Aveneu Park, Starling, Australia

The relationship between fast-food employees who used electronic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Effects Electronic Headsets Have on Speed of
Service in Fast Food

Joshua
Lachmann

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Durham
Technical Community College

January
31, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Abstract

Speed of service is an area of focus within the
fast-food industry which allows fast-food restaurants to remain competitive and
profitable. This study observes and identifies the cause-and-effect
relationship between fast-food employees who used electronic headsets to
increase speed of service versus fast-food employees who did not use and electronic
headset to increase speed of service. Employees were observed making customer
orders without an electronic headset along with employees who did use an
electronic headset. Customer’s wait times were recorded to compare. Average and
total order to delivery times were recorded from observations to provide substantial
results. A direct relation between increased speed of service was observed by
employees who used an electronic headset. A direct relation between decreased
speed of service was observed by employees who did not use an electronic
headset. The average customer wait time remained alarmingly higher when a
customer’s order was made by an employee who did not wear a headset. Although the
results comply with prior research, the results are still inconclusive, and more
research is necessary to formulate more strategies to increase speed of service
in areas of the fast-food industry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The
Effects Electronic Headsets Have on Speed of Service in Fast Food

Introduction

Speed of service has
always played an important role for restaurants in the fast-food industry to
remain profitable; speed of service has also prevented profit growth when
utilized in an inefficient manner (Dharmawirya, Oktadiana, & Adi, 2012,
p.8). According to feedback from customers, Dharmawirya et al. (2012) have
argued that techniques such as speed of service and certain technologies are
what drive profit growth the most (p.10). Fast-food restaurants have noticed
this and have set forth more advanced technologies to increase speed of
service, such as timing systems and electronic headsets. It is predicted that
an employee who uses an electronic headset to hear a customer’s order while
viewing the order visually from a display monitor will cause an increase in
speed of service, and a decrease in the time customers must wait for their
order versus an employee who does not wear an electronic headset and relies
solely on a visual display monitor to complete a customer’s order. Allon,
Federgruen, and Pierson (2011) have emphasized that these new technologies have
allowed restaurants in the fast-food industry to dramatically decrease the time
customers have to wait for their food (p.497). Customers have stated that
“speed is an important factor in the Drive-Thru experience” according to Allon
et al. (2011, p.497), which is why further research must be conducted to
compare how effective the data is with employees who do not utilize electronic
headsets to improve speed of service.

Methods

To test whether the use
of an electronic headset increased speed of service and decreases a customer’s
wait time, the employees of a fast-food restaurant were observed in the kitchen
area and behind the front counter area, while imposed as a new trainee, from
8:00pm to 9:00pm during dinner on the evening of January 27, 2018. These
observations took place at a Taco Bell located on U.S. 64 BUS Hwy, Knightdale,
North Carolina. To determine whether increased speed of service resulted from
the use of an electronic headset, employees were observed making a customer’s
order while wearing a headset on the drive-thru side, and employees not wearing
a headset on the dine-in side; customer orders were also observed being
received on a display monitor through a POS (Point of Sale) register. Once
orders were received by employees on the drive-thru side and the dine-in side simultaneously
from customers who had their orders taken by employees operating POS registers,
display monitors that record order to delivery times (customer wait times) were
monitored, and the times displayed were recorded and determined how long a
customers order took to be made by an employee wearing an electronic headset
for the drive-thru side versus how long a customers order took to be made by an
employee not wearing an electronic headset for the dine-in side. After
observing 8 orders made from the drive-thru side and the dine-in side, an
average for order to delivery (customer wait times) was calculated and compared
which determined the faster speed of service.

Results

After collecting the
data, calculations were made, and the results are shown through the table below
titled “Order to Delivery”. The Order to Delivery table indicates the total
number of orders and total order to delivery times (customer wait times) for
drive-thru employees wearing a headset and dine-in employees not wearing a
headset along with total average order to delivery times (customer wait times)
for customers for drive-thru and dine-in.

Total Number of Orders

Drive-Thru Wearing a Headset Avg. OTD

Dine-In Not Wearing a Headset Avg. OTD

Drive-Thru Wearing a Headset Total OTD

Dine-In Not Wearing a Headset Total OTD

8

3:15

5:00

26:00

40:00

Approximately 75% of the
observed orders made by employees not wearing a headset were above the average order
to delivery time of employees wearing a headset. The lowest customer wait time
recorded for employees not wearing a headset was calculated at 3:00. The data
suggests, in terms of average and total order to delivery times, that orders
made by employees not wearing a headset remained approximately 1.5% slower
overall. According to the data, employees who wear a headset seem to complete
orders much faster than employees not wearing a headset, thus increasing speed
of service for employees wearing a headset and decreasing speed of service for
employees not wearing a headset.

Discussion

            Research
from the past has emphasized that an increase in speed of service and the
ability for a fast-food restaurant to remain profitable through the
incorporation of technologies, such as electronic headsets, that employees are
able to utilize (Allon et al., 2011, p.497; Dharmawirya et al, 2012, p.10). An
identical situation to previous research was observed in this scientific study
through field observations that remain consistent with the hypothesis.
Employees who utilized an electronic headset showed an increase in speed of
service of approximately 1.5% compared to employees who did not utilize an
electronic headset. No matter how consistent these results are to prior
research, this does not conclude or imply that further research should not be
administered. Time of day, more efficient POS registers, and flow of business
can all contribute to results that are more substantial. The data also suggests
that incorporating more advanced technology into areas of restaurants in the
fast-food industry is much needed. Business owners in the fast-food industry
may be assisted by incorporating smarter and more efficient POS systems to
accommodate for employees who do not use electronic headsets or by allowing
employees who do not utilize electronic headsets to use electronic headsets.

References

Allon,
G., Federgruen, A. & Pierson, M. (2011). How much is a reduction of your
customers’ wait worth? an empirical study of the fast-food drive-thru industry
based on structural estimation methods. Manufacturing
& Service Operations Management, 13(4),
489-507. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/abac/ab66842a79138cf1391407f7719e9286cddc.pdf

Dharmawirya,
M., Oktadiana, H., Erwin, A. (2012). Analysis of expected and actual waiting
time in fast food restaurants. Industrial
Engineering Letters, 2(5), 8-17. http://www.iiste.org/Journals/index.php/IEL/article/download/1959/1939

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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