Operations of The Saigon Catering Company
This paper sets out to look at the operational problem of a catering business called The Saigon Catering Company (SCC). SCC is a small event catering company based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam which caters for parties hosted by expatriates (non-Vietnamese) either at their offices or their homes. The enterprise was started about three years ago with $100,000 capital. The owners are two businessmen, an Australian & New Zealander, who are involved in a number of different catering and restaurant ventures which operates as a group called the Saigon Gourmet Group. SCC employs a General Manager who is a talented and well trained ...view middle of the document...
Under current conditions this is good as the complexity of the work involved and specific event requirements means that the staffs skill and attention is required to completely focus on the jobs in hand.
As mentioned above the very large variety of options the customer has allows them to have exactly what they want. This means that almost every event the food production has to be started from the beginning and completed as an individual task. The selection is a great benefit to the customer but the market does not allow SCC to charge the true value for this service which results is reduced margins or loss of business as customers often opt for less expensive options.
Demand for catering is fairly predictable depending on the time of the year and also the time of the week. Holiday times such as Christmas and Lunar New Year and also weekends tend to be a busy time for SCC. The beginning of the week i.e. Monday – Wednesday are often very quiet. Often catering is booked at very short notice, sometimes within two or three days of the event – in some cases even on the day of the function.
Fairly high visibility – starting with the General Manager meeting clients and allowing the customer to have direct input to food and service having strong supervisors on each event.
ii) Operations Strategy
According to Operations and Process Management (Slack et al, 2009) there are five main aspects of operations performance which affect customer satisfaction and business competiveness. They are as follows:
Quality has been a very high aspect of SCC’s operational advantage. Ingredients currently used included expensive imported items such as extra virgin olive oil from Italy, beef from the USA, lamb from Australia and cheeses from Europe. The highly skilled staff, such as chefs and waiters required to source, make, deliver, set-up and serve the customer has been expensive. Specialized equipment is needed to make some items such as pastry ovens and ‘hot-cupboards’ for holding food hot on events.
From the time the customer requests the service to the time that SCC delivers sometimes takes considerable time as sourcing ingredients, producing food and delivering is not always straight-forward. Events which need catering at short notice sometimes takes SCC longer then the customer has time for which results in menus being changed (with customer’s approval) or they would use alternative companies which are quicker and therefore cheaper but perhaps with slightly less quality.
Being able to deliver the agreed service and products at a pre-agreed time is extremely important to clients and is part of SCC’s operational strategy. Customers need SCC to be in place to serve food and drinks on-time – any lateness would be considered a disaster.
Being able to do exactly what is requested is huge advantage to customers of SCC. In some cases customers have written menus and...