Sonnie’s Gourmet Sandwich Café
Sonnie’s Gourmet Sandwich Café, a popular new fast casual restaurant, serves high-quality, made-to-order sandwiches. Located in a local outdoor shopping center, parking in front of Sonnie’s is limited. However, there are many parking spaces available behind the café within a five-minute walk. The café has an inviting, bright, and open interior with deli cases, blackboards listing specials, and oak tables and chairs. The café’s popularity at lunch is a concern for Sonnie. During the prime lunch time between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, the waiting line is often out the door. On average Sonnie would like to serve 40 customers per hour at lunch. Working professionals, who typically spend more than other customers at lunch, are on busy schedules, and do not have time to wait in line. Sonnie estimates that currently some customers go to other restaurants because of the line. The menu at Sonnie’s includes nine standard sandwiches such as roast beef, pastrami and rye, and a B.L.T. Many customers choose to build their own sandwiches, selecting from eight types of bread, 25 meats, 12 cheeses, and 20 different vegetables. Sandwiches are served with chips or a choice of four types of salad.
When customers enter the café, they walk past a large deli counter displaying meats and cheese on their left and stop in front of a counter to place their orders. An employee greets the customer, asks for each customer’s name, then takes his or her order by filling out a two-part paper form. Because of the number of choices, customers take, on average, 1 minute and 20 seconds to place their orders. However, those ordering standard sandwiches complete the order in about 1 minute. The employee gives the top part of the order form to the customer (10 seconds) to take to the cashier and the other is handed to the next employee in line, who starts working on the order. The employee who took the order then fills the customer’s beverage order and hands it to the customer (30 seconds). The customer then walks about 15 feet to the cashier and pays, which on average takes 1 minute and 30 seconds. Then the customer selects a table and waits for his or her name to be called when the order is complete.
Order Fulfillment Process
Three employees work in the food preparation area, which uses a product layout. The first employee in the food preparation line puts the choice of side on a plate (35 seconds) then assembles the sandwich from pre-sliced bread, meat, and cheese, a task that takes about 1 minute and 20 seconds. The sandwich is handed off to the next employee, who adds toppings and sauces (45 seconds), and slices the sandwich (10 seconds). The last employee checks the order for accuracy (15 seconds), moves the sandwich to the pick-up area, and calls the customer by name (20 seconds).
1. Compared to a fast-food restaurant such as McDonald’s, where would Sonnie’s sandwich shop be placed on the service process matrix? What challenges and opportunities does this position create relative to McDonald’s? Why?
2. How many customers is the current process able to accommodate per hour?
3. Use line balancing and service blueprinting to redesign the process at Sonnie’s. What changes do you recommend? Why?