04 Aug Operations Strategy of Jersey Mikes Subs Within our process analysis we were able to observe the ins and outs of how Jersey Mikes performs. Jersey Mikes is a franchise wh
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Florida Atlantic University
Process Analysis/Improvement For Jersey Mike’s Subs
Operations Strategy of Jersey Mike’s Subs
Within our process analysis we were able to observe the ins and outs of how Jersey Mike’s
performs. Jersey Mike’s is a franchise whose mission is “To Give”. They focus much of their
marketing and operations strategies around the idea of giving, whether that be giving customers a
memorable experience or raising money for charities. The overall corporate and operations
strategy for Jersey Mike’s Subs is to simply make as many sandwiches custom-to-order in a short
amount of time while still delivering a consistent product and excelling in customer service. A
fast, well-trained staff and quality bread, meats and toppings are all the inputs that Jersey Mike’s
offers to guarantee a profitable business. Jersey Mike’s is known for providing excellent customer
service as well as consistency in their products. They do this by procuring the best materials along
with training employees on the proper way to make each sub so that the execution is consistent
time after time. This helps ensure that employees are knowledgeable and passionate about their
work in the process.
Unlike many other popular chain sub shops, Jersey Mike’s is unique in the way their
corporate culture reflects in the way they operate. For example, investing in high quality products
such as bread, meats, cheeses, and condiments, all while keeping the price relatively low, shows
the customer who Jersey Mike’s is as a corporation. Not only that but also something as simple as
maintaining a clean environment for the customers is crucial to an excellent dining experience.
Jersey Mike’s is a customized sub system. Customers have the choice of having the sub of their
choosing along with their choice of toppings. While having a customizable system has its benefits,
it does affect the system by increasing wait times and delaying the process to get through to entire
system. Although it can be time consuming, keeping the system customizable is important to
Jersey Mike’s because their main focus is giving and they make customers wants and needs a
Process Selection/Facility Layout
Upon entering Jersey Mike’s, a combination of low top and high top tables and chairs are
placed around the dining area. A medium height wall blocks off the dining area from the assembly
line where the subs are made. In the point of view of the customers, the assembly line goes from
right to left. There are three to five workers assigned to a station creating the customer’s sub during
the main hours of operation. These stations will be explained in more detail below however to get
a brief idea, the steps are as follows: ordering, sprinkling, wrapping, and register. During rush
hour, such as during lunch on weekdays, there are no less than five employees on shift.
Occasionally there is an additional worker placed in front of the meat case to hand the slicer meats
and cheeses to speed up the process. The glass windows allow customers to see the complete
process of how their sub is prepared. This allows for the customer to make changes to their order
if needed while observing the process.
The customer begins at the ordering station where the employee writes down the
customer’s order by hand, repeating the order back to the customer to ensure its correct. The slicer
then hands one copy to the customer to give to the person at the register. Then the employee at the
slicer slices out the cheese and meat for each sub. The sub then gets moved over to the sprinkling
station where the customer chooses which toppings they would like. In the completion of making
the sub, the worker then cuts and wraps the sub in the Jersey Mike’s customized paper. If the
customer wants to eat the sandwich in the dining area, the sub is handed to them after being
wrapped, if the customer chooses to take it to-go, the sub is placed in a to-go bag. The customer
presents the copy of their order that was given to them when they placed the order, to the employee
at the register to then pay their total for the meal. If the customer asks for a drink or chips, they
would grab them as they leave the line.
As shown in the image to the
left, Jersey Mike's layout is in a
sequential order having each station
located right next to each other. This
is found in many fast food dine-ins
like Chipotle, Fresh Kitchen, Panera,
etc. Having each workstation next to
each other is not only beneficial for
customers being that they only have
to be in one line throughout the process, but also for the employees since they only have to be at
one station consistently. This system allows the process to flow from one to the next with ease.
The benefits of having the sprinkling station where it is, is that the menu is placed directly above
it. The menu shows the recommended toppings known as “Mike’s Way” listed where it is easily
visible. The more customers that ask for their subs Mike’s Way, makes the line flow smoother
allowing for employees to easily move from one sub to the next.
Although there are many advantages to Jersey Mike’s assembly line layout, there are some
disadvantages as well. One being that there is more than one entrance into the store and this has
the potential to cause more confusion on where the line starts. Multiple entrances only adds to the
already unfamiliar layout that Jersey Mike’s has being that in many fast dining restaurants, the
customer starts the process by ordering at the register and paying first. Another disadvantage of
the layout is that the “order here” sign is very small and is often ignored due to its size, this leads
to lines forming from multiple directions and slowing down the process further. We have come up
with possible improvements to the layout, which will be discussed in more detail in a later section.
Process Flow Diagram for Jersey Mike’s Subs
Description of Each Station Station 1 (Slicer/Order taker)
Station 2 (Sprinkler (applying the toppings))
Station 3 (Wrapper)
Station 4 (Register)
Station 5 (Customer filling up drink)
Task Completion time: 1 min 25 sec. 20 sec. (WIP) 45 sec. 10 sec. Workstation Capacity:
=60 cust/hr =143 cust/hr =182 cust/hr =80 cust/hr =353 cust/hr
System throughput time: 2 minutes and 27 seconds
Maximum system capacity (capacity at bottleneck): 60 customers/hour
System cycle time (bottleneck time): 1 minute
When doing calculations of the process, we had measured each station along with the entire
system in seconds, we believed that converting seconds to minutes when calculating workstation
capacities gave us a better outlook on measuring the system. The throughput time we calculated
was 2 minutes and 27 seconds. Once we converted seconds to minutes we were able to get the
workstation capacity calculations. The first station is recognized as ordering/slicing. Station 2 is
known as the sprinkling station, station 3 is wrapping, station 4 is the register and their last station
is the fountain drink area. Workstation capacity for stations 1-5 as listed: (Station 1) 60 customers
per hour, (Station 2) 143 customers per hour, (Station 3) 182 customers per hour, (Station 4) 80
customers per hour, and (Station 5) 353 customers per hour. The capacity at the constraint would
be the maximum system capacity. This calculation is the capacity at the bottleneck which in this
case is station 1, ordering and slicing. Besides the calculations proving this station was the
bottleneck limiting the system's capacity, we could tell it was restricting the process while
observing it. Having one person taking orders, writing them out on receipt paper and having that
same person make the order (i.e., slicing meats, cheese, etc.), we knew it was a station that should
have two employees. This really restricts the opportunity for a shorter throughput time since this
station takes the longest amount of time. The store’s maximum output is the capacity at the
bottleneck which is 60 customers per hour being that it sets the pace for the rest of the stations.
The system cycle time in our calculations is the time at the bottleneck at 1 minute per customer.
While taking a careful look at the process, with an additional 30 minutes set on just
observing the process without calculations, we learned it was dependent on the time of day as well
as the specific day. We got the chance to visit one weekday and one weekend day. Noticing that
weekdays were busier especially around lunchtime being that much of the workforce is on lunch
breaks, we got to experience a different atmosphere than a weekend lunch visit. During the
weekday visit there were about 20 customers that went through the line during the 30 minutes
observed. Three of the customer got more than one sub so it slowed the process down but once
they got through the system, it was back on track. On the weekend, we visited shortly after lunch
and only saw around 9 people come in and out of the store. As we knew it would be slower, we
got to see a different process by viewing both days. Only having a few customers in the shop,
employees were more likely to take their time with each customer engaging in small talk which
made each station completion time extended. With a slower day employees were also putting more
work into making each station cleaner for the next customers which made actual output from
employees increase but a decrease in output from customers since there were so few. We believe
the output each day varies at Jersey Mike’s depending on the convenience and type of day it is that
customers would be more likely to come in.
Maintaining quality in a business is key to having loyal customers that actively come into
the store. When a customer gets the same high quality sub every time they come in, they will
continue to expect it. Keeping up with the expected quality is what keeps Jersey Mikes in business.
When someone orders their most popular sub which is the Italian, Mikes Way, they are expecting
it to have the same great taste every time. In order to obtain this consistency, quality control plays
a large role. In observing Jersey Mikes’ process, we knew we would need more insight on how
they keep up with the expectations. In finding more insight on the back end of the company, we
interviewed the manager, Alexis Pein. Pein gave us the rundown on what steps they take for tasks
that are vital for daily operations.
The process of opening the store is what can make or break their day so it is very important
that it is not only done correctly but also in a timely manner. With the use of checklists, the
employees are able to keep track of what tasks they have or have not completed allowing for a
much more organized shift. These checklists are used for opening, lunch and closing shifts and are
expected to be filled out daily to prevent employees from becoming forgetful. The checklists are
in chronological order. Pein made it clear that the process of baking the bread is one of the most
important parts of the process because it is what customers love so much about the sub and what
differentiates them from their competition. Therefore this process is done first to ensure that the
bread is ready to be served at 10am sharp when they open. They then slice the onions, lettuce and
tomatoes fresh daily, along with cooking the bacon and brewing tea. There are many more steps
that are taken to fully open the store however, the steps mentioned above are what take up most of
the openers time in the morning. They use their Point of Sale (POS) system that offers a daily
production report to determine how much bread to bake and how much produce to prep. However,
they typically prep the same amount of bread and produce everyday being that the amount does
not fluctuate excessively from day to day.
The process of closing the store is just as important as opening because it sets the opener
up for how their shift will go, by doing tasks like restocking the chip rack and soda case, cleaning
bathrooms and mopping so that the openers do not have to spend extra time doing so. Employees
who work closing shifts focus on cleaning up the store and restocking any items necessary for the
next day. One of the most important tasks of the closing shift is ensuring that the cash drawer is
even with the POS system’s numbers. This is monitored through the use of cash reconciliation
sheets that are filled out throughout the day. These sheets keep track of food waste and the cash
drawer balance. Carefully monitoring the money is imperative to the financial stability of the
business. At the end of the day, keeping the store above inspection standards and offering the same
high quality food is what is, and should be of the company’s biggest concern, implementing quality
control tools such as checklists and cash reconciliation sheets help smoothen the process.
Inventory Management/Supply Chain Management
Managing inventory and being sure that the store is stocked up with the necessary amounts
of each item, is one of the most important parts of what goes on behind the scenes. As far as
allocating inventory goes, Jersey Mikes has a relatively fixed amount that they order each week,
however, they do not order every item weekly. For example, Pein mentioned that they do not need
to purchase things like napkins, straws and paper bags every week because they do not run out as
fast as items like meat, chips or gloves. The person in charge of ordering inventory that week,
typically either the manager or assistant manager, checks off the items that are running low and
adds them to that weeks order. Like most businesses, there are seasonal fluctuations in the amount
of items that should be ordered. Locations near the beach tend to get significantly busier in the
winter when northerners migrate down south, this calls for ordering more items than usual. It is
imperative that these fluctuations are taken into account and that the ordering process is done
correctly. Running out of items can greatly impact the business in a negative way, potentially
causing a loss in customers if it continues to occur.
Being that Jersey Mike’s has both franchise and corporate stores evenly spread throughout
the country, there may be some minor differences in their suppliers, along with the way that each
store runs. According to Pein, franchisee’s, such as the Deerfield Beach location that we observed,
are able to choose a local produce company to order from as long as it meets the general guidelines
that the company implements. Aside from ordering produce from local farms, Jersey Mike’s makes
sure that every store orders through their distribution centers for items such as bread, meat,
condiments or anything with logos on it (i.e., paper bags, wrapping paper, napkins, etc.). This
ensures that the taste of the subs stays consistent from location to location.
As we observed the layout and overall system of Jersey Mike’s, we noticed a few things
about the system that could use some improving. Pein mentioned that often times during the day
if the line is not already formed, many customers do not see the “order here” sign and walk right
up to the register to begin ordering. We think that making the sign bigger and more eye catching
will fix the current confusion that customers have. During the interview with the manager, Alexis
Pein, we asked her if she thought that implementing more technology into the ordering process
would make the system move smoother. Her response was “No, I believe that adding additional
technology will only add additional costs and would not make a big enough difference in the speed
of the process to follow through with”. As any manager should, Pein was more concerned about
how the additional costs of technology would negatively affect profits, showing concern for
elevating the current constraint, which is the ordering/slicing station. Although elevating the
constraint can be very beneficial, Pein seemed to think reducing any extra operating expenses was
more of a priority. However, aside from technological advancements, we believe adding an
employee to the first step in the process, ordering, would alleviate the pressure from the employee
at the slicer. This will allow for the slicing station to be able to just focus on making the subs as
opposed to occasionally waiting for the customer to decide on what to order.
In efforts to exploit the system constraint, we would recommend that the employee that
would originally be wrapping the subs would instead go to the meat case and take orders. The
employee at the sprinkling station would do both topping the subs and wrapping them being that
it takes 20 seconds to wrap and 25 seconds to apply toppings per sub, equaling up to 45 seconds,
which is still less than the current constraint. With this switch in roles, we believe the system will
run a lot faster all while continuing to deliver great subs.
Overall, we have found that Jersey Mike’s is a great company that not only has fresh
ingredients but is one that prioritizes the way in which they interact with their customers. Although
there are some inefficiencies in the system, it is one that regardless runs relatively smoothly. There
is always room for growth and after observing the system and interviewing the manager, it is clear
that those working for the company focus heavily on maintaining/controlling quality within the
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