The case introduction established in 1967, “denn’s fish house” is a

  

Systems Design 

Project Guidelines

1.0) OVERVIEW

Working in teams of two, complete a systems design of the Denn’s Catering Ordering System based on the Case Scenario, System Output (invoice), the existing website (pennsrestaurant.com/catering), and the group question board (that has yet to be created by a class member). 

2.0) TECHNICAL BACKGROUND

The Design Thinking Process seeks to Understand, Explore, and Materialize. We adopted this framework during our the Analysis of this system, but substituted the human context of Design Thinking with the system analytical methods of process and data modelling. With the conclusion of the Analysis phase in our System Development Methodology, we now shift to the Design phase. The Design Thinking process is aptly suited as a guide for this phase. 

In the previous phase, Analysis, the questions of What is the problem? and Why is it important? were addressed, leading up to the ideation step of How do we solve it? The Analysis Phase of the SDLC and the Empathize, Define, and Ideate steps of the Design Thinking Process help to narrow the focus, or the scope of our solution. The next step in the Design Thinking Process is to Prototype, or, address the question of How do we create it? Traditional Systems Development Methodology approaches (e.g., the SDLC) stipulate designing databases, forms and reports, dialogues and interfaces, and general system architectures such as distributed and internet-systems. 

2.1) The Agile System Development Methodology is a alternative to the SDLC that is both newer and arguably more congruent with current information technologies (i.e., service-oriented architectures). The Manifesto for Agile Software Development (http://agilemanifesto.org) outlines values of this approaches along with 12 guiding principles. Valacich and George (2017) discuss both Agile (p. 17) and an offshoot, Agile Usage-Centered Design (p. 171). Notice the shift from documentation and process to “…user roles, user goals, and the tasks necessary to achieve those goals” (p. 171), and the reliance on paper-and-pencil prototypes. 

2.2) Test-Driven Development is an approach that works in conjunction with the Agile Methodology. This approach stipulates that a test is first written that fails and then the system is developed until that test is passed. This approach is useful for targeted design versus defining seemingly endless system requirements. 

2.3) The System Development Environment is inclusive of many approaches and the adoption of a newer approach does not preclude the consideration of traditional approaches. In other words, concepts of the SDLC, the Design Phase, and specific design tools such as wireframes should not be discounted. 

Note: This is a strong hint that specific terms and concepts from your textbook should be included in the introductions to each section of your submission. 

3.0) PROJECT REQUIREMENTS 

Prepare a document (or documents) that report a System Design for Denn’s Catering Ordering System based on the following scope:

Focus on low-revenue, high-maintenance customer interactions: new, individual, customers. 

Focus on standard, repetitive process; those lend themselves best to being codified into a IT-based system.

Design a mobile-friendly web-based system.

Incorporate features of notification/confirmation, and self-service

Your document should include the following:

A clear and descriptive title. Do not use a title such as Project Analysis, or Assignment One. Your title can be long & use a subtitle for a meaningful description. 

All pertinent identifying information: name, class details, date.

Clearly numbered and labeled sections of the paper. 

Introductions to each section (do not just start with your list) that include reference and explanation to any pertinent technical concepts. 

Boldface any and all technical terms.

Include page numbers

3.1) Introduction

Write an introduction that clearly states your design approach and defines all technical terminology. Include a recap of the Analysis phase and overview of the Design phase. Finish the introduction with a problem statement in the context of the case: Consider beginning, “The purpose of this systems design is…” and then describing what you are creating. 

3.2) User Stories, System Tests

Following the templates for Agile user stories and test-driven development tests write both user stories and system tests for the newly designed Denn’s system. Any test written should be replete with step-by-step instructions.The stories and tests should reflect the narrow-focus of the project scope in Section 3.0. 

3.3) System Prototyping 

Using techniques of Agile, devise the documentation for a System Prototype that clearly communicates the functionality of your designed system. 

3.4) Strategy for Managing the System 

Upon completing your Design prototype, switch from your role as a systems designer to a managerial perspective. Consider how the new system will be managed. Now that it is web-based, what data are available for reporting and analyzing? What are the critical success factors, key performance indicators, routine reports, and metrics that a manager will need? How will the system support these needs? Lastly, consider higher-order levels of system (such as big data, predictive analytics, and artificial intelligence) and how these may be applied to the context of the case. 

References

Valacich, J. S., & George, J. F. (2017). Modern systems analysis and design (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Prentice Hall. 

  

The case introduction

Established in 1967, “Denn’s Fish House” is a regional restaurant headquartered in a Southern US City,

with dine-in buffet restaurants and several fast-food franchise locations. Another line of business is their

catering services where they operate four catering trailers from their main restaurant location which is

also co-located with their corporate headquarters. Denn’s service traditional southern dishes – chicken

and fish – mainly fried food or “comfort food” which are cooked with plenty of butter and lard, served in big

portions. Even though their food is not considered to be healthy it is very popular among their loyal

customers and in their target market area.

Dennis, the founder and owner, still comes to work most everyday and is involved in major business

decisions at his age of 74. In the past year, the Denn’s family of stores were split into three legally

separate companies between Dennis and his twin sons, Dan and Matt. Among the reasons of this new

organizational configuration were to remain under a certain size in terms of number of employees (50 full-

time employees or equivalent) to avoid responsibility for paying for employee healthcare under new

federal regulations.

With the split, the sons have had more involvement in the day-to-day operations of the business and are

now more vested in the financial health of the organization. Prior, the business would pay bills for many

family members and extended family members – children, wives, grandchildren, etc. – for things such as

personal vehicles, vacations, cell phones, and so forth. Now that Dan and Matt have their own group of

stores to manage, they have restricted as much non-business related spending to the family members.

Likewise, more family members have taken roles in the management of the business, keeping it “in the

family.”

The restaurants vary in type of store, from dine-in buffet, to stand-alone fast-food dining, and smaller

operations co-located convenient stores/gas stations. In addition to the stores directly owned and

managed by the family, Denn’s licenses franchisees to operate other locations; however, the degree by

which these stores align with and adhere to corporate rules varies with the desire of the franchise owner.

Franchise rules are rarely enforced with even yearly franchise fees remain uncollected.

The catering line of business of Denn’s is vital to the overall health of the business. With four fully self-

contained cooking trailers, Denn’s Catering can serve a minimum of 50 people or upwards of thousands

when hired by large businesses and factories. The catering rigs are pulled to a customer location using

heavy duty trucks about one hour prior to the meal time. A staff of two or three (or more for especially

large events) will set up and cook all the food “hot and fresh” for the customers and set it up in a self-

serve, all-you-can-eat buffet line. Within one hour, a Denn’s Catering crew can feed thousands of hungry

customers. Booking a catering job has many details and decision points for a customer and therefore

requires many communications back and forth with the single company catering scheduler, Rose.

Rose is not a family member of Denn’s but has worked in the corporate office for many years. She is quite

adept at computers and also handles the company’s advertising, billboards, graphics, and digital menus.

When customers call Rose, they have to learn how Denn’s caters. Here are a few of the business rules:

• No travel fee within the city. Additional travel expenses apply for other areas and that cost is non-

taxable.

• 9% sales tax applies on catering jobs unless the customer provides a tax exempt number or letter.

• The minimum for catering is 50 adults

• Denn’s workers arrive about 1 hour before and cook and serve for 1 hour once the meal begins

• Customers may take leftovers if they have their own containers; however, since Denn’s cooks and

serves to meet demand, there is usually not an abundance of food.

• Customers may reduce the cost if they provide their own serving ware or other supplies

• Customers must choose their menu, their sides, and their dessert

• Kids under the age of 10 are charge half price ONLY once the minimum of 50 adults is met

• Denn’s keeps track of the number of guests by counting the number of plates given out. Customers

can either keep their same plate or request a new, clean plate for more food.

• Once the number of guests is finalized (within 48 hours of the event), the customer is responsible for

85% of the number. For example: if the customer says the event is for 100 guests, but less than 85

show up, they still must pay for 85%. After they meet the 85% minimum, they pay for the exact

number of guests, for example 90, 92, or 100. Denn’s is equipped to serve approximately 25 more

guests if more people show up than planned.

• The cost is figured for person: $13.75 per person (plus tax) for the most popular menu.

• Additional add on costs may apply, $0.50 per guest for an additional side item or for extra dessert.

• No tip or gratuity is included and is up to the discretion of the customer

• The event must be paid for in full one day prior for individual customers and shortages or overages

are adjusted afterwards depending on the final count of guests. For returning customers and

businesses, a deposit of 50% is paid upfront and the company is billed after the event.

• Events are booked for customers on a first come, first served basis.

As you may imagine, these rules can be complex for new customers or when the details of the event are

not yet finalized; for example, if the number of guests are not yet known. The booking process can take

many phone calls and emails back-and-forth to clear up all of the details. Typically a customer will contact

Rose with the basic information (date and location) and an approximate number of guests. Rose will then

email a quote with all of the contract information and they can reply and confirm to secure the booking for

the event. In the time leading up to the event, all the details are made and both Denn’s and Rose pride

themselves on high-quality customer service and can be flexible with the menu, process, pricing, and

most any other aspect of the catering experience.

Denn’s Catering is highly-profitable, staying busy and also having the ability to know how many guests

are at each event and then order the right amount of food and supplies, therefore greatly reducing waste.

Additionally, a staff of two or three can handle large crowds at one event and work upwards of eight

events a day.

Denn’s Catering also vends food at one, two-week long very large public festival each year. During this,

Denn’s provides a limited menu of popular items and sells to customers right out of the truck. Unlike usual

catering events, the quantity of food and people and food is unknown; however, these events are so

popular that Denn’s can sell everything it cooks and generate large revenues. These revenues are then

used for many other purposes including the Matt and Dan’s stores that are not part of Dennis’ business

(and even for Dennis’ farm which is totally separate from the business entirely). Essentially, the catering

arm of the Denn’s keeps the rest of the company financially solvent and funds new store openings and

equipment.

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