In the article, A Comparative Examination of Information Technology Usage in the Restaurant Industry’, Huber et al sought to examine the use of information technology in the restaurant industry. The article is essentially a report of their findings from a study which they conducted in furtherance of their overall objective already highlighted above. They identified various parameters which they used to gauge the level of information technology usage in the restaurant industry. This submission will present a summary of the article. The summary will be guided by the following key areas; the main research questions that were addressed by the article, the methodology used to address the research questions and the findings of the study. This submission will also critique the article as well as highlight the main contribution of the article.
The study was guided by three research questions which were as follows: whether the usage of information technology differs among restaurant segments of casual dining, family and quick service; the difference between chains and independently owned restaurants in their usage of information technology and the relationship between information technology and a strong financial bottom line of a restaurant. The methodology used to address the research questions was the survey research method. This entailed the use of research questionnaires which were mailed to target respondents who had been identified by the study. If two weeks elapsed before the researcher received a reply from any of the identified restaurants, the researcher made a personal visit to these restaurants. The study also used the Powell and Dent-Micaleff instrument after making necessary modifications so as to make it more suitable for the study. The study classified the restaurants into three categories as set out in the research questions.
The findings of the study were that depending on the application being evaluated, the usage of information technology varied across the three classifications of restaurants identified by the study. The study also established that there were significant differences in usage of information technology between chains and independently owned restaurants. This was attributable to the fact that national chains had greater financial muscle to invest in information technology infrastructure as compared to independently owned restaurants. With regard to the third research question, the study established that there is correlation between information technology and a strong financial bottom line of a restaurant. Indeed, the study established that financially successful restaurants use at least seven more software applications than restaurants which are not as successful.
While the research is useful as it generates new knowledge, perhaps a different methodology could have yielded much more persuasive findings. Instead of simply using questionnaires, the study should have also sought to use physical observation of the use of technology in the targeted restaurants. The study should also have interviewed the clients who visit the restaurants so as to gauge their level of satisfaction with the level of information technology usage in the restaurants that they visit. The findings from such an approach would have greatly enriched the study. Nevertheless, the findings of the study as presented in the article by Huber et al still have a lot of significance. The article is important because it is able to clearly bring out the fact that in current the American Society, the use of information technology is critical for any restaurant which seeks to attain and maintain financial success. This is invaluable information especially to those seeking to venture into the restaurant business.
In the article, ‘The Role of Technology in Restaurant Revenue Management’, Sheryl Kimes discusses how restaurants can make use of technology so as to enhance the dining experience of their clients and to attain improved financial performance. In the study, she mainly focuses on table-service restaurants. The study was guided by the research hypothesis that there is a strong correlation between strong financial performance and the use of technology in a restaurant. Put differently, restaurants which adopted the use of information technology in various aspects of their business eventually realized and sustained increased revenues. Such revenues even offset the capital outlay that was used in putting in place the information technology infrastructure both in terms of software and hardware.
The principal methodology used to test the hypothesis of the study entailed the identification of various parameters which indicate the level of technology usage in a restaurant. The two key parameters which were identified by the study were revenue management and the dining experience. The study sought to establish the effect if any of technology in revenue management in a restaurant. The study also sought to establish the role of technology in the dining experience of a client in a restaurant. With regard to revenue management, the study sought to establish the role that technology plays in duration control and pricing, the two key activators of revenue management. The study used six components to evaluate the role of technology in the dining process. The six components identified and used by the study were; pre-arrival, post arrival, preprocess, in-process, post process and turnover.
The findings of the study were that restaurants which adopted technology to enhance revenue management ultimately realized improved revenues. This is because they were able to better handle the two activators of revenue management namely; duration control and pricing. They were able to use technology to reduce wide variations in customer dining times and where applicable, to reduce the duration of the meal. This in turn led them to serve more customers and thus attaining increased revenues. The study also established that the use of technology can greatly enhance the dining experience of customers. A restaurant which acquires a reputation of providing an efficient and top notch dining experience will attract more customers due to its superior service. In the long run, the increased numbers will translate to increased revenues for the restaurant. It must not be lost that the genesis of the improved revenues was the adoption of technology so as to enhance the dining experience.
The main deficiency of the study is that it focused exclusively on table service restaurants. Thus, while the study’s findings may be useful especially for small table-service restaurants, they may not be as useful in other types of restaurants as the study does not appreciate the dynamics involved in other types of restaurants. However, this limitation does not have the effect of rendering the study irrelevant. On the contrary, the study makes a very significant contribution in terms of highlighting the role that technology plays in improving the revenues of a restaurant. It has done this through providing clear cut and persuasive examples of the benefits of the adoption of technology by a restaurant. A newcomer in the restaurant business can arguably use it as a blueprint to develop the technology strategy of his or her restaurant business.
Huber, M. M., Huncer, M., & George, R. T. (2010). A Comparative Examination of Information Technology Usage in the Restaurant Industry. Journal of Foodservice Business Research, 268-281.
Kimes, S. E. (2008). The Role of Technology in Restaurant Revenue Management . Cornell University Quarterly, 297-309.