Service Design is the activity of planning and organizing people, infrastructure, communication and material components of a service to improve its quality and the interaction between service provider and customers(Wikipedia, 2013). The aim is to design products or establishments to fit the needs of customers so that it is more friendlier and familiar towards the customer, thus, allowing the company or establishment to have a competitive edge against its competitors. Current trends suggests that firms are now competing through design and not price. In UK businesses where design is integral to operations, 84 per cent say they’ve increased their competitiveness through design; and 79 per cent think that design’s importance to competitiveness has risen over the past decade (Design Council,2005). Service design plays one of the major roles in shaping the customers' perception of a firm's image, thus it should not be taken lightly. A few examples of environmental factors would be music, colour, scent and even the uniforms of service workers can easily affect customers subconsciously. Service design can be both tangible and intangible.
The design, overall environment and layout of an establishment plays a very important role in determining the establishments' success. Companies that invest in their design capability and develop a reputation for innovation can avoid competing on price alone (Department of Trade and Industry, 2005). Of course, this is only one of the factors in determining the success of the establishment.
The chosen service providers are McDonalds and Subway. Both are foodservice providers, however they both are quite different if examined closely. These establishments are chosen because they are both very famous companies that are recognized globally, however, the chosen samples will only be from North America because there are too many variants of the establishments around the world.
Service 1: McDonalds
McDonalds is one of the largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants in the world. It began in 1940, where brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald opened a restaurant. They innovated the "Speedee Service System" where customers were served in a fast and quick manner. They primarily serve burgers, fried chicken, French fries, breakfast items, soft drinks, desserts and many more, depending on the region.
McDonalds and critical analysis of its exterior facilities
McDonalds has changed its architectural style over the years, however perhaps the most important symbol for the company is their signature Golden Arches (See Appendix 2). This is unique as no other companies have these Golden Arches anywhere and it can be seen from far away as the symbol is usually perched on top of a very tall pole (See Appendix 3).McDonalds now features a very modern looking building that is painted with a modern black finish with red accents and hints of wooden planks (See Appendix 4). This would be because black makes one feel sophisticated (Jerdee, 1995) mirroring the modern lifestyle of many people nowadays. However, no matter how much they change the design of the building, their signature "Golden Arches" must be incorporated somewhere into the architecture because symbols like brand logos are more than “mere labels” for branded products; they serve as “visual shorthand” for communicating a brand message and promise to consumers (Selame 1988). Even the roofs are being replaced with flatter more conventional ones as compared to bright red roofs of past.
McDonalds and critical analysis of its General interior
The interior designs of McDonalds restaurants are more upscale and stylish than it ever was. The colour scheme in most McDonalds restaurants nowadays offer rich coffee tones in a calming atmosphere with accents of bright colours such as red and yellow, in lieu of the company's image. This was also done because McDonalds has recently added their new McCafe line which serves coffee and cakes (See appendix 6). The colour scheme also helps the company as is symbolizes home, warmth and stability. This makes customers feel more comfortable at the establishment and would relax, creating a very laid back atmosphere comparable to Starbucks or Coffee Bean. They have not, however, done away with the colour red in the restaurants (see appendix 7) as it is proven that the colour red stimulates appetite because of its effect on our metabolism (Singh, 2006). The lighting in McDonalds is quite bright however not intrusive. The combination of colours and lighting plays a critical role in influencing the purchase intention of consumers and store patronage (Babin et al. 2005). The company has also decided to add flat-screen TVs, comfortable sofas and chairs, and divide the seating areas into eating zones that cater to larger groups, eat-and-run customers and folks who want to stay and lounge into their restaurants. Even the music that is being played in the restaurant is of a soothing genre. All these elements play a part in attracting customers as they provide a platform for people to stay longer in the premise, because longer stays contribute to the purchase of larger meals, more coffee, or desserts and; therefore, resulting in a much larger profit (Singh, 2006).
McDonalds and critical analysis of its Store Layout
Over the years, McDonalds has perfected their floor plan in such a way that the flow will be very smooth in terms of their customers and their staffs. For this section, a floor plan will be used as an example (See Appendix 8). Firstly, the cash registers are placed in such a way that when the customer enters the restaurant, they will see the cashiers, this makes it easier for customers to place their orders. Then after that they can proceed to the seating area which is in front of the cashier with their food. The kitchen is hidden behind the cashier counters. This is where the preparation of food is done. The kitchen is designed in such a way that the flow is also very smooth, resulting in an increased efficiency. McDonalds has incorporated a "production line" system in the workplace that was pioneered by Henry Ford (see appendix 9). As pictured in appendix 9, it is observed that the production line system is a very efficient way of producing food. Equipments are arranged in such a way that there is no doubling back to the opposite direction, reducing the total amount of time needed for the food to get to the customer.
McDonalds and critical analysis of its Interior Displays