Service operations

“Discuss what resources are needed to plan, prepare and deliver service operations, for maximum quality and efficiency, at a large-scale hospitality event such as a charity, celebrity dinner for 300 people” Wright (1999) defines service organisations by stating “a service organisation is when two or more people are engaged in a systematic effort to provide services to a customer, the objective being to serve a customer,” and defines service operations management as the “ongoing activities of designing, reviewing and using the operating system, or systems, to achieve service outputs as determined by the organisation for customers.”

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From these two definitions we can determine that service operations focuses on the interaction between service provider and customer. Service operations are the policies and procedures service organisations put in place to ensure that the quality of service received by the customer, and the efficient use of resources available prevails. Without customers service organisations would not succeed, so emphasis must be placed on the interaction with customers, and the ability to determine customer satisfaction

. It is vital that the quality of service provided meets, or even better, exceeds the standard required to gain and maintain customers. This quality can be quite difficult to maintain due to the characteristics of service, but with effective policies and procedures in place, an appropriate recruitment and selection process, and the ongoing commitment to training staff to enable them to deliver excellent customer service, service organisations can undoubtedly give themselves a competitive advantage in today’s fierce business world.

Organising any type of event requires meticulous thought and planning and for the purpose of this essay discussions will be presented on what resources are needed to plan, prepare and deliver a large scale celebrity charity dinner. Watt (2001) defines events as “a one-off happening designed to meet specific needs at any given time,” and the specific need here is for the charity involved to raise much needed revenue, raise its awareness within the public, and for the guests attending to have an enjoyable memorable experience. Watt (2001) also goes on to mention that properly done, events can be a great thrill, but poorly done, they can be an unpleasant experience for all concerned. To this end it is vital that every effort goes into making sure the planning, preparation and delivery of the dinner goes smoothly and efficiently.

The charity concerned is the Variety Club of Scotland who continually raises money to help sick, disabled and disadvantaged children. The Variety Club of Scotland was established in 1976, and since then has gone from strength to strength. In Scotland there are two employees and the remainder are all volunteers including the Chairman and Executive Board. This means that administration costs are kept to a minimum. The charity’s strength is its membership, which has strong business and celebrity links. Through their dedication and generosity they are able to make sure over ninety pence in every pound goes directly to the children. Another advantage of this charity is all monies raised in Scotland stays in Scotland, so the benefit to Scottish children is immense. With this charity comes the valuable resource of celebrities who frequently partake in such fund raising events and offer their services for free. (

Once again the charity decided to host a celebrity charity dinner as it had been successful in previous years and research carried out by the charity revealed that the business community looked forward to this now annual event, it was financial feasible, and had always received a positive reaction within the media who always covered the event professionally and gave excellent coverage before and during the event. This resource has become invaluable to the charity as it actively promotes awareness and serves as an information service for potential guests to ascertain facts such as where it is being held, which celebrities will be in attendance, the cost, the date and time of the dinner and how to obtain tickets

As with any event, emphasis must be placed on the planning. At the start of the planning stage it is vital to determine the feasibility of it. According to Wright (1999) the charity has to ensure it has the know-how and skills base to stage such an event. If specialised equipment is required this needs to be determined at this stage and the charity needs to research reliable sources of supplies and services which will be outsourced to achieve a successful evening, and also to achieve maximum efficiency. Also at the planning stage according to Watt (2001) it is important to ascertain the need to hold a charity dinner, with the answer being primarily to raise monies and secondly to raise awareness of the charity.

Decisions such as where to hold the dinner, costs involved and funding for the event needs to be secured at this stage, which came in the form of �5,000 from the National Lottery, and donations made from two organisations that regularly sponsor Variety Club events for the amount of �5,000 each from Start-rite Shoes Ltd. and Friends Provident (see appendix 1) Contact with celebrities can also occur at this stage to get an indication of who can and cannot attend. Any other resources needed at this stage can be identified and researched as to their availability.

The venue chosen for holding this charity dinner needs to offer the highest standards of quality, confidentiality and tradition, and they need to have resources such as adequate banqueting facilities to accommodate three hundred guests. The venue also needs to be within a reasonable distance from Glasgow Airport, as many celebrities attending will be travelling from England to attend the dinner. To assure celebrities and guests of the service quality expected the Dalmeny Park Country House Hotel in Glasgow has been selected to host this event as they meet the required standard to stage this dinner.

The staff at this hotel receives on-going training to ensure they maintain their four stars rating for quality and service, and the hotel has the necessary skills base and expertise to handle this type of event. The hotel also offers accommodation with unashamed luxury appropriate for the celebrities and guests attending. The hotel is renowned for its quality of food and they always aim to deliver quality in terms of the presentation of the food, the temperature at which it is served, and the staff appears happy and confident in their roles. The hotel had also been choose due to the rapport it has built up between its manager and the charity, and has been used on numerous occasions to host likewise events. Communication channels between the manger and the charity have always been friendly and clear, and the charity feels assured of the competency of management and staff at the hotel. Feedback from celebrities and guests in the past has always been positive.

To ensure maximum efficiency occurs with this event and all cost savings can be made, it is vital that financial resources are not stretched and the event achieves its objective of raising money for the charity. Due to the publicity raised by this annual event the charity receives a substantial discount on the dinner of 15% and the charity has also made use of its negotiation resources and receives free use of the banqueting hall. The hotel also supplies the charity with the free use of their security staff, which is important with celebrities attending, and they also provide a red carpet for arriving guests. Complimentary cocktails are also served to guests as they assemble for dinner. The hotel offers ample parking and beautiful gardens that guests can explore at their leisure, and the hotel is suitable for disabled users.