- restaurants, performance management systems, working practices, Delphi method, human resource management
Purpose– The objective of this research is to conduct an exploratory study that will gain consensus among restaurant industry professionals, academics and outside industry experts on the set of work practice dimensions in a high performance management systems (HPMS) for restaurant managers in the US casual restaurant sector. Design/methodology/approach– An exploratory case study method was employed that used a combination of data collection techniques: interviews for the pilot study, the Delphi method and secondary data collection. Restaurant experts were chosen to consider the components of an HPMS construct for unit management in the US casual restaurant business. Assumptions were made based on a review of strategic human resource management literature, then experts were interviewed and a Delphi was conducted to gain consensus.Findings– The authors find thirteen dimensions of an HPMS, which are common to unit management in US casual restaurants. Three work practices that were not considered relevant dimensions to the casual restaurant industry were removed from the Delphi. This translates into a difference of seven work practices between a manufacturing work system and a restaurant work system, which are either excluded or included in a restaurant work system.Originality/value– Previous strategic human resource management research has dubbed HR work practices “high performance work practices”. With few exceptions these studies have been conducted in contextual settings that do not possess similar operational characteristics to the restaurant service industry. That there are differences in the business models between these industries and hence in the work practices between them is apparent from the results. Additionally, this study was targeted to management in the restaurant industry, not overall employment as the other studies.