The Effects Electronic Headsets Have on Speed ofService in Fast FoodJoshuaLachmannDurhamTechnical Community CollegeJanuary31, 2018 AbstractSpeed of service is an area of focus within thefast-food industry which allows fast-food restaurants to remain competitive andprofitable. This study observes and identifies the cause-and-effectrelationship between fast-food employees who used electronic headsets toincrease speed of service versus fast-food employees who did not use and electronicheadset to increase speed of service. Employees were observed making customerorders without an electronic headset along with employees who did use anelectronic headset.
Customer’s wait times were recorded to compare. Average andtotal order to delivery times were recorded from observations to provide substantialresults. A direct relation between increased speed of service was observed byemployees who used an electronic headset. A direct relation between decreasedspeed of service was observed by employees who did not use an electronicheadset.
The average customer wait time remained alarmingly higher when acustomer’s order was made by an employee who did not wear a headset. Although theresults comply with prior research, the results are still inconclusive, and moreresearch is necessary to formulate more strategies to increase speed of servicein areas of the fast-food industry. TheEffects Electronic Headsets Have on Speed of Service in Fast FoodIntroductionSpeed of service hasalways played an important role for restaurants in the fast-food industry toremain profitable; speed of service has also prevented profit growth whenutilized in an inefficient manner (Dharmawirya, Oktadiana, & Adi, 2012,p.8). According to feedback from customers, Dharmawirya et al. (2012) haveargued that techniques such as speed of service and certain technologies arewhat drive profit growth the most (p.10).
Fast-food restaurants have noticedthis and have set forth more advanced technologies to increase speed ofservice, such as timing systems and electronic headsets. It is predicted thatan employee who uses an electronic headset to hear a customer’s order whileviewing the order visually from a display monitor will cause an increase inspeed of service, and a decrease in the time customers must wait for theirorder versus an employee who does not wear an electronic headset and reliessolely on a visual display monitor to complete a customer’s order. Allon,Federgruen, and Pierson (2011) have emphasized that these new technologies haveallowed restaurants in the fast-food industry to dramatically decrease the timecustomers have to wait for their food (p.497). Customers have stated that”speed is an important factor in the Drive-Thru experience” according to Allonet al. (2011, p.497), which is why further research must be conducted tocompare how effective the data is with employees who do not utilize electronicheadsets to improve speed of service.
MethodsTo test whether the useof an electronic headset increased speed of service and decreases a customer’swait time, the employees of a fast-food restaurant were observed in the kitchenarea and behind the front counter area, while imposed as a new trainee, from8:00pm to 9:00pm during dinner on the evening of January 27, 2018. Theseobservations took place at a Taco Bell located on U.S. 64 BUS Hwy, Knightdale,North Carolina. To determine whether increased speed of service resulted fromthe use of an electronic headset, employees were observed making a customer’sorder while wearing a headset on the drive-thru side, and employees not wearinga headset on the dine-in side; customer orders were also observed beingreceived on a display monitor through a POS (Point of Sale) register.
Onceorders were received by employees on the drive-thru side and the dine-in side simultaneouslyfrom customers who had their orders taken by employees operating POS registers,display monitors that record order to delivery times (customer wait times) weremonitored, and the times displayed were recorded and determined how long acustomers order took to be made by an employee wearing an electronic headsetfor the drive-thru side versus how long a customers order took to be made by anemployee not wearing an electronic headset for the dine-in side. Afterobserving 8 orders made from the drive-thru side and the dine-in side, anaverage for order to delivery (customer wait times) was calculated and comparedwhich determined the faster speed of service.ResultsAfter collecting thedata, calculations were made, and the results are shown through the table belowtitled “Order to Delivery”. The Order to Delivery table indicates the totalnumber of orders and total order to delivery times (customer wait times) fordrive-thru employees wearing a headset and dine-in employees not wearing aheadset 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 theobserved orders made by employees not wearing a headset were above the average orderto delivery time of employees wearing a headset. The lowest customer wait timerecorded for employees not wearing a headset was calculated at 3:00. The datasuggests, in terms of average and total order to delivery times, that ordersmade by employees not wearing a headset remained approximately 1.
5% sloweroverall. According to the data, employees who wear a headset seem to completeorders much faster than employees not wearing a headset, thus increasing speedof service for employees wearing a headset and decreasing speed of service foremployees not wearing a headset.Discussion Researchfrom the past has emphasized that an increase in speed of service and theability for a fast-food restaurant to remain profitable through theincorporation of technologies, such as electronic headsets, that employees areable to utilize (Allon et al.
, 2011, p.497; Dharmawirya et al, 2012, p.10). Anidentical situation to previous research was observed in this scientific studythrough field observations that remain consistent with the hypothesis.
Employees who utilized an electronic headset showed an increase in speed ofservice of approximately 1.5% compared to employees who did not utilize anelectronic headset. No matter how consistent these results are to priorresearch, this does not conclude or imply that further research should not beadministered. Time of day, more efficient POS registers, and flow of businesscan all contribute to results that are more substantial. The data also suggeststhat incorporating more advanced technology into areas of restaurants in thefast-food industry is much needed. Business owners in the fast-food industrymay be assisted by incorporating smarter and more efficient POS systems toaccommodate for employees who do not use electronic headsets or by allowingemployees who do not utilize electronic headsets to use electronic headsets.
ReferencesAllon,G., Federgruen, A. & Pierson, M. (2011). How much is a reduction of yourcustomers’ wait worth? an empirical study of the fast-food drive-thru industrybased on structural estimation methods.
Manufacturing& Service Operations Management, 13(4),489-507. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/abac/ab66842a79138cf1391407f7719e9286cddc.
pdfDharmawirya,M., Oktadiana, H., Erwin, A.
(2012). Analysis of expected and actual waitingtime in fast food restaurants. IndustrialEngineering Letters, 2(5), 8-17.