuisine. Ruby Tuesday is a national chain that serves Americana style food in neighborhood bar and grill setting. The restaurant goals are to provide casual dining with inexpensive prices. Ruby Tuesday faces many organizational and technological challenges. Hard Times Café is a local, mid-Atlantic-based corporation that was founded in 1980. The business goal for Hard Times Café is to serve as “ground zero” for quality chili in the mid-Atlantic region. Its restaurants provide a neighborhood dining experience at an affordable price with quick, attentive service.

The organizational structure and managerial goals are varied for these restaurants directly affecting their contrasting performance and presence in the food service industry. This study covers the gambit of franchise restaurants ranging from the large, nationally distributed multi-restaurant corporation, Olive Garden, to the small, locally-distributed corporation of Hard Times Café.

SLIDE 1: Cover Slide
This presentation, titled “A Restaurant Analysis: Olive Garden, Ruby Tuesday, and Hard Times Café” is being presented to you by The Tango Executives; Donald John Chontos, Stella B Doulou-Ouamba, Frances Ellerbe Simpson, Kirk Cristman Fistick, Cherneé Anita Gay, and Rachel Anna Goutos.

SLIDE 2: The Restaurants
For our research project we visited three different restaurants: Olive Garden in Bowie, MD; Ruby Tuesday in Greenbelt, MD, and Hard Times Café in Old Town Alexandria, VA. Our field research included speaking with a member of management from each restaurant as well as observing the seating patterns of customers for more than one hour at each location.

SLIDE 3: Organizational Goals
The organizational goals for all three restaurants are what we would expect to be the norm for companies within the hospitality industry. While there was some overlap in terms of the goals for these three restaurants, there were also differences. The organizational goals of Olive Garden are to provide 100% quality family dining, to provide destination dining in a true Italian themed atmosphere and cuisine which allows the restaurant to become a destination dining location, and to provide diversity and training programs for all staff (P. Rivera, interview, March 27, 2007). The goals of Ruby Tuesday are to provide speedy and friendly customer service in a neighborhood bar and grill setting by serving American-style food, and to provide training programs to staff for customer support (T. Jones, interview, March 31, 2007). The organizational goals of Hard Time Café are to be “ground zero” for chili in the DC area, provide affordable neighborhood dining, maintain service that caters to the customer, and to minimize customer wait times (J. Parker, interview, March 22, 2007).

SLIDE 4: Authority Structure
Olive Garden has a unique authority structure (P. Rivera, interview, March 27, 2007). Olive Garden is split into regional divisions with corporate headquarters assigning a Regional VP to manage all Olive Garden locations within a specific geographical area. That VP then oversees each General Manager within that area. The Olive Garden in Bowie, MD is managed by the regional VP based out of Darden’s Philadelphia office, along with other restaurants in the...
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