Quality Management at Subway

Industry research report - Quality Management at Subway

Executive Summary:

This report entails the results of a research study that was conducted on the topic of analysis of the quality management techniques at Subway Australia. The purpose of the research was to determine the customer perception about the products and services from the brand and to determine any issue that has occurred in relation with the lack of quality in the foods or services offered by the brand to the customers. The research has undertaken a qualitative as well as a quantitative approach for the purpose of collecting relevant data on which the analysis was undertaken to determine the perspectives of the quality manager at Subway and also that of the customers of the brand. The qualitative analysis was conducted on the interview feedbacks received and a quantitative analysis was undertaken on the survey feedbacks collected from the customers. 
The findings revealed that in general the customers perceived the products and services of Subway to be of extremely high quality and the majority of them were happy with the brand. However, some of the customers also complained about some lack of quality in the products and services due to which they were unhappy about the quality control and management at Subway. Thus, in such a situation, the quality department and management needed to intervene into those issues and try to find out the issues and sort them out. Finally, the recommendations have been offered to the Subway management such that they can improve the quality of the products and services further such that such quality issues do not emerge in any of the outlets in future and the brand is able to gain a competitive edge in the industry among the rivals. 

Introduction and problem statement: 

Background of Organization:

Subway is one of the largest privately owned American restaurant chains. It has been successfully accomplishing its business since its inception. The company has been started with the idea of commencing a submarine sandwich seller when its owner Fred DeLuca was searching for an option to gather money for his education. The idea has been generated in 1965. Dr. Peter Buck who has been a friend of Fred gave him loan and both they initiated the business in a partnership. The idea has brought a revolution in the industry of the fast food. The initial store has been opened in the year 1965 at Bridgeport, Connecticut. The company has started its journey with the brand name Pete’s Subway. The partners have the dream and objective of opening similar 32 stores in the next 10 years. The company aimed at providing quality wise the best foods to the customers at lowest prices so that everybody could afford it. The owners of the business kept the operating costs lower and they found attractive locations for their stores. The company has been inclined towards serving the customer base since its inception. The company has always been committed towards the production of well made foods of highest quality in the market. Within 1974 the company has been able to open almost 16 shops of sandwiches in Connecticut. The owners realized that they had to go for franchising to achieve their dream of opening 32 outlets in 10 years. Then the brand of Subway has been launched and with its remarkable growth and development strategies that company is now located in almost every nation across the globe. In Australia the company has almost more than 1350 outlets (subway, 2018). 

Scope of Research:

Subway is one of the leading brands in the international market where the customer care and maintenance of quality of the deliverables has been top most priority. In its marketing strategies it always focuses on the freshness of the ingredients and the ultimate final deliverables. The company has been dedicated towards the healthy food items with natural ingredients and making the foods free from artificial ingredients and calories. The quality of the foods is directly related to the health of the customers. Hence it is very important that the company maintains the quality of the foods to be competitive in the market and to accomplish its objective of being the healthiest option in the fast food industry. The research has been conducted to analyze the importance of retaining the quality standards of the foods in the fast food industry. The study has been done to focus on the constant efforts of the company towards retention of customers’ loyalty (Jayan, 2010). The analysis of the quality measures that the participants of the fast food industry can initiate and maintain is very essential. The research has focused on the issues in the said industry in the light of one of the leading companies and through the various analyses it has been able to come up with the suitable and matching measures that can eliminate the issues. The customer satisfaction is the main purpose of the companies. The quality management leads to the enhancement of the customer satisfaction and also helps the companies to perform as per the expectations of the customer base. The service quality is one of the major areas where the companies have to be competent enough. The service quality is directly related to the enhancement of the customer satisfaction and the ability of the companies in achieving their objectives (Hoang, Igel, & Laosirihongthongc, 2010).

Objectives of the Study:

The aim of the study is to analyze the various facets of quality management in the business organizations and to understand the significance of quality management tools in achieving the sustainability in the long run. The company chosen is Subway because it is one of the most reputed fast food chains in Australia and can conducting the research on Subway will offer valuable information on the quality management issues and resolutions in the current fast food industry in Australia (Bhasin, 2016). 
The objectives of the study are given below:
  • To identify the quality management techniques followed by the modern fast food chains.
  • To determine the ways service quality is related to the customer satisfaction in the fast food section.
  • To identify the importance of quality management.
  • To identify some of the major quality issues in the fast food industry and to determine the feasible and relevant solutions to the issues. 

Problem Statement:

Subway has earned its reputation of being the fresh and quality food providers since a long time. But it has been noticed that there are some of the customers who have complained for the stale odor in the foods and there have been some issues regarding freshness of the foods. Some customers have issues regarding the smell of the foods not being much fresh. The quality management is of utmost importance to any organization belonging to the food industry. Any company in the fast food industry must be able to maintain the quality standards in their deliverables. The quality is the major issue for the companies who are engaged in providing the foods based on perishable ingredients. The foods are directly related to the health of the consumers and hence it is very essential that the standards are maintained. There are many companies like Subway which are also conducting business well but have encountered some issues in respect to the quality of their deliverables. The identification of the root causes of the quality issues is very important (Bucki, 2017). The analysis of the problems can lead to the solutions. The research has been able to highlight the major issues being faced by one of the major brands in the fast food industry and has provided some of the relevant recommendations for the solutions.

Significance of the Study:

The research can be considered to be a significant endeavor for the purpose of understanding the level of quality management that is undertaken by the modern fast food companies in Australia. It is extremely important for the modern fast food chains to ensure that they are offering the best possible quality of food dishes to the customers (Esmaeilpou, Mohamadi, & Rajabi, 2017).The modern generation of customers is extremely quality conscious and health conscious and therefore they need to be offered with the highest possible quality of the food products such that they can enjoy a healthy lifestyle. However, on many occasions some of the fast food chains do not always stick to the health and hygiene norms due to which many if the consumers are having health issues, especially the young children (McCauley, 2018). The problems consist of issues where old and stale food products are often being offered to the consumers though they are supposed to produce the food items fresh regularly. Therefore, this research has helped to identify the quality control and management issues from the perspectives of the fast food organization Subway and also that of the customers of Subway. The research will therefore help the conducting of similar researches on the Australian fast food sector in future and the findings have indicated that there needs to be implementation of effective quality control measures by the organization as there has been some lack of proper quality control and management as revealed by some of the consumers of the brand. Therefore, the intent of the research has been successful and it will help to conduct future extensive research studies on the same domain so that more insight can be gathered on the quality practices observed by the other major fast food chains in the country (SA Health, 2016).

Limitations of the Study:

The research study has some of its inherent limitations. One of the major drawbacks of the study was the lack of adequate time and funds to conduct the study on a much larger scale in which the other major fast food chains could have been researched in terms of the quality management processes they are observing. The research has been conducted only on Subway. The inclusion of some of the other big brands in the research will have helped to determine the state of the top brands of fast food chains like McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, etc. in terms of the feedbacks of the customers on their perceived quality of the products those are offered by these brands. The research would have been able to identify some other issues related to quality management which might have been occurring in some of those fast food chains. The other constraint of the research was that it did not consider the quality management techniques and customer satisfaction in respect of the local fast food suppliers as they are also major players in the Australian fast food industry and they also have a very large customer base. So, in order to understand the overall state of quality management in the Australian fast food sector, some of those local brands also need to have been included in the research for better credibility of the findings. 

Theoretical background – Literature review: 

The theoretical background of the said research consisted of gathering valuable knowledge from the various sources of information available over the internet for the purpose of collecting information on the quality management principles and how they are being observed in the fast food sectors all over the world, especially in Australia. Some of the reviewed articles for the purpose of the research have been discussed in this report.
According to Sumaedi and Yarmen (2015), the success of a fast food restaurant depends largely on the level of satisfaction that is derived by the customers from the foods and services of the restaurants. The customers are extremely quality conscious and they will not continue consuming foods from a fast food restaurant that does not offer the food products as per the industry standards in terms of hygiene and quality. Therefore, it is obligatory for the quality managers of the fast food restaurants to ensure that they offer high quality of food products those are according to the norms set by the government and for that they need to implement various quality management techniques. Thus, the implementation of a service quality model is suggested to all the modern fast food chains so that they can follow a set structure for dealing with the quality management issues so that the best possible services can be offered to the consumers and the maximum customer satisfaction is achieved (Sumaedi & Yarmen, 2015).
In the opinion of Aftab, Sarwar, Sultan and Qadeer (2016), the fast food sector has emerged as one of the most profitable business sectors in all the emerging economies of the world. The quality of the food offered and the consistency of professional services are the major determinants of customer satisfaction in this industry. The customers will revisit the fast food chains only when they perceive that they have received value for money products and services from the fast food restaurant. The satisfaction of the customers are dependent on the five major service qualities those they might derive from a fast food restaurant. These five dimensions are Tangibility, Reliability, Empathy, Assurance and Responsiveness. Therefore, in order to ensure growth, profitability and sustainability, the fast food chains must ensure that they offer the highest possible quality of products and services to the consumers. This will enable the majority of the target consumers turn loyal to the brands and the fast food businesses will be able to increase their pool of customers through the repeated purchases of such products and services by the loyal customers and also from the others who have heard about the good reputation of the fast food restaurants through word-of-mouth from the loyalty customers. Thus, the possibility of growth and sustainability depends solely on the quality of the products and services those should be offered to the customers such that the gap between the expected service quality and the perceived service quality is the minimum (Aftab, Sarwar, Sultan, & Qadeer, 2016).
In the opinion of Kanyan, Ngana, & HoVoon (2016), it is very important that the fast food organizations are much responsive to the quality requirements of the deliverables. The customer satisfaction is one of the major lookouts of the companies in the fast food industry. The companies should try to leverage the satisfaction of the customers through the services they render to their customers. There have been many studies undertaken to understand the issues and their causes regarding the quality norms of the companies. The research has identified that the quality related issues in the companies in the fast food industry are mainly because of the lack of proper quality measures taken in the domain of people, materials, environments and procedures they undertake to accomplish their targets. The customer service can be enhanced through the increase in the operation management practices of the companies. The services can be made quality wise best if the service operations of the company are improved. The quality management is one of the main aspects that have been considered to be of utmost importance for the organizations which are quite responsive to the enhancement of the customers’ satisfaction. The research has also revealed that the companies can implement Quality Function Development that will help them in identifying the ways of satisfying the customers and the areas where the companies need to give further efforts to make the quality best in class. The companies can also implement tools and techniques of TQM and process focus which enhances the interaction between the restaurants and their customers (Kanyan, Ngana, & HoVoon, 2016). 

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                                                To be continued . . . 

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