Modern hospitality industry is full of challenges due to its global character. People travel around the world; they see new places and become more demanding. The issue of the ‘new tourist’, who knows much more than most tourists knew in the era of travel agencies and organized tourism, has come, and the hospitality industry players have to be prepared for this process. As modern trends are dictating the way in which businesses should operate, it is vital to see them and catch them within the scope of the particular business.
Food industry has become very fast growing since the borders of many developing countries became easier to cross: the people got acquainted with local cuisines, got to know the new products. Together with the development of international trade, it became possible to transfer goods abroad so many countries of the world can now afford food products which they never knew before.
All this together influenced by the fact that people are expanding their gastronomical horizons places a great challenge on the food industry. Many other multiple trends that are mentioned in the research also determine the challenges for food operations management and for the food industry in general. One of them is the eco-trend active development that places significance on the organic food products. Ecologically friendly restaurants are growing in numbers and scale, offering more and more fresh concepts of food consumption to the clients. Finally, fast growth and development of technology is another very important trend of the restaurants that has to be mentioned. This trend is now developing on the worldwide scale. Technologies of restaurant management are changing and therefore affecting the way restaurants are operated.
The paper addresses the challenges of the restaurant operations and hospitality industry in the New York area in general. Local trends and issues are considered, recommendations are made. The aim of the paper is to prove that computerization and technological development has improved restaurant operations in the New York area; this thesis statement is examined in the paper.
Local Restaurant Management Challenges
The area of New York and Manhattan is full of various food products. Due to the cultural diversity of people living in the area, it is undeniable that the supply of restaurants is highly diversified. As Hunt (n.d.) proposes, all types of restaurants are represented in the area of New York. The customers of these restaurants are people with different cultural and social backgrounds. Moreover, this creates major challenges for all restaurant operations in the local community: being open for all categories of guests at the same time remaining focused on the target markets which are very narrow and specified (Mobley, Li, & Wang, 2011).
Restaurant operations in the United States in general are usually supported by legal and social institutions, so there is no actual entry barrier for these types of businesses. Restaurants are very easy to open, but they are also very easy to close as the competition is what now has become the greatest challenge for local restaurants.
What is important is that the positive image and historical background of the restaurant do not play a significant role in this case. There are many examples of very successful restaurants in the New York area, which have been operating for more than ten years but have been replaced by other new and fresh concepts and finally become bankrupts. Ban (2012) describes Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group, which has lost due to its sustainability strategy and inability to adapt to changes. Hence, as Hunt (n.d.) suggests, the focus on building a positive image is being replaced by the focus to stay up-to-date and cater for the changing tastes of the customers. In addition, there is lack of professional staff in the restaurants of the New York area: more and more people are coming to the city, which increases staff turnover rates in the restaurant operations (Batt, Lee, & Lakhani, 2014). In this respect, the restaurants have become pickier in hiring procedures; they intend to make legal aspects stricter for the employees to make them stay at their positions and jobs as long as possible (Holbeche, 2009).
At the same time, together with these changes in human resources management, the growth and development of restaurant management technologies enable replacement of people by technological apps. Mobile menus and computerized menu ordering help the restaurant owners save money on staff expenses and cut the actual number of people working at the restaurants. This has lately been supported by the guests themselves who need less time for restaurant experience than before.
Still, there are classic restaurants like St. Pierre with standard service quality and procedures, which, like a good tradition of restaurant service, has remained for years (Hunt, n.d.). Ban (2012) argues that such restaurants usually earn not only due to positive image, but due to their high-end and high-class target marketing.
Impact of Technology and Computerization on Food Service and Lodging Operations
The recent growth of Internet and other media channels has opened a new era of tourism when people are able not only to book their entire trips online, but plan every detail of the trip and even get previews of the experiences they are about to receive. The role of organized tourism has diminished, and the people are leaning towards individual tourism as their travel habits are changing (Smith, Bhattacharya, Vogel, & Levine, 2010).
This is the same with the food service: the people can now pre-order their food online, view the contents of the menu before visiting the restaurant, choose the places to sit online or using various mobile applications. Computerization has changed the food service.