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Sunset Grill

In: Business and Management

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Nova Southeastern University
H. Wayne Huizenga School
Of Business & Entrepreneurship

Assignment for Course: OPS 5095 – Service Operations Management
Submitted to: Dr. Rickey Casey
Submitted by:

Date of Submission: February 8, 2015
Title of Assignment: Case Study: Sunset Grill at Blue

CERTIFICATION OF AUTHORSHIP: I certify that I am the author of this paper and that any assistance I received in its preparation is fully acknowledged and disclosed in the paper. I have also cited any sources from which I used data, ideas or words, either quoted directly or paraphrased. I also certify that this paper was prepared by me specifically for this course.
Student's Signature:
Instructor's Grade on Assignment: ________________________________________________________
Instructor's Comments: _______________________________________


TITLE OF RUBRIC: OPS 5095 Student Case Grading Rubric | Course: OPS 5095 | LEARNING OUTCOME/S: CC1, CC3, CC7 | Date: November 4, 2011 | PURPOSE: Apply OPS Theory to Business Practice | Name of Participant: Student | VALIDITY: Best Practices in OPS Management | Name of Rate: Professor | COMPANION DOCUMENTS: Individual Cases, Assigned Articles and APA Style Manual | | Earning maximum points in each box in ‘PROFICIENT’ column and / or points in columns to the right of ‘PROFICIENT’ meets standard. | | <<<<<<<<<< Less quality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . more quality >>>>>>>>>> | Performance Criteria | Basic (2 pt.)* | Developing (3.25 pts.)* | Proficient (4.0 pts.)* | Accomplished (4.5 pts.)* | Exemplary (5 pts.)* | Score | Identifies and describes problem/s effectively (CC1) | Does not state problem(s) or identify symptoms, critical factors and current state in Background discussion. | Somewhat states problem(s) in multiple sentences. May identify symptoms, critical factors and current state in Background discussion. | States problem(s) in multiple sentences. Identifies symptoms, critical factors and current state in Background discussion. | States problem(s) clearly in one sentence. Identifies symptoms, critical factors and current state in Background discussion. | States problem(s) clearly and concisely in one sentence. Effectively and completely identifies symptoms, critical factors and current state in Background discussion. | | Applies operational management models (CC3) | Does not apply operational models, course content, and outside research to support position. | Applies some operational models, course content, and outside research to support position. | Applies operational models, course content, and outside research to support position. | Applies most operational models, course content, and outside research to support position. | Completely and effectively applies operational models, course content, and outside research to support position. | | Analyzes case, and recommends actions (CC3) | Does not discuss options and/or implications and tradeoffs. May not support position with research. | Somewhat discusses options, implications and tradeoffs logically. Some research supports position. | Discusses options, implications and tradeoffs logically. Supports position with research. Flows smoothly into Recommendations | Discusses most options, implications and tradeoffs logically. Position well supported with research. Flows smoothly into Recommendations | Completely and effectively discusses options, implications and tradeoffs logically. Fully supports position with research. Flows smoothly into Recommendations. | | Uses effective writing organization and format (CC7) | Does not communicate in clear, logical, and grammatically correct language. Uses more than 5 pages, excluding charts graphs, appendices, and references. Does not use primary research sources and/or incorrect APA format. | Communicates in ambiguous, and/or and grammatically incorrect language. Uses more than 5 pages, excluding charts graphs, appendices, and references. Uses marginal primary research sources and/or partially correct APA format. | Communicates in clear, logical, and grammatically correct language. Uses 5 pages or less, excluding charts graphs, appendices, and references. Uses adequate primary research sources and correct APA format. | Communicates in exceptionally clear, logical, and grammatically correct language. Uses 5 pages or less, excluding charts graphs, appendices, and references. Uses substantial research sources and correct APA format. | Communicates in exceptionally clear, logical, and grammatically correct language. Uses 5 pages or less, excluding charts graphs, appendices, and references. Uses significant primary research sources and correct APA format. | | OVERALL GRADE (20 total possible points)*: | |
*Point values are different for the group case – refer to course Blackboard Website.

Executive Summary
The objective of this report is to conduct an extensive analysis on the franchise of Sunset Grill at Blue and identify potential opportunities for future development. Bruce Melhuish, the business owner, saw a market for a low-cost breakfast restaurant in the area of Village at Blue Mountain in Ontario. He sought out a successful franchise that had multiple successful stores in Toronto. Melhuish opened Sunset-at-Blue in Village at Blue Mountain on the resort property of a highly populated tourist village.
Melhuish wanted to create a profitable restaurant with quick turn-around time for customers but also allowing the customers to experience the ambiance and relaxation of the restaurant. Sunset-at-Blue offered skiing patrons to stop in for a quick bite to eat before or after hitting the slopes. Melhuish went out on a limb to add features to this business that other franchises did not provide like a fireplace for customers and souvenir salt and pepper shakers. Although these are nice additions, Melhuish struggles with producing profits because the restaurant has many opportunities for improvement.
The report discloses a deep analysis of the business and offers recommendations. The weaknesses and threats of the business include long wait times, lack of trained staff, a large menu, unused patio space, paper tickets rather than computer system generated tickets, among many others. Suggestions for improvements are wait-time management, enclosing the patio to offer more seating, minimizing the menu options but allowing substitutions for customers, hiring experienced staff and allowing them to be trained appropriately, and upgrading to a computer based food ordering system with auto generated tickets for the kitchen staff. With these recommendations, Melhuish can offer his customers exactly what they want, when they need and want it, while also making a substantial profit.
Bruce Melhuish chose Sunset Grill because he knew that the original franchises were very successful. He liked the idea that he could buy a small place where he could maximize his profit per square foot, and utilize the name of an already recognized brand in his area.
Melhuish chose the Village at Blue Mountain because he had visited the area and realized the area was missing an inexpensive option for breakfast.
Melhuish changed the look and operation of the restaurant to fit the village. He knew that he had to make the floors ski friendly, and he provided beer and a fireplace to add to the ambience. However, beer and the ambience didn’t really add to profits. He wanted a place where people could sit down, relax, and unwind, even though the initial concept was a low cost location that focused on speedy delivery of breakfasts at a great price.
The staff remains slow to train and learn, even those with past restaurant experience. Customers are known to leave without being seated because of the time it takes to get served. Food remains undelivered and orders pile up.
Problem Statement
Service and profitability are not up to standards and business owner Bruce Melhuish must make efforts to refocus his restaurant’s vision and repurpose the staff and resources so that he may transition the restaurant back to the original concept, while maximizing his profit during high season times and minimizing his losses during low season.
Sunset-at-Blue is a prime example of bottlenecking in a restaurant. According to an article, “Often, the bottlenecks in service are due to the restaurants overall design and setup,” (Brox, 2010). According to the facts of the case, there was extensive wait time and a number of waiting customers on weekends. The bottleneck occurs because of low education of the staff, low staff retention and misappropriation of the staff and other resources that create inefficiencies. Assuring that the staff is trained properly will help aid in efficient delivery of food. According to Melhuish there were problems with food sitting undelivered in the kitchen as well as new orders coming in faster than food is going to the tables. To fix this bottleneck, Melhuish should create a flow chart to determine the workers with the most downtime and add additional duties to those jobs so that perhaps the bussers and hosts can do additional tasks such as expediting (calling out orders in the kitchen to the cooks), and runners (taking food to the tables) to help cut down on the bottleneck and repurpose some of the downtime of the staff that is already on hand.
With a restaurant located in a tourist area customers are likely to be seasonal thus reducing the amount of ‘regulars’ who frequent the establishment. The best way for a business to survive in any seasonal environment is to know when it is less profitable to be open and choose to run a minimal operation or otherwise close their doors during these inefficient times. Thinking of other ways to maximize profit for the restaurant may require unique ideas and solutions such as renting out the space for weddings, business meetings, etc. instead of waiting for business to come when it is a predictable low season time.
Sunset locations average a 32 minute turnaround from the time that the order is placed to the time the customer leaves. Refocusing on speed rather than ambiance needs to be of primary concern for the business owner to alleviate some of the pain of the customers’ wait times.
In addition to reducing wait times, repurposing some of the available patio space by enclosing it or heating the area to create more wait space would be an intelligent way to not only make the waiting more pleasurable for the customer, but it can also serve to maximize profit for Sunset by increasing the profitability of the already existing bar by allowing customers extra time and an excuse to order a bloody mary or a mimosa while they wait and chat. They won’t be bored and angry, but will instead be friendly and happy.
The company also uses a paper system to get orders to the kitchen. This is a dated process that increases the risk of human error. Automating the service using software and digital screens can offer several time saving benefits. Having the system centrally located can reduce the number of steps the wait staff will have to take to get orders to the kitchen and allow the chef and crew to see multiple orders at a time while reducing writing errors.
Another threat to business is the no substitution policy. Forbidding a customer from customizing their meal gives an impression of poor food quality or prepackaged meals. Removing the no substitution will engender the feeling of freshly made food and a professional cook staff.
SWOT Analysis:
Below you will find the SWOT analysis conducted on the current state of Sunset Blue.
Strengths include low operation costs by only operating one shift, fresh and healthy breakfast options, low price structure, prime location (tourist destination), franchise (reduced the burden of building a brand from scratch), menu variety and staff flexibility.
Weaknesses include location (seasonality of tourists), untrained staff, slow operations, no substitution policy, and a low cost menu.
Opportunities include hiring more seasoned staff, hiring part time staff during peak hours of operation, having closed-in option to keep the patio in operation year round, reducing the menu to allow custom orders, digitalization of the customer’s order to the kitchen to mitigate the risk of order tickets being lost in the shuffle or reduce the chances of a ticket being misread.
Threats include location, seasonality of customers, low percentage of repeat customers, low margins, and the possibility of commercial restaurant competition.
Conclusion and Recommendation
Sunset-at-Blue must deliver services as quickly as possible to maximize profits. They must also find a way to keep customers coming in the door and staying happy while they wait (if they have to wait) for their tables. In order for Sunset-at-Blue to operate more effieciently, several spacial maximuization concepts must be addressed such as the patio. Sunset-at-Blue should invest in an enclosed patio or purchase heaters so that they may comfortably seat customers outside all year round, reducing long wait times, long lines, and making the most of the high end furniture and ambiance in which Melhuish has already invested. If Sunset angers customers by wait times, they could also provide vouchers or comped meals to bring regular customers back.
Sunset-at-Blue should use their current staff and repurpose them as part time runners and expediters to get the food delivered on time and get orders processed quickly when they arrive. Training of staff and staff flow charts of their duties from start to finish will help with the structure of priorities and will help the staff learn to problem solve when it comes to customer service. Unique approaches to making profits and building a culture of pride in the staff will make for happier employees and customers, thereby increasing profitibility per square foot. These changes may not come easy, but for Sunset-at-Blue they are necessary for the business to compete at its maximum efficiency.
Brox, D. (October 2010). Fast Food Fast. QSR Magazine. Retrieved from
Goodrich, R. (January 2014). SWOT Analysis: Examples, Templates & Definition. Business News Daily. Retrieved from
Haywood-Farmer, J.Ribbink, D Melhuish, J. Case No. 9B10D015. Published 2/3/2011, Richard Ivey School of Business, 2009.
Laube, J. (2015). How to Turn Your Good Restaurant Into a Great Business. Restaurant Owner. Retrieved from
Sunset Grill at Blue Mountain. (2006).…...

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