Fast Food Feast – Mcdonald’s Versus Whataburger

Operation and Supply chain management (OSCM) is one of the foundations that successful businesses count on to provide a competitive advantage within their industry. The goal of OSCM is to develop and maintain a system that effectively and efficiently manages the flow of raw material resources into useful end products for consumer use (Chase, 2006). In the fast food industry this process takes center stage in maintaining competitive pricing. A review of the production process in two national chains, Whataburger and McDonald’s, showcases each chain’s approaches to OSCM.Observed Production Processes McDonald’s restaurant places its focus on quick turnaround times for efficiency and cost savings. McDonald’s mission statement is “to be our customers’ favorite place and way to eat. By lowering the unit cost per item and establishing a customer flow process that increases the volume of units sold, McDonald’s can maintain its dollar menu items and low prices (McDonald’s, 2012). The production process of McDonald’s is straightforward and all McDonalds follow the same process with employee training via videos on customer service and the food prep process.Whataburger uses the latest technology but preserves the importance of the customer and made to order food.Identify the customer expectations for the service and product McDonalds The customer expectations for McDonalds are based on speedy service and good prices. The fast food chain has a value menu with items for one dollar during all meal times. Customers expect quick delivery of their meal whether they drive through or dine inside. Whataburger Whataburger patrons expect a big burger that is made just for them when they order it. While time of delivery does matter, the experience is more about getting a large burger just the way they want it. Consumers where are not as concerned about a dollar menu.Seven Major Questions How are in-store orders taken? The McDonald’s fast food chain has multiple cashiers where orders are placed face to face and entered via computerized cash registers. The cashiers transmit the orders electronically to a screen in the food prep area, with in store orders are identified from drive through orders. Once the order has been completed, the cashier clears that order when the customer is handed the food. Whataburger also uses electronic screens in the food prep area that receive the order information from the cashier at the counter.Orders are numbered and the customer is given a number to place on his or her table. Whataburger actually has an intermediate server who delivers the finished order to dine in patrons at their tables and offers condiments for their meal. Are the hamburgers prepared to order, or are they prepared ahead of time and delivered from a storage bin? McDonald’s hamburgers are frozen patties to ensure consistency of size and appearance. McDonald’s cooks the patties in batches and place them in temperature controlled warmer bins.Each bins holds one batch and a timer is placed per bin to regulate times according to OSHA standards (McDonald’s, 2012). During peak times, a set quantity of burgers are prepared and prepackaged ahead of time and placed on a temperature regulated delivery rack. Whataburger hamburgers are never cooked until they are ordered. The burgers are made from 100% American beef that has never been frozen (Whataburger, 2012).. How are special orders handled? Since McDonalds does prepare ahead of time, special orders are called over head as well as placed in the computerized order entry system via the cash register.Special stickers are applied to the outside of the burger wrapping to identify special orders as items are placed in the delivery rack. At Whataburger, all orders are special orders. All customers are asked what they want on their burger when they order. Whataburger will take phone orders ahead of time for large groups (such as buses of students) and have them ready when the group arrives. How are the hamburgers cooked? McDonald’s hamburgers are frozen patties to ensure consistency of size and appearance (McDonald’s, 2012). McDonald’s cooks the patties in batches and place them in temperature controlled warmer bins.Each bin holds one batch and a timer is placed per bin to regulate times according to OSHA standards. During peak times, a set quantity of burgers are prepared and prepackaged ahead of time and placed on a temperature regulated delivery rack. Whataburger hamburgers are cooked on a grill top. While the burger is cooking, the bun is toasted alongside it on the grill. How are the hamburgers assembled? At McDonald’s, patties are removed from the warmer bins and assembled according to direction per type of burger or per customer order.The vegetables are already cut up prior to assembly. The total time it takes to prepare a McDonald’s hamburger, from the freezer to the customer’s hands, is about a minute and a half (McDonald’s, 2012). Whataburger burgers are never assembled ahead of time. All vegetables are purchased fresh and cut up often throughout all shifts. The cook places the meat on the grilled bun and passes it to the assembler who adds the vegetables and quickly delivers the food to the server to carry to the table if it is a dine-in order. Is a microwave oven used in the process?McDonald’s previously used a microwave to heat up cheese burgers, but that practice was discontinued about three years ago. They do have a customized pie heater that is based on the microwave; it’s designed specifically to heat the fried Cherry and Apple pies (McDonald’s, 2012). Whataburger does not use a microwave in food preparation. How are other items such as French fries and drinks handled? McDonald’s cooks French fries in batches according to volume using an 80% guideline that states 80% of the customers will order a large size fry. McDonald’s French fries take 2.5 minutes to cook, thus they have to move fast to maintain the output of fries to keep with the volume of hamburgers (McDonald’s, 2012). The lobby fountain drink stations are self-service. The McDonald’s drive through system is fast and efficient. As each drive through order is keyed, the automated drink dispenser drops the correct size cup into the holder and rotates it through the process of ice and then to the correct fountain drink and fills within one half inch to the lip of the cup. The finished drink slides to the side and the cashier places the tops.Whataburger serves fries that are cooked fresh in a quick fryer in small batches. The fries are never cooked in the same oil with fish or meat products. The soft drinks at Whataburger are self service inside. On to go orders at the window, the cashier fills the drink and places the lid on. State your opinion concerning the process effectiveness, efficiency, and measurements McDonald’s basically serves a market concerned with speed of service and a lower price. As such, the organization has developed some processes to turn out food in under three minutes.The value menu of items for one dollar is also a popular item. McDonald’s operates efficiently, but consumers generally frequent the place based on convenience and speed over quality. McDonald’s measures success largely on the time it takes to deliver food orders. Quality does not seem to be the main concern. Whataburger strives to deliver large quality burgers and food items that are prepared fresh when they are ordered. The service can be a bit slow, but the end product is an old fashioned burger made to order.The processes used are generally effective because the goal is different from the sheer speed desired by McDonalds. Suggestions for improvement McDonald’s and Whataburger do a good job based on the audiences they serve. McDonald’s succeeds because it can turn out inexpensive food quickly. One area that could improve is the automatic drink dispenser used for drive through service. Different flavors of drinks are dispensed through the same line. Some residual flavor from the previous drink shows up in the next one dispensed. Fruity drinks leave a strange taste in colas or lemon lime drinks particularly.Whataburger still treats every order like a special order and starts preparation only after the order is placed. As a result, service may be too slow for hurried consumers. The chain could probably speed up service without compromising quality by adding staff at peak times. Conclusion Organizations of all kinds rely on operations supply chain management to meet the needs of the consumer. An effective and efficient system of delivering raw materials and/or finished goods to the consumer is necessary in all industries to ensure that the business is successful.Whether the business is a sole proprietorship or a mega giant such as Walmart, it must utilize operations and supply chain management to remain profitable and achieve the goals of the organization.References Operations Management for Competitive Advantage (11th ed. ) Richard B. Chase, F. Robert Jacobs, and Nicholas J. AquilanoMcGraw-Hill, 2006 New York, NY McDonalds (2012). Company Information. Retrieved from http://www. mcdonalds. com/ Company Mission. (2012). Retrieved from http://www. aboutmcdonalds. com/mcd/our_company/mission_and_values. html Whataburger. (2012). Retrieved from .