Applying the Business Service Management Approach to Restaurant Management

Business Service Management (BSM) is an approach whereby an organization’s business needs and its IT services are aligned. The BSM approach is applied with the critical understanding that an organization’s success is dependent on the reliable delivery of its IT services — much the same way that a restaurant’s success is dependent on the reliable delivery of its services.

BSM facilitates the reliable delivery of our services to our customers and focuses our attention on problem areas that could impact the quality of our products or services. Dining out is an experience shared by most, which is why application of the BSM approach to restaurant management should provide you with a new appreciation and insight into your customers’ experience.

We can likely all agree that a restaurant is nothing without food. With few exceptions, the first thing you receive once seated is the menu, which is a key component of any restaurant’s success. Where customers see just a list of food items and prices, the restaurant manager sees an effective tool that:

  • Ensures customers have a clear understanding of what the restaurant offers — have you ever tried ordering curry at McDonald’s?
  • Helps staff maintain a sufficient inventory of required ingredients to meet customer demand
  • Provides a guide for hiring staff: necessary qualifications, numbers and experience
  • Assists managers in learning what processes need to be defined and what tools are needed
  • Makes it easier to document and maintain recipes (processes) to ensure consistency

If you were to rate your experience at a particular restaurant, what factors would you consider? While everyone has their personal preferences, it’s safe to say that there are three factors considered absolutely critical to a restaurant’s success: 1) quality of the food, 2) atmosphere, and 3) customer service.

While you may have an idea of what situations in your organization constitute a failed delivery of services, it’s sometimes hard to understand the impact those situations have on your customers. Try to imagine yourself in the following restaurant situations, all of which will most definitely lead to a negative customer experience.

  • There’s no menu. You have to explain what you want to the kitchen staff and come to an agreement as to how they will create and deliver it.
  • There’s no indication as to how you place your order. Do you go to the kitchen yourself? place your order at the bar?
  • There are no servers. Customers are instead asked to reach out to the chef directly, which has a huge impact on the kitchen staff and their level of productivity.
  • You explained what you wanted multiple times to multiple members of the kitchen staff, and it still came out wrong.
  • The bill arrives with erroneous charges, which you don’t notice until after they’ve run your card. Your server is also new, so she has to wait on someone to help her correct it.
  • You ordered one item and received something totally different.
  • You put your name on the restaurant’s waiting list when you arrived — over an hour ago. Every time you’ve inquired as to the status of your table since, you’ve been told it will be ready soon.

We’ve all experienced at least one of these situations when dining out, and they all come back to one thing: lack of reliability in delivery of services.

In my next blog entry, I will discuss what the BSM approach looks like operating within a high-maturity IT organization. Following that, we will discuss some of the challenges faced by less mature IT organizations and how those challenges can be addressed by implementing the BSM approach.

To learn more about ITIL, check out Learning Tree’s course, Achieving ITIL Foundation Course.

Ahmad Shuja

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