Saturday, September 6, 2014

A Hot Pot Restaurant with Lean Manufacturing

When Hai Di Lao Hot Pot restaurant opened in San Gabriel Valley about one year ago, it stuck in a bottleneck with the unexpected distraction of customers. Well-known for its effective service to customers in China, the hot pot company is very popular and has more than 80 chain restaurants domestically.

It seems that restaurants usually provide various and individualized service to meet customers’ need, and as a result no standard procedures are available to workers. However, the lean method generally used in the hot pot company leads to the huge success in the catering business. Just like the streamlined production, all the staff at companies is well trained with the standard rules that includes very specific and detailed instructions to regulate their behaviors. Under the circumstances, workers are clearly instructed and use their time wisely dealing with multiple demands of customers. They manage to reduce the waste of unnecessary service and maximize their value to every customer.

I had a great experience at the hot pot restaurant in Beijing. When I was waiting for seats with my friends, they offered free services such as manicure and neck massage. Although it was an hour until we reached the table to order, I was not impatient at all because time passed fast as I was enjoying the services. If you are not interested in those services, you can also enjoy some free fruits or drinks while playing chess with your friends. When we were enjoying our meal, I asked for more soup for the hot pot, a waiter reacted quickly and served another customer within a minute. After finishing dinner, we also enjoyed the free photo printing service and left with great satisfaction.

It’s obvious that the service is passed along effectively at each step. Customers are treated with good services from the very beginning and it reduces the unexpected waiting time. For the customers who are enjoying their meal, it is easy to reach any waiters to satisfy their needs. And before leaving, customers are continuously enjoying the free printing service, which add more value to the service chain since customers definitely have a good impression for the whole evening.

Although the lean method adopted in the hot pot restaurants reach huge success in China, it seems that it doesn’t work in America due to the culture difference. Since customers here consider massage and manicure service not qualified in a restaurants and dislike the prompt reaction to customers as waiters may stand close to tables and listen to private conversations. Should the hot pot restaurant in the U.S. adopt the lean method as well to improve the service? Since it is not a universal rule to follow, what efforts should be made to increase the efficiency of the service?


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