For more than half a century now, discrete-event process simulation has repeatedly proved itself a powerful analytical tool for improving many types of commercial and industrial processes. This analytical power is especially highly valued when the operational complexity and/or stochastic variability of the process exceeds the ability of closed-form equations to model it. Historically, simulation first proved its worth, and was most extensively used, in the analysis and improvement of manufacturing operations. More recently, the use of simulation has expanded vigorously and broadly to include warehousing operations, the delivery of health care (hospitals and clinics), transportation services (airlines, railroads, and bus lines), and the hospitality industry (amusement parks, hotels, restaurants, and cruise ships).
In the successful simulation application described in this paper, simulation was used to model, analyze, and improve the staffing levels and operational procedures of a restaurant – unusually, a restaurant which provides only take-out services, with (by business choice) no “dine-in” capacity. The simulation analysis showed the most effective path to correction of insufficient capacity, distressingly long waiting times, and consequent lost sales and revenue.