Windward Insights

What if Restaurants Ran Like IT?

Published Jul. 20, 2015
Written by Michele Darwin

Sushi

Imagine a world where our IT organizations suddenly took over our favorite meal spots and delivered food services the same way they deliver IT services today. How many customers would be coming back the following week?

The Order –At this restaurant, there’s no menu. Instead, the customer asks for anything they want, and the kitchen is committed to find a way to make it. Sometimes, the kitchen doesn’t have the ingredients to make a dish – say sushi rolls, even if that’s what the customer wants. A cook comes out to speak with the guests and let them know that it’ll take some time to get the ingredients, and to see if there’s something else the kitchen can quickly deliver instead. By this point, the customers already have their minds set on that sushi, so they decline the alternative and say they’ll just wait for sushi.

The Prep -The order is in – sushi rolls. Someone has to leave the kitchen to go pick up sushi-grade fish, rice, seaweed paper, and other fixings. The cooks have never made sushi before, but they dive in knowing that they should be able to figure it out as they go. The rice finishes, but isn’t sticky – they didn’t have the right kind of rice, and they didn’t know that it needs to be washed 8 times before going in the water. Without sticky rice, it’s impossible to put the sushi rolls together. The cook returns to the table to let the guests know that it’s going to be at least another hour before they can finish the dish. What’s more –the kitchen has to redo the rice, so it’s going to cost the customer more than what was originally estimated.

The Dish -The kitchen manages get the rice sorted out, and finally, after hours of waiting – the sushi rolls are delivered. They’re not pretty, but after all the kitchen’s tension and stress, the dish is served. The customer spits out their first bite, and sends it back. The cooks had never made sushi before, so it’s not really of restaurant quality, they ask for the check and leave frustrated and unsatisfied.

The Conclusion –Restaurant-goers expect to choose from a defined set of dishes the kitchen is prepared to serve. Without explicitly defining what services they are offering, restaurants wouldn’t be able to keep costs down, or manage for quality and fast delivery. IT organizations need a menu just like a restaurant.

Standardizationhas to be the first step in the transition from fighting daily fires to proactively enhancing the business. Think about what your menu looks like today. What would yourYelprating be?

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- Michele Darwin

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