Classic Computer Magazine Archive CREATIVE COMPUTING VOL. 9, NO. 10 / OCTOBER 1983 / PAGE 272

Purega: a management decision game. John R. Rousselle.

Purega allows the player to be the manager of a 200-seat restaurant. The manager's goal is to maximize profits by properly managing his marketing effort and human resources. He makes up to eight decisions each month dealing with these two aspects of management. In addition, he must decide how much to spend on preventive maintenance.

This game was designed to give students a taste of management decision making, a particularly important and difficult area for management educators to teach. It is currently used by several college hospitality education programs around the country.

After the player has made his decisions, he gets a Sales Summary outlining the success of that month's advertising and promotion. In addition, the summary shows six other things. First, it shows if any sales have accrued this month from the previous month; the amount appears under the Residual heading. Second, the report shows whether any sales have accrued from excess demand in the previous month--Sales Gained By Last Month's Ex Demand. (The restaurant can handle no more than $100,000 per month).

Third, it shows whether any sales lost because of bad will generated from the previous month--Sales Lost Last Month's Turnaway. Bad will exists where there is not enough manpower to handle the demand or the total of excess demand carried over from the previous month totals or $100,000--whichever is lower.

Fourth, the report shows Total Demand generated for the month. Fifth, it shows if more demand is generated than the restaurant can handle, and sixth, it shows whether sales were lost due to insufficient manpower to meet the Total Demand (up to $100,000). It also shows which position caused the problem--waitresses, cooks, dishmen.

Purega next provides the Profit and Loss Statement and a Labor Force at Month's End statement for the month based upon the player's decisions and assumptions within the program. The program also offers the player an opportunity to see year-to-date figures after each month.

Limits are placed on how much training can be given each employee, how much one ca spend on preventive maintenance, advertising, and promotion. These measures, along with the basic assumptions within Purega, are designed to ensure that the results are realistic. Our experience to date suggests that the results of the simulation are consistent with the recent operating results for restaurants of this size.

Although Purega was written for students of hospitality management, the basic concepts are simple enough to be understood by anyone. It may be a nice change of pace after a hard day fighting aliens and slaying dragons. However, the simulation is not a simple one to master.

Most players get fired the first few times they play Purega. (After six months the Board of Directors looks at the profitability of the operation and fires the manager if it is too low.) It is important to note that this is not caused by any tricks hidden in the program. The algorithm is straightforward and will generally yield good results if prudent decisions are made. However, strategic placement of the RND (random number generator) command will prevent the simulation from giving identical results if identical decisions are made throughout the year. This is certainly consistent with the real world of restaurant management.

In its present form, the program will yield identical results if identical decisions are entered. This may be helpful for those who are interested in Purega as an educational tool and who need to be able to explain results to student users. However, recreational users may want to insert RANDOMIZE, or some similar command, somewhere before line 420 to generate unique results for each new year.

The code is written in Basic-Plus to run on a DEC RSTS-E system. Playing the Game

You are the new manager of the Purega Restaurant, an established tableservice restaurant that caters to the middle and upper middle class.

As manager, you are responsible to a Board of Directors that is very concerned with the sales and profitability of the restaurant. They are also very concerned with the human relations aspect of the business, so they will be looking at your turnover rate.

Your specific duties are to make nine decisions each month.

1. Advertising: How much to spend.

2. Promotion: How much to spend.

You may spend as much as you wish on each of these. However, your annual limit is $20,000. Moreover, you should realize that the restaurant has the capacity to handle only $100,000 in sales per month. Therefore, even though you may generate a sales demand of $300,000, your sales can be no more than $100,000. Advertising includes radio, newspaper, and TV. Promotion includes coupons and special prices. Each can affect sales differently each month. Furthermore, although a promotion will affect only one month's sales, advertising expense for one month can affect sales in the next month. This effect is noted as Residual in the monthly report:

3. New waitresses: How many to hire.

4. Waitress training: How many hours of training for each one. Maximum of 16 hours.

5. Cooks: How many to hire.

6. Cook training: How many hours for each one. Maximum of 40 hours.

7. Dishmen (DMO): How many to hire.

8. Dishmen training: How many hours for each one. Maximum of 8 hours.

Sales can also be limited by not having enough trained personnel in each position. Each month you must decide how many new people to hire for each position and how many hours of training to give each one. Training costs are $3.00, $8.00, and $4.65 per hour for each waitress, cook, and dishman respectively. These costs are based on hourly wages of $2.25, $6.00, and $3.50 plus the loss in the training employee's productivity. The new employee works with an experienced employee for the duration of his training. This system reduces the productivity of the trainer by 33%, so that cost must be added to the cost of training.

Obviously, the less experienced a new employee is, the fewer sales he can handle. The maximum sales that can be handled by each trained waitress, cook and dishman are: $4000, $16,000, and $12,000 respectively. This is based on an eight-hour work day, 20-day work month, and $25, $100, $75 sales per hour respectively.

Although a waitress can generate $4,000 per month, this level of productivity requires that she work at 100% of her ability each hour of the day. There is a certain amount of turnover each month. However, the harder she must work, the more likely she is to quit. The same holds for the cooks and dishmen.

Since the waitresses rely on tips, you must be careful not to have too many. If there are too many, their individual tips will be low, and they may quit. Cooks and dishmen are paid by the hour, so this is not a problem for them.

Each time you hire someone there is an administrative cost of $50. Everyone hired must be paid his full wage. Employees may be fired by typing a minus before the number to be terminated when you are asked how many to hire the next month. You will be charged a $50 administrative cost for each fired employee.

9. Preventive Maintenance.

You may spend up to $50 per month on preventive maintenance. This will not guarantee that equipment will not break down, but it may reduce your cost.

The last manager quit and took all of the records. The sales last year averaged about $70,000 per month, and the Board think sales were fairly stable. The Board also thinks that the last manager spent about $700 a month for advertising and promotions, but they are not sure.

You will be paid a salary of $20,000 and receive a bonus of .25% of all sales and 5% of profits. However, you will lose 10% on all sales lost due to lack of manpower.

You have a one-year contract that may be renewed at the discretion of the Board of Directors.