To aim for leadership in terms of foot fall in the neighborhood. The latter is a narrow shopping and commercial strip, which is about a mile in length and no more than a street in width. The neighborhood has a number of branded and unbranded food outlets competing for customers, led by a McDonald outlet.
To improve hygiene standards so that all complaints are eliminated. Regulators have continued license for operations since they were satisfied by the cleaning schedules, but there have been media visits and reports about cockroaches being seen on the premises. Neighboring establishments do not observe any standards in this respect, though the immediate ones are not in the business of foods. However, conditions in the neighborhood are warm, humid, and conducive for the breeding of pests, though the outlet itself maintains specified Burger King Standards for safety and hygiene.
To implement special customer schemes and seasonal promotions. These are announced and advertised by Burger King in the mass media. Most of these programs call for adjustments to cash registers, and require modifications in financial returns for local tax authorities. Besides, matching point-of-purchase material must be fitted in within the outlet premises as per given display specifications.
To attend to customer complaints which supervisors are unable to resolve. The franchisee is accountable for disgruntled customers. This parameter is measured by any instances of written or emailed complaints which reach Burger King. Hence the franchise is under great pressure to try and satisfy unhappy customers on the spot, to keep Burger King getting to know. The manager has a free hand with respect to compensating customers with complaints, so that they do not take up their issues with Burger King.
To participate in Human Resource Management programs. Turnover of front line servers is a major issue. The manager has to stay in touch with educational institutions, parishes, and with staff in competing outlets as well, to keep people on stand-by to fill vacancies promptly. This problem comes to the fore during vacation seasons and periods. The manager is also directly responsible for initial screening of all new candidates, and participates in orientation and periodic training programs conducted by Burger King.
Though these goals have been handed down to the manager jointly by the franchise and Burger King, the manager also has some additional objectives specified by the direct employer. The franchise owner wants the manager to ensure a 20% growth in net revenues. The manager declined to state the base or the actual figures, but clarified that this objective has more stretch than built in to the Burger King goals. Further, the franchise owner plans to open a non-food retail outlet in the vicinity, and wants the manager to scout for options and to suggest some new lines of business for the new venture as well.
Name of the Manager: Alfred De Souza
Job Description: The manager showed me a detailed and written document related to the job description. Space constraints only allow for a truncated version to appear here. The overall role of the manager is to ensure the smooth functioning of the outlet in line with Burger King Norms. The key tasks relate to administration, financial responsibilities, and supervision of subordinate personnel. Each key task has been specified in terms of time and cost limits. The Job Description has a listing of the manager’s financial and operational responsibilities. The additional objectives given by the franchise owner do not find mention in the official Job Description, which is a document formatted by and accessible to Burger King. The Job Description specifies the person profile, detailing the qualifications and experience necessary for the job.
The manager has an outstanding supervisory personality. She is an optimal blend between being firm and friendly with all the people who work at the outlet. She knows each of them by their Christian names, and works hard to maintain impartiality in dealing with their grievances. New recruits get special attention until they have the confidence to deal with customers on their own. However, the manager seemed to be weak in accounting matters and math, and appears confused about some local tax collection and record keeping matters.
Big variations between peak and off peak periods seem to be one of the major issues in operating this franchise. I visited on a Sunday evening and again the next mid-morning. Keeping staff on their toes when there are almost no customers seems to be almost as much of an issue as coping with long queues of impatient customers! McDonald has an off-peak price offer which has been running for months: they also have a better system of handling waiting customers by taking orders even before people reach one of the cash registers.
The rest room access is through a common area shared with other retail outlets, and it is filthy! The foot fall between these outlets and the Burger King outlet is probably the reason for a high amount of dirt and bugs constantly threatening hygiene standards the precincts. I feel that effective mats at each of the two access doors will reduce the chances of infestation. It may also help if bins to collect litter are placed in the corridors and stairway leading to and from the outlet.
Strategies to deal with the threats from competition are not evident. The manager and the entire franchise system seem to be very inward-looking, being solely preoccupied with meeting Burger King Service standards. It appears that Burger King does not bother to collect feedback from franchise personnel, and that the company is not in tune with trends in the neighborhood. McDonalds seems to be more responsive with frequent ethnic and healthy additions to the menu, and vibrant competition against unbranded food service offers in the locality.
Ethnic street food clearly takes custom away from Burger King. I saw that many of these vendors make it a point to offer close clones of the top sellers from the Burger King Menu. Though their presentation standards are way below the Burger King brand, so are the prices. Families seem to be loyal to the Burger King brand, but young adults and couples can be seen drifting towards the street vendors after browsing through the Burger King Menu. Moreover, McDonalds was clearly busier on both my visits.
High staff turnover and conflicting work demands between Burger King and the franchise owner, are other issues of importance as per my observations. The front line service staff lack commitment to the brand, and just wants to do as little as possible to hand on to their jobs. The manager is destabilized between the structured demands of Burger King and informal overtures by the direct employer.
I would love to bag such a job, but only if I were to be employed directly by Burger King. I think that it is a brand with a great deal of potential. I can fulfill the job requirements and make valuable contributions to the company. However, I would not like to be employed by the franchise owner, and feel that such an unprofessional position would harm my future career.