Castle’s Family Restaurant Business Plan: Stage III

Castle Restaurants Business Plan — Stage III

Castle’s Family Restaurant Business Plan: Stage III


Company Review

Business Analysis

HRIS Type/Comparison

HRIS Recommendation

Steven Covey has proved to be the catalyst for many a job redesign (Covey, et al., 1994). Covey’s emphasis on focusing on important tasks has contributed to the ability of operations managers to critically assess how they spend their time and energy, as well as shedding light on how those supervised by operations managers spend their time and energy (Covey, et al. 1994). Castle Restaurants has taken a hard look at how the chain can continue to grow market share and remain competitive in the current market.

A healthy number of our competitors in the restaurant sector, such as Darden Restaurants, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, and Longhorn Steakhouse, are posting earnings ahead of analyst expectations. But Castle Restaurants are mindful that those earnings were are down from one year ago, and that we must take up a new initiative to differentiate ourselves from the competition and identify ways to add value for our customers.

The research we completed indicates that job redesigns must inevitably take place and that the position that promises the most overall corporate gain is that of the operations manager. In order to provide the space for the operations manager at Castle Restaurants to perform his work more strategically, the company will convert many of the manual tasks now being performed by the operations manager to a web-based environment. Human resource tasks will be completed using a digital platform that has achieved the industry’s highest ratings and has been installed more times than any of its competitors.


Operations management has undergone a shift in the last few decades, moving from primarily manual tasks to an increasing percentage of the work related to human resources being performed online in digital environments and an ever growing base of support through digital automation and database integration. Contemporary job redesign of operations management positions requires a comprehensive and deep analysis of the tasks, duties, and responsibilities in light of a multi-stage conversion to digital platforms. The business plan for Castle Family Restaurants provides an outline of the research conducted to select appropriate HRIS and HRMS platforms for a conversion of operations management. This conversion is a necessary step toward ensuring that Castle Family Restaurants be positioned to grow market share and increase revenue in this competitive market. The business plan details market considerations, fundamental research designed to assess operations management tasks and to identify vendors offering products that are a good match to the job redesign plan, to provide detailed support for vendor choice, and — finally — explicitly identify anticipated benefits of the conversion as outlined in the business plan.

Company Review

The chain restaurant business falls under the industry sector category of In the present market, company issue and challenges have been compounded enabling investors to see beyond cyclicality (Yahoo! Finance, 2011). Structural weaknesses in the sector have been underscored by cyclicality, however, and management teams are focused on making corrections (Yahoo! Finance, 2011). Restaurants have focused on expansion, often over-expanding, growth of high expenses, and issues with their less developed infrastructures and system (Yahoo! Finance, 2011). The restaurant sector is highly differentiated, making it incumbent on restaurant chains to signal their differentiation and identify value for customers (Yahoo! Finance, 2011).

In order to combat the cyclical headwinds, restaurants are taking a hard look at their infrastructure and service systems (Yahoo! Finance, 2011). For instance, the trend is toward team service at the front end in which waiters are given more leeway to personalize service and are assuming more responsibility for their patrons at their tables (Yahoo! Finance, 2011). Operations managers are investigating incentives to be sure that the new approaches are made more salient to wait staff and serving staff (Yahoo! Finance, 2011). The goals are to provide better compensation and better service — which is likely to result in increased and better tipping, as well as ensuring a good rate of table turn (Yahoo! Finance, 2011). In some restaurants, these new approaches to team service are resulting in removal of bussers, and their associated expense (Yahoo! Finance, 2011). Across the board, restaurants are exploring these new configurations that result in loss of labor at both the front and back ends — in the kitchen and prep work (Yahoo! Finance, 2011). What this means for operations management is that competition for really good employees is up, and that translates into increased time spent on human resource tasks and activities by operations management (Yahoo! Finance, 2011).

Restaurant chains like Darden Restaurants, the Olive Garden, Red Lobster, and Longhorn Steakhouse all posted earnings ahead of analyst expectations, but those earnings were also down from one year ago (Motley Fool, 2011). The restaurant industry’s recovery virtually halted his quarter, in effect, reversing what has been a three-quarter trend that began in the previous year (Motley Fool, 2011). Visits to restaurants fell .04% from last year, presumably impacted by continuing elevated unemployment rates, low consumer confidence, high energy prices — people are just less willing to eat out (Motley Fool, 2011). Many restaurant chains appear to be navigating through the depressed dine-out rate, through the recession, and are showing strong same-store sales, and strong revenue growth (Motley Fool, 2011).

Business Analysis

Castle Family Restaurants chain is dispersed across eight locations which places a demand on management to accommodate travel time as well as accomplish the human resource and management objectives identified for each location. One of the primary goals of this conversion to a human resources technical solution is to reduce travel time and maximize on-site time. From the research conducted by the consultant team, it is apparent that a key element of a successful redesign of management duties will include conversion of time-consuming manual tasks to digital, online, and web-based formats.

An added advantage of the conversion of manual tasks to digital platforms is that the ability of an operations manager to maintain appropriate levels of visibility across all of the chain’s locations will be substantially enhanced. In addition, by reducing the demand to conduct multiple tasks that compete for management time on site, an operations manager will find that the time on-site is sufficiently relaxed that capacity for analysis and thoughtful oversight will be facilitated. Not only will the operations manager benefit from more efficient use of his time, but the quality of on-site interactions will be positively impacted, which is anticipated to result in improved utilization of human capital. These quality changes have been shown in other similar business situations to positively impact recruitment, hiring, supervision, performance evaluation, compensation, and revenue. The consultants agree that removing unnecessary distraction and reducing the burden of quotidian tasks will contribute to a vantage point that permits the operations manager to contribute trenchant oversight and delve deeply into issues that require his expertise and not just his time and attention. Management literature and leadership literature, such as the work of Steven Covey, has helped to make those distinctions clear, and we seek application of the theory in the operations management work at Castel Restaurants.

Operations management encompasses a range of duties and responsibilities. Each week, there are human resource tasks to complete, such as payroll and benefits, staff scheduling, recruiting, hiring, and arranging for training of staff, certifications such as CPR, first aid, and food handler’s cards. The operations manager must also be available to answering employees’ questions and discuss performance. We believe the Sage Abra HRIS and HRMS system will provide just the support the operations manager needs in order to optimize his time and expertise, while completing the myriad tasks and duties that ensure Castle Family Restaurants are operating smoothly and profitably.

HRIS Type/Comparison

Attributes and Capacity of Sage Abra HRIS & HRMS

Sage Abra HRIS and HRMS was designed for businesses that have 100 to more than 2000 employees — with 300 to 340 employees, Castle Family Restaurants falls within that range. The Sage Abra system provides a complete payroll suite, including integrated time collection and attendance records. In addition, Sage Abra includes components for the scheduling of training and tracking of certifications, online training modules, recruiting, performance management and compensation. The program includes employee self-service options for benefits information, and provisions are embedded for benefit open enrollment periods. Communication with employees at remote sites is facilitated through Sage Abra’s email alert system, and the capability to use the system for conventional platforms for intranet and email.

Benefits of HRIS to Operations Management

Automation of routine tasks and — because of the web-based platforms — the ability for Mr. Morgan to work at any of the restaurant locations will result in substantial resource savings, both in time and money. Further, once the various systems have been set up to reflect Castle’s Family Restaurants recordkeeping needs, data will be integrated and year-to-year transitions will be simplified.

Vendor Selection Criteria

An impressive number of HRIS vendors advertise online, and the numbers are growing. Two of the most important criteria to consider when choosing HRIS vendors are number of years in business and the number of installs of the software. Because the HRIS and the HRMS software is complex — and the training can be demanding — a new company may be slow to become fully functional. A host vendor system must be the primary data source for the major functional divisions of the company. For example, all human resources data should be available on an HRMS system. Although the software is complex, the criteria for selecting vendors are simple: Ease of use, facilitates communication and collaboration, accurate reporting, and quick set up time. In addition, use of the HRIS and HRMS systems translates into the elimination of errors and duplicate data entry, less paperwork due to shared databases, consolidated reporting.

Technical Specifications of Sage Abra HRMS

Delphia Consulting is the creator and publisher of HR Actions v10.0, which streamlines the collection and approval of employee information on the web for Sage Abra HRMS. HR Actions is compatible with Sage Abra HRMS versions: Abra Suite 7.8, Abra Suite 9.0, Abra SQL 8.5, and Abra SQL 10.0. The basic Abra HR module is required for HR Actions functionality. Enhanced modules include Abra Payroll, Abra Attendance, and Abra ESS. Delphia Consulting is a leading national provider of Sage Abra HRMS. The advantages of working with Delphia include the many applications that support HR professionals and managers, marketing websites optimized for each engines, social media support, and intranets and web portals to connect staff to company sites. Sage Abra has 10,000 installs, has been in business for 17 years, and functions on Windows and SQL platforms.

Vendor Comparisons

For comparison, competitors were reviewed but found inferior to Delphia. One example is BambooHR which has 500 install. BambooHR is a low-end, affordable product for SMEs that promises to greatly reduce the complexity and expense of accomplishing HR duties. The company is a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution that tends to create many iterations depending on the immediate needs of clients. The company has only been in business for three years.

HRIS Vendor Recommendation

Recommendation Rationale

We recommend Sage Abra HRIS and HRMS software because of several evident advantages. Sage Abra is only sold through a network of partners that are certified to sell Sage Abra products. These business partners of Sage provide expertise in technology implementation, human resources, and payroll. With a Sage business partner, our clients can experience a comprehensive vendor relationship. Sage business partners conduct needs analysis, implementation, and design that can be customized to meet changing needs. Further, Sage will help identify development partners who can offer additional capabilities for future modifications to meet unforeseen needs. Further, the solutions that have been endorsed by their business and development partners meet Sage’s rigorous criteria and have been specially selected by Sage Abra.


BambooHR Retrieved

Covey, S., Merrill, A.R., Merrill, R.R. (1994). First things first: To live, to love, to learn, to leave a legacy. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.

Duprey, R. (2011, October 10). You’re Not the Only One Buying Here. The Motley Fool. Retrieved

Sage Abra HRMS Retrieved

Sage Abra HRIS and HRMS Retrieved

The Wall Street Transcript, Restaurant Sector Stock, Yahoo! Finance. Retrieved


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