Total Quality Management
Food and Beverage

Applying total quality management (TQM) to hospitality

To many consider, total quality management to be controversial.

Opponents say its top down and bureaucratic whereas supporters say it delivers strategic competitive advantage. The methodology is more easily applied to explicit procedures such as manufacturing goods.

 TQM applied well can reduce the cost of failure. However it might be more prudent to invest in doing the job right the first time than focus upon preventing failure. TQM can be challenging to apply when procedures contain a large component of intangible elements.

 Not all customers are the same; some customers may be having a bad day when they arrive they take an instant dislike to a member of staff who has done nothing other than exist. Human nature doesn’t always favour a ridged procedural process however much management wishes to systemise procedures to ensure consistent quality standards are delivered time and again.

 It’s a question of balance

Technical standards are suited to TQM procedural as they can be identified and measured.

 Whereas developing quality service standards necessitates an organisational culture that is capable to truly perceive what customers experience. The culture needs to empower, recognise encourage individuals who do think and act outside the organisational norms, in an attempt to resolve customer dissatisfaction or improve a customer experience even if they make a mistake. There needs to be cohesion in moving towards ensuring emotional added value for the customer (doing those things your customers like – but genuinely).

Essentially it’s a customer’s emotional reaction to the product service and the people delivering the experience. The stronger the relationship between service staff and the customer the greater the emotional attachment the client has to repeat the experience. In essence the benefits of true service quality probably come from giving service staff more freedom to do what they feel is in the best interests of their customers within a loose strategic framework.

Integrating quality management

The tangible technical procedural elements cannot exist independently of the intangible the emotional attachment the customer has from experiencing the product service. Managing the product service can be split between service sequence (service delivery system) and the customer process.

The procedural part of service sequence can be broken up into five meal experience factors convenience, variety, labour, status, culture/tradition, impulse, and lastly no choice. The first step is to identify what can be achieved, measured and compared. Step two write a native of what the customer should experience. Step three, verify the service specification can be achieved and supported over time by the available capabilities and resources of the organisation. Lastly confirm customer service specification can be delivered by the service system as a whole i.e. has staff support the strategy. 

Customer Service Specification

Management and Operations

Christopher Bird Author