Pret a Manger- a Case Study Essay

The management of products, services, processes and supply chains is called Operation Management. The main consideration is towards the acquisition, development and utilization of resources that the firm will be requiring to satisfy the needs of their customers by delivering the right and correct goods and services. The services play an important role in the economy as it helps in financial services like financing and licensing, personal services and government services. The basic characteristics of services are intangibility, inseparability, perishability and heterogeneity. The world offers various kinds of services.

Operation management makes sure that goods and services are delivered to the customers. Operation management is an integrative body of knowledge. The consumers who consume the good judge it from the value of the service they are offered. Pret a Manger, which is French for ‘ready to eat’, is described by Times as having refashioned the concept of sandwich making and eating. It was founded by Sinclair Beecham and Julian Metcalfe, two college friends in 1986. They identified an opportunity in London to introduce a healthy fast-food alternative to the fried fatty food menus around at the time.

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Their innovative venture paid off as people welcomed this change with open arms. Since the first store opened, Pret has been largely successful, expanding continuously in the UK and more recently abroad. Their corporate policy is to own and manage all new shops to control and enhance the brand and to ensure a high standard in all shops consistently. By 2001, Pret a Manger had 100 stores in Britain and was moving into the United States. Mr. Metcalfe and Mr. Beecham sold a third of the company to, of all companies, McDonald’s, for an estimated ? 6 million ($43 million). In 2008, McDonald’s sold its stake to a private investment firm Bridgepoint Capital for over ? 345 million. Pret is succeeding with just such an out-of-the-box approach. The organizational structure of Pret a Manger is divided between its stores and the main offices. The London head office is the hub for the UK stores, while the office in New York City is the hub for the American stores. Each store contains levels of positions that range from Team Member to the General Manager of the store.

Above the in-store manager is the Operations Manager who is in charge of a group of roughly 10 stores, and above that are more senior management positions based out of the offices that are tasked with coordinating an entire region and maintaining communication with the company’s CEO in London. All the office employees are paired with a “buddy shop” where they work at least two days a year. While the uppermost levels of management are located in the offices, not all the office jobs are above the store jobs in the organizational structure.

Pret does not franchise any of its stores, in order to keep management strategies uniform across the entire brand. Orders do not strictly flow from the head offices in a top-down manner; instead, the channel of communication between the executives and the stores is open in both directions. Pret a Manger promotes an internal culture as described in a leaflet entitled “Pret Behaviors. ” The Behaviors break down traits into three categories: passion, clear talking and team working – and identify specific behaviors as “Don’t want to see,” “Want to see,” and “Pret perfect! [21] The number of Behaviors Pret hopes an employee exhibits increases with ones rank within the company: Team Members should practice around six Behaviors, Managers ten, and the company’s executives all of them a) Service PackagePret a Manger offer a wide variety of grab and go food including sandwiches, baguettes, wraps, sushi, salads, yoghurt pots, cakes, desserts, crisps and a range of bottled beverages, brewed coffees and teas. The breakfast menu differs slightly from the lunch menu, although the majority of the items offered are the same.

Up to 31 types of food are offered in each store. Of the menu items available about 12 are ‘standards’ and the rest can change on a daily basis. All the sandwiches, wraps, baguettes, deserts and salads are made one by one in every shop each day. A set number of products are assembled at the beginning of the day and stocked in the shop front from where the customers select and pay for their meal (see Exhibit 4). This stock level is then replenished during the day in line with demand. The aim is to continually meet the high quality and freshness standards set.

If any of the products assembled that day have not sold by the time the store closes, they are given to local charities rather than being stored and sold the following day. Service in the shop is fast and friendly, with members following strict service guidelines, such as serving every customer within 90 seconds. The in-store ambience is also warm and welcoming so that the customers can sit there and relax on couches while sipping on their coffee. Service StrategyPret a Manger follow a differentiation service strategy with a basic goal of making the customer eave the outlet premises with a smile. Their focus is on quick and excellent customer service with an aim to serve customers in 90 seconds or less. Customers are the other side of the coin in any service operation and Pret have adapted this very well in their strategy. The storefront and kitchen staff is very well trained for dealing with customers in the way to make their service experience a pleasant one. The challenge of providing a fast, efficient and professional service to the customer is exciting and there is a buzz among the staff.

To ensure that this happens, store managers tend to spend about 80 per cent of their time on the shop floor and hold team meetings twice a day to help ensure that every member knows what to do. The staff and the managers are constantly striving to keep in mind Pret’s motto of customer’s happiness at any cost. All the outlets are nicely cleaned and litter-free. The store staff greet the customers with a warm smile and engage in a conversation to make the customer feel relaxed and comfortable while relishing their delicious sandwiches.

High quality service and highly motivated staff is their key a successful service strategy. LocationPret a Manger is a popular fast food chain for healthy sandwiches and alternatives all around the UK. Most of the stores are located centrally in the city with not more than 5 miles from the factory shop for the easy transfer of ingredients and raw material. To set up a fast food outlet in the middle of the city requires intense planning and decision making. Factors such as accessibility, competition, population density and traffic issues come into play.

The food joint should be easily visible and eye catchy to the visitors, it should be located in such an area where there is no direct competition across the streets, an area near the major shopping outlets so that customers and the working people can take a lunch break without having to walk a lot. Pret have carefully designed their location strategies keeping all this in mind. Their outlets are centrally located, well maintained and well-structured to give the customer an amazing service experience. Pret a Manger have recently moved their chains outside the UK with shops opening in USA, France and Hong Kong.

Their international reach is gaining acclaims as people are liking the change a better service experience which they haven’t seen before in their respective countries. Managing Capacity and DemandCapacity and Demand go hand in hand for a good service execution. But at the same it is important to have a clear distinguishing factor between the two so that excess demand is easily met by having a good capacity. In simple words capacity relates to the available resources that can be employed while demand is the customer requests that should be dealt with adequate resources and capabilities.

At Pret a manger the staff is specially trained for rush hour situations like this when there a lot of customers at the same time. A good service operation management requires them to effectively deal with such conditions without making any customer felt left behind. Dealing with a high demand is an intriguing task for service organizations and for this Pret a manger makes sure that they have the right amount of staff including store managers to look over smooth operations.

They have at least four to five tills in one particular outlet to increase their capacity along with rotation of the staff which enables them to limit the queue length that leads to satisfied customer leaving the outlet. Quality ManagementThe quality of the service provided is the only selling point in a service industry. A customer will visit a fast food joint once, asses the quality of the food and the service as a whole and then decide to visit again or no.

The people at Pret a Manger make sure that their quality of the service is up to the topmost level and that no customer is left dissatisfied, be it the taste of their sandwiches, the sugar in the coffee or even the cushions on the chair. Pret a Manger management knows the quality is what sells in the service and they make their best possible efforts to keep up to the task. Their food is always fresh and readily available to the customers, the staff is friendly and welcoming, and the place is well lit and neat. They value customer feedback and improve their services accordingly.

According to the founders Beecham and Metcalfe: “If there’s a secret to our success so far, we like to think it’s our determination to focus continually on quality. Not just our food, but in every aspect of what we do. Quality fresh food is our passion. We go to extraordinary lengths to avoid the chemicals, additives and preservatives common to so much of the ‘prepared’ and ‘fast’ food on the market today. ” b) Focus on Quality management. “Quality in a service is not what you put into it. It is what the client or customer gets out of it. ” – Peter F.

Drucker. Service quality is the most important aspect of any service offering. It is the quality that maintains a service organizations reputation. Especially for fast food chains, quality becomes the utmost important thing for them to gain a competitive advantage over their rivals. A service offering has four major parts that the organization and the marketing management need to focus- intangibility, perishability, variability and inseparability. Intangibility in a service means that a service can’t be literally felt, touched or tasted before consuming it.

This can often be a hard nut to crack for service providers mainly in the food industry. Intangibility is something that posts a major obstacle in maintaining a high quality service as there is no hard evidence for the marketers to show to the potential customers. Tangible clues such as the ambience of the place, staff uniform and appearance, intense advertising are important to make the customer interested enough to try the service out. Perishability means that a service cannot be stored for a later use.

Supply and demand need to be in coordination with each other to prevent any loss of idle capacity. Demand forecasting is very necessary for dealing with issues of perishability as they have zero inventory, so a detailed plan of balancing the demand with proper supply of the service should be important. Variability means the heterogeneity in the service offerings due to customer involvment and the variability across the staff with each person behaving different under different circumstances. Inseparability means the service provider and customers can’t be separated from the process.

Since customers are second half of any service offering it is impossible to call customers being away from the service, in short they are a part of the service. Pret a Manger is such a fast food chain that believes quality is the only thing that can enable it to win over customers. Their service strategy is also designed in such a way that they put the customer experience as their top priority. The food quality is very important for them. They strive hard to make their service offering more appealing to the customer by reducing the intangibility factor.

Stuff like good ambience, good and attractive food packaging, uniformly dressed staff make important contribution towards enhancing the quality of the service. What makes Pret a Manger a good business case study is its approach to customer service and to training and motivating its staff. Staff training is done in a unique way at Pret which helps them to dissolve variability to quite an extent. There is a “Survivor” element to their hiring procedure. New hires are sent to a Pret A Manger shop for a six-hour day, and then the employees there vote whether to keep them or not.

The main factor is to gain the support from pre-hired employees. Those employees already have seen the game. Bonuses are awarded based on the performance of an entire team, not just individuals. So this technique often works as Pret workers know that a bad hire could cost them money. They employ people with personality who they think have the potential to give genuinely good service, who like mixing with other people, good humored and like to enjoy themselves. It takes about three months to become a hot chef.

It might seem that the training would cover procedures like making soup or baking croissants. But Pret has standardized so much — soups, for example, are sent to the shops premade and in plastic bags, and ovens are preprogrammed for each baked item— that the training is largely about food safety and disposal. Pret also sends mystery shoppers to every shop frequently. If a mystery shopper scores a shop as “outstanding” — 86 percent of stores usually qualify — all of the employees get a ? 1-per-hour bonus, based on a week’s pay. Pret reinforces the teamwork concept in other ways.

When employees are promoted or pass training milestones, they receive at least ? 50 in vouchers, a payment that Pret calls a “shooting star. ” But, instead of keeping the bonus, the employees must give the money to colleagues, people who have helped them along the way. Pret believes motivated employees are a better workforce, as they keep the customers happy when they themselves are. Pret has managed to build productive, friendly crews out of relatively low-paid, transient employees. And its workers seem pretty happy about it. It really helps them keep their feet on the ground.

You get to know your team and find out if there’s anything you could be doing better, anything you could change. Head offices often lose sight of what it’s like on the shop floor and what their staff are exposed to on a daily basis. It’s keeping in close communication with the team that helps motivate them. Its annual work force turnover rate is about 60 percent — low for the fast-food industry, where the rate is normally 300 to 400 percent. The argument goes that customer loyalty comes from creating value for them and a firm that has productive workers has an advantage in creating value.

Then if you believe that long-tenured employees are more productive, you start thinking for ways to select good workers and get them to stay. That’s what Pret a Manger is doing. Pret a Manger works really hard upon the quality of their food, the staff appearance and the store environment to create a memorable experience for their customers. They pay attention to each of the minute details like proper placement of food on the shelves, having enough capability to stop a queue to be formed, attention towards the customer’s requests.

Training employees to treat customers with utmost respect and always aim to serve them in not more than 90 seconds, is what makes Pret stand out from its counterparts. The companies which are consumer driven use market research to investigate about the wants and needs of their consumers and customers. For production of foods products, properly conducted taste tests are an excellent way of gauging consumers’ views in order to inform ongoing product development. Pret a Manger is heavily committed to providing good value, high quality products and services to its customers.

In order to do this, Pret a manger private limited company place great faith in this type of research, and the firm’s growth is testimony to the success of its approach. Word Count- 2758. Referencing: ? ? Collier, J. E. and C. C. Bienstock (2006), How do customers judge quality in an Etailor? , MIT Sloan Management Review, Fall 2006, 35-40. (For lectures on technology and service quality). Clifford, S. (2011). Would you like a smile with that?. Available: http://www. nytimes. com/2011/08/07/business/pret-a-manger-with-new-fast-food-ideas-gainsa-foothold-in-united-states. tml? adxnnl=1&pagewanted=all&adxnnlx=1363395891YkzYAWUJWQonhtgVNp2R6A&_r=0. Last accessed 16th March 2013. Dial, M. (2011). Management skills behind the brand: social attitude. Available: http://themyndset. com/2011/12/management-skills-behind-the-brand-socialattitude/. Last accessed 16th March 2013. ? ? ? ? ? Heizer, J. and Render, B. (2011), Operations Management with MyOMLab, 10th Edition (Global edition), Prentice Hall, New Jersey Hill, A. (2011). Pret a Manger- a case study. Available: http://www. algrave. com/business/hill/docs/Hill_Case%2017_Pret_A_Manger. pdf. Last accessed 16th March 2013. Jayawardhena, C; Souchon, A; Glanville, K. (2010). Outcomes of service encounter quality in a business-to-business context. Loughborough Business Journal. 2 (3), 1-34. Lariviere, M. (2011). Pret A Manger: A different way of managing fast food workers. Available: http://operationsroom. wordpress. com/2011/08/11/pret-a-manger-a-different-way-of-managingfast-food-workers/. Last accessed 15th March 2013.

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