The research paper aims analyzing possible ways of attracting customers with two different Chinese cuisines, and thus promotes the concept of Chinese cuisine in Mama Ji’s Restaurant to the traveler and local diner through social media. The two major foods are the dim sum that is offered at midday and the wok-fried for the night travelers are night.
The problem at hand is how Mama Ji’s restaurant can apply better management techniques in improving the services and expand the restaurant. Mama Ji’s food is mainly components of Chinese exotic foods. Since the joint majors on only these two kinds, most customers who come in during odd hours barely find this type of foods. There is need to find a way of improving the services through enhanced management techniques. This project will seek ways of attracting diners with two different Chinese cuisines and promote the concept of Chinese cuisine in Mama Ji’s Restaurant to the traveler and local diner through social media.
The study was conducted through a mixed research methodology by engaging both primary and secondary data. Primary data has been applied by conducting a longitudinal survey entailing use of mixed sampling engaging questionnaires. Secondary data has been utilized by making use of the available literature through the analysis of various journals, articles, books, and websites.
From the study, utilization of online/ digital marketing strategies is an effective strategy of making Mama Ji’s restaurant known to the surroundings in by extension the entire San Francisco. The study confirms that the foods prepared are unique and highly standardized above other Chinese restaurants in the region. This fact is attributed by the influence of Chinese background to the life Lily. The study confirms that through the social media, the restaurant can market itself. This is especially made possible through the voluntary ratings; customers are required to do after acquiring for the services rendered. The ratings approach is a good strategy of finding out the reactions and feelings of the customers. The management can additionally utilize this approach in ranging market competitiveness and compare their services to their competitors within the region. The study confirms that it is possible to expand Mama Ji’s restaurant based on the unique foods served to the customers. One-customer states that the services and food offered are given with a portion of love and not in terms of the cost. This is a worthy note that is useful in attracting more customers to the joint.
It is necessary for Mama Ji’s to enhance its online presence through various avenues such as social media (Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram), blogs, traveling and mobile apps (Restaurant Finder, Dining Grades, and Local Eats). Utilization of the digital marketing is necessary to tap to the greater population vis-à-vis enhancing brand and strategy initiative awareness amongst the public.
Of all the Chinese restaurants in San Francisco, Mama Ji’s is the only place where customers can find childhood favorite dishes such as Ants Climbing Trees (Hu, 2013). Mama Ji’s Restaurant is a Chinese restaurant located at the 4416th Street in Castro, San Francisco. It is usually open for lunch and dinner seven days a week and targets the middle-income earner. The restaurant concentrates on the middle-income earners who often hold gatherings in eating-places. Mama Ji’s is a dim sum joint by day and a wok-fried Sichuan-style restaurant by night (Mama Ji’s, 2016). It provides foods and customer services that aim at satisfying customer needs. Other than focusing at the middle income earners, the restaurant seeks to target non-Muslim customers because it provides non-halal food that Muslims are forbidden to partake.
Mama Ji’s has been known to prepare simple and home-style dish that is rarely components of Chinese restaurants. This feature makes it unique in Castro and more so in San Francisco. The restaurant was established by Marv Wolpa and Lily his wife, better referred to as Mama Ji’s. The couple converted the old café into a fully equipped and wok-enabled kitchen that enhances everything from dim sum to regional Chinese specialties (Hu, 2013). Due to its fairness, most of the middle-income earners prefer the joint. Besides this, customers are guaranteed of enjoying Steamer baskets of staples like shrimp dumplings, the juicy and plump shumai, the better-seasoned wonton noodle soup, and dry bean curd skin roll, which tastes better than it does sounds (Hu, 2014). Furthermore, other dinner items draw more customers to the Mama Ji’s.
Due to the background of Lily, the menu mostly includes hard-to-find regional foods like the Sichuan’s Fish Fragrant dishes. Lily was a former professional tennis player who grew up in Sichuan province and in other regions in China such as Shenzhen. It is therefore a Chinese restaurant worth visiting. Mama Ji’s opens at 9:30 am to 9:30 pm every day of the week and accepts credit cards. The restaurant keeps no reservations but offers space for street parking, although, it is at times a little bit difficult to secure an ample space. Prices for the food items are based on main courses, which make it fairer than other restaurants.
The two main functional areas of Mama Ji’s restaurant are the dining room in front of the house and kitchen in the back of the house. The dining room is the most important area in front of the house where customers spend the most time and front house employees work during their shifts. Mama Ji’s Restaurant ensures the smooth running of the dining room for maximum customer satisfaction. The back section of the house is divided into a kitchen that is made of smaller rooms for food storage, preparation, cooking beach, dishwashing, and sanitation (Hu, 2014).
Together with the husband, Wolpa, the owners of the joint are first time restaurateurs and hence they are not so much equipped in terms of managing a busy and developed restaurant within a city. This is so pronounced in the kind of service offered during high seasons. The staff is capable but the customers can wait friendly enough before the dishes are ready. The variation of hours and menu does not help either. Mama Ji’s offers separate lunch and dinner hours within the week and therefore, not everything is available at all times. Limited dim sum menu can be served at night while during the weekends the entire menu is not available at all times. Such events occur when the cooks take their afternoon breaks. This leaves limited options to customers who may pop in at the restaurant during odd hours. For this case, the study is undertaken to examine better management techniques that can be applied to improve the management and expand the restaurant. This project will analyze how to attract diners with two different Chinese cuisines, and promote the concept of Chinese cuisine in Mama Ji’s Restaurant to the traveler and local diner through social media.
The main approach of data collection will be through longitudinal survey of the activities within the joint, services offered, customer, and staff reactions. Surveys will incorporate observations of the trend of the staff, the management, and customer inflow to the joint. The research data collection will also include observation techniques, which will be useful in identifying feelings and reactions of the customers and clients alike. Mixed methodology will be applied to utilize the benefits of both quantitative and qualitative methods. Quantitative approach will be necessary in quantifying the number of customers served and the average time they wait for the food they ordered. Qualitative approach will be necessary to record data such as feelings, which would otherwise be difficult to be categorized unless they are coded. Coding of data is not encouraged since it results to biasness of the study.
The study randomly picked participants from the customers who streamed in for the services. Randomization was useful in this case to avoid biasness in terms of the background, gender, and age of the participants. In total 50 customers were chosen for the voluntary filling of the questionnaires and given their feeling concerning the joint. The study besides involved some workers who were identified as highly useful for the study. The executives of the business were chosen to derive backward information concerning the team. These participants were voluntary chosen and explained the significance of the research. Before taking part in the study, the participants were freely allowed to sign the consent form that defined the state of their participation having been derived from the charitable acts and not compelled to take part in the research.
Having sufficiently tackled the problem the study discusses its findings based on the survey, observation carried out and the comparison of the findings with the rest of the secondary sources used. Primary data was derived from the survey and observation that was carried out through a questionnaire to various respondents. The participants were from San Francisco form different regions but had the pleasure of enjoying Chinese exotic foods. In conducting the research, the following were the research questions that guided the researchers:
- Do you enjoy your meals at Mama Ji’s?
- At what time do you frequent the joint?
- Do you find the services efficient and adequately fast?
- Which food of the two major dishes do you mostly enjoy?
- How do you rate the organization of the staff?
- Have you ever interacted with the management team?
- How can you rate the restaurant in general?
The interview through questionnaire can be termed as successful as no question was left unfilled by the participants. It is evident that most of the people enjoy foods from Mama Ji’s. According to the computation of mean, majority of the customers are middle aged and of a middle-income class. These customers are not necessarily Chinese but people of diverse background with a preference of the Chinese food. At least half of the participants are frequent customers who are well versed with the culture of the joint. These participants however prefer enjoying the meals at any time of the day. This implies that at least half of the participants might have visited the joint at odd hours and missed their favorite dim sum menu. From the study questions, majority of the participants could not choose between the two major meals since they were all their favorites. The staff was categorized as good, the manager as concerned while the main manager who most of the participants presumed to be Mama Li as warm and inviting. At least 30% of the customers had interacted with the manager and termed him as concerned and quick. The restaurant was rated majorly as a three-star while approximately 10% of the participants rated the joint as a four-star. They equated the restaurant with a Japanese restaurant down the street that offered purely Japanese exotic foods all through the day.
From the observations and survey conducted, most of the customers tripped in at lunch periods and at night, while the restaurant becoming almost empty at other hours. The staff as well worked tirelessly during the rush hours but relaxed as others took their rest. Though the restaurant was almost empty during off-peak hours, others across the street that served other foods in addition to the exotic meals enjoyed a slow streaming in of customers. Because of the culture of serving food mainly during rush hours, the staff is ill prepared in managing customers during off-peak hours. This problem is attributed by poor organization skills from the management.
By conducting a longitudinal survey, the study discovered that Mama Ji’s restaurant is poised to outpace its competitors with increased customer turn out. This can be made possible is the joint will enhance its strategy of using credit card bills together with apps to order their foods. Rather than serving customers who turn up for the services at the joint, the management can seek to widen its market and capture other customers who may be too busy or unwilling to cross the streets for a taste of the joint’s services (Xie, 2012). Through this approach, even the customers who come at odd hours can place their order for their foods at their comfort and enjoy both kinds of food at any time.
The management should come up with better strategies of serving their customers these special foods. This strategy follows the role and expertise of the management. The Manger, Jacob is highly competent but he is working under Lily who is less experienced in these roles. In addition to this, there is need to create a better working culture where customers would readily be served their desired meals at any time of the day. Since, the joint is still categorized as the best in terms of Chinese exotic foods; the management needs to take into considerations better strategies of increasing more inflow than outflow (Hu, 2014). This can be possible if the joint markets itself through the digital media, which is among the best approaches of advertisements so far.
Behmen (2016) provides important insights on how a restaurant like Mama Ji’s can take advantage of its potential and expand its services within the restaurant business. One approach the writer talks about is to remain competitive within the business as a healthy challenge. Behmen talks about making better foods than what the competitor offers and thus compelling creativity as a strong driving force for the business. With shorter menu list, the joint can become better at selling. This strategy has been applied and found to be successful, as Mama Ji’s is known for its two major foods among other exotic Chinese foods. It is however, necessary for the management to consider incorporating simple and easy to prepare foods that can satisfy those clients who prefer eating at odd hours. Behmen goes on to mention that for a successful business in the food industry. It is necessary for the management to be dedicated and consistent to offering their services. This advice should be applied at the restaurant by chefs as well as the management team. The case where chefs are absent during off peak hours should be revised for greater achievements.
It can be concluded that the research presents findings that are in line with existing literature and conceptual frameworks. The major problem was to find out how Mama Ji’s restaurant could apply better management techniques in improving the services and expand the restaurant. Mama Ji’s food is mainly components of Chinese exotic foods. Since the joint majors on only these two kinds, most customers who come in during odd hours barely find this type of foods. There was need therefore, to find better approaches of improving the services through enhanced management techniques. This project has outlined ways of attracting diners with two different Chinese cuisines and thus promotes the concept of Chinese cuisine in Mama Ji’s Restaurant to the traveler and local diner through social media.
Mama Ji’s restaurant is an effective tool of earning more income since the staff makes home cooking style dishes that are attractive to the customers who have never attempted professional and traditional Chinese cuisine dishes. These foods are quite different from the Western foods in taste and in look, and often lead to nice experiences. The management should note that most the Western eat more foods outside their homes per capita in a year. By preparing attractive foods, the restaurant can boom with never ending customers, which can translate to super business opportunities.
Recommendations are primarily aimed at how to enhance Mama Ji’s online presence and hence greater customer awareness. Recommendations are also made on enhanced approaches of improving the management of the joint for more customer inflow. Utilization of online/ digital marketing strategies is an effective strategy of making Mama Ji’s restaurant known to the entire San Francisco. This is because the foods prepared are unique and highly standardized above other Chinese restaurants’ products in the region. This fact is attributed by the influence of Chinese background to the life Lily. The study confirms that through the social media, the restaurant can market itself. This is especially made possible through the voluntary ratings, where customers are required to rate the services before leaving the joint. The ratings approach is a good strategy of finding out the reactions and feelings of the customers. The management can additionally utilize this approach in ranging market competitiveness and compare their services to their competitors within the region. The study confirms that it is possible to expand Mama Ji’s restaurant based on the unique foods served to the customers.
It is necessary for the team to train their staff and encourage the staff to seek external training opportunities. Additional training will compel the staff to work under minimum supervision and competently serve customers as they come. Training will besides guide the staff on the expectations of the managerial team. Mama Ji’s should enhance its online presence through various avenues such as social media (Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram), blogs, traveling, and mobile apps (Restaurant Finder, Dining Grades, and Local Eats). Utilization of the digital marketing is necessary to tap to the greater population vis-à-vis enhancing brand and strategy initiative awareness amongst the public. Through online forums, the management can monitor customer feedback and complaints as quickly as possible. The management needs to get the brand active in Twitter and Facebook by posting fun pictures and great content in the blog. Such activities are a sure approach of creating loyal online community.
Behmen A. (2016). Unconventional Guide How to Manage Small Restaurant Business. POS
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Mama Ji’s. (2016). Home Page.
Xie M. (2012). Restaurant Service and Management. (2nd Ed). Beijing. Qinghua University