Essay On Restaurant Service

Comparison essay: Fast food restaurants versus dine-in restaurants

Published under category: Custom Writing | 2015-06-10 06:17:38 UTC

Context: American fast food industry

A McDonalds Branch: McDonald's is one of the many fast food chains in America

In America, fast food restuaransts are popular. Businesss studies students write research papers, essays, dissertations and thesis papers on restaurants and foodchain companies such as McDonald’s Burgher King, Applebee’s and many others. You can have your paper on food chains and restaurants cone by legitimate custom assignment writing service here.

Most American families nowadays prefer eating in restaurants than preparing their meals at home. An ever increasing number of customers has led to the diversification of restaurants with the most evident categorization being fast food restaurants and sit-in restaurants. A number of restaurants offer families choices, so they no longer see the need to prepare home-cooked meals. Studies have indicated that families have increased the number of meals that they consume in restaurants in the past thirty years. The percentage of food budget that is spent by families in restaurants has increased significantly. In 1970, the family’s food budget that was spent on restaurants stood at ten percent. It then rose to fifteen percent in 1980. The percentage then rose steadily to double by 1990, where it stood at thirty-five percent. In the early 2000s, the percentage had risen to over fifty percent (Jakle and Sculle, 32). The choice of restaurants for the families has also changed over the period of thirty years. In the 1970s, the number of families that consumed meals in fast food restaurants and dine-in restaurants was the same. The pattern has since fluctuated with most families taking their meals in dine-in restaurants, not fast food restaurants in the 1980s. The trend, however, changed in the 1990s, when fast food restaurants served more meals than dine-in restaurants. Since the year 2000, the number of families that eat in fast food restaurants has increased steadily (Jakle and Sculle, 37). In the future, the number of meals consumed in fast food restaurants will double the meals served in dine-in restaurants. Fast food has become popular not only in the United States, but throughout the world. The popularity of fast foods restaurants lies in their quick service and relatively cheaper prices, although dine-in restaurants are still far ahead in terms of the overall quality of services that they offer to their customers.

The lifestyle of most Americans has changed due to the amount of hours that people put in their jobs. Due to the thirst for more money, most people prefer to juggle in between different jobs. Previously, people would have enough time to prepare their own meals or even eat their meals in dine-in restaurants as a way of relaxing with their families. This trend has, however, changed with most people preferring restaurants that offer quick service. The need for quick service has made fast food restaurants the obvious choice for most people who want to grab a quick meal. Apart from being served within little time, one has the option of consuming the meal in the restaurant, eating the meal while sitting on the sidewalk or eating the meal while in a vehicle. Those who are in a hurry to get to their jobs can grab their meals and go with them to their jobs. One would, therefore, observe more people getting into fast food restaurants, for example, Burger King and McDonalds, more than dine-in restaurants like Don Cherry’s and Swiss Chalet.

Dine-in restaurants, on the other hand, do not favor people who are in a hurry. One needs to get into the restaurant, give their orders and then wait for their meals to be prepared. This type of service does not favor most of the Americans, hence the drop in the number of customers who visit dine-in restaurants. The dine-in restaurants have a preference for quality rather than the time spent to get the meals served. They would, therefore, take as much time as possible to ensure that they serve quality meals to their customers. Besides, they offer full meals that are inconvenient to carry since they would require elaborate food tins and a number of cutleries to be consumed.  Food served in dine-in restaurants cannot, therefore, be eaten in vehicles or even on the sidewalks. People have to take their time and consume the meals in the restaurants before they start moving.

The quality of service in dine-in restaurants can be observed from the first moment one enters the restaurant. A customer is welcomed in the restaurant by ushers who show them free tables that they can occupy. The customers then wait for the waiters to take their orders before they are served. Food menus can be very complicated, and sometimes customers will require some explanation in order to understand the type of food that they can choose. The food is served as a full meal, where the customers choose either breakfast, lunch or dinner depending on the time of the day. In some dine-in restaurants, for example Golden Corral and Old Country Buffet, meals are served in buffet style, where the customers serve themselves from an array of foods. Foods in dine-in restaurants may also be served in courses, with some meals having as much as seven courses. A full course dinner in a dine-in restaurant can contain from three courses to up to seven courses. The courses may include salad, soup, meat and desert.  In a full course meal, the food items might be carefully planned to complement each other gastronomically. Restaurants that offer course meals in America are Fisherman’s Wharf, Inner Richmond, and Guy Savoy among others. The dine-in restaurants also have bars that can serve customers both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.

Fast food restaurants differ in their service in the sense that customers serve themselves their meals. At the entrance of a fast food restaurant, such as Applebee’s and PizzaExpress, there is a counter where customers are supposed to pay for their meals before they are offered with receipts that they use to get their meals. Besides the counter, a huge menu is placed for customers to choose their meals from. The meals are listed with their prices. In most cases, the meals are served as single meals, although the customer has the option of buying more than one item and then combine them. The meals served include burgers, French fries, fried steaks, eggs, bacon and cheese among others (Zagat, n.p.). This is opposed to meals served in dine-in restaurants that in most cases are full meals, for example, dinner, breakfast or supper, which is composed of several courses. The meals in dine-in restaurants may have a number of entrees with a main meal, for example, meat. The fast food restaurants, as opposed to dine-in restaurants, do not have waiters. Instead, they make use of speaker boxes to address the customers. Customers, therefore, have to pay and get the meals for themselves because the traditional food service is rare. The food is mostly designed as “take away.”

Fast food restaurants have little waiting time compared to dine-in restaurants due to their mode of preparing meals. Fast food restaurants prepare meals in advance, and they keep the meals warm. Customers are, therefore, served as soon as they pay for their meals. This type of food preparation compromises the quality of food. The meals are highly processed besides having a possibility of not being fresh. Dine-in restaurants, on the other hand, offer fresh meals since the food is prepared when a customer orders for it. The time taken to prepare food in dine-in restaurants increases the waiting time, although the waiting is worth since the customer is served with a fresh meal that has been properly prepared. Overall, one gets a quality meal in a dine-in restaurant compared to fast food restaurants.

The prices of meals in fast food restaurants are cheaper compared to meals served in dine-in restaurants. The meals are relatively cheap due to the method that is employed to prepare the meals. Fast food restaurants prepare meals in large quantities, hence taking advantages of the economies of scale. This is unlike the dine-in restaurants, where food is prepared in bits, depending on the orders from the customers. The high price of food in dine-in restaurant is a reflection of the quality services that they give their customers compared to fast food restaurants. The dine-in restaurants have waiters to serve the customers, meals are served in proper utensils, and one is given cutlery for eating. The dine-in restaurants also offer an ideal environment for family relaxation or recreation due to their large dining space. Fast food restaurants may serve their meals in paper or polythene containers or disposable plates. Meals in dine-in restaurants may cost twice as much as meals in fast food restaurants. For example, two cheeseburgers meal will cost approximately $6 in McDonalds while at Don Cherry’s it will cost $ 12 (Ater and Ortiz, $14). Many people, therefore, prefer the fast food restaurants due to their fast service and cheap prices at the expense of quality foods and service that is offered at dine-in restaurants, though at a higher price.

Meals in fast food restaurants are less demanding on a person’s wallet and the waiting time for service, though when factors in quality, ambience, originality and service, they may decide to pay the extra dollars in order to go to a dine-in restaurant.

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    Restaurant Service Process Flow

    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:

    Value-Adding Activities

    v Hostess gets the name of the clients upon arriva
    v Receptionist directs customers to the table
    v Customers review menu
    v Customer places order
    v Waiter places order on order board
    v Chef takes order
    v Chef cooks and prepares order
    v Waiter picks up order and serve food
    v Customers eat the food
    v Customers ask for check
    v Waiter delivers the check
    v Customer pays the check

    Non-Value Adding Activities

    v Customers wait to be seated
    v Customers wait to place order
    v Prepared food waits for picku
    v Customer waits for the check
    v 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.


    Collier, D & Evans, J 2007, Operations Management, Goods, Services, Value Chains. Cengage, New York.

    Greasly, A 2009, Operations Management 2nd ed., John Wiley & Sons, New York.

    Heinrich, B, Henneberger, M, Leist, S & Zellner, G 2009, 'The process map is an instrument to standardize processes: design and application at a financial service provider', Information Systems and e-Business Management, vol. 7, no.1, pp. 81-103.

    Jones, M 2002, 'Streaming ahead', Works Management, vol. 55, no. 10, p. 25.

    Kubiak, T 2007, 'Reviving the process map', Quality Progress, vol. 40, no. 5, pp. 59-64.

    O'Donnel, B & O'Donnell, J 2008, 'Your process map to success', Dental Economics, vol. 98, no. 3, pp. 128-131.

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