“RUNNING YOUR OWN RESTAURANT”
A STUDENT DATABASE PROJECT
Rose Marie Martin, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
Robert G. Sheridan, RestaurantPlus Corporation
Running Your Own Restaurant is a student database project based on the commercial
point of sale restaurant software developed and marketed by RestaurantPlus
Corporation. The professional software (RPlus) is designed to aid restaurateurs to
better manage costs and enhance profits by implementing an effective computerized
information system. It targets the needs of small restaurants that use single user
workstations or small networks. RPlus is an excellent candidate for a student project
because it is large enough to provide students with “real world” business management
experience without the overwhelming complexity of many of the software packages
currently used by businesses (i.e. MAS 90). It provides an opportunity for our students
to bridge the gap that exists between textbook computer assignments and real world
Running Your Own Restaurant consists of three parts. Part 1 is the software itself. It is
entitled RPlus Academic Software and consists of 14 software modules. (The content
of these modules is listed later in this abstract.) Part 2 is a Student Demonstration
Guide (200+ pages). Part 3 is a Hands-on Exercise and Project Guide.
Running Your Own Restaurant answers the needs of Accounting Information Systems
students to: 1) grasp the “big picture” of business information systems, 2) understand
the flow and effect of individual transactions on the overall accounting system, 3) gain
the experience of running their own business, and 4) become familiar with database
software. The text material and software (written in Microsoft Access 97) provide
supplemental coursework to the Accounting Information Systems class and also a more
basic business course where students could benefit from the simulated experience of
running their own business.
In this project students set up and run the actual restaurant software package. They
can use Running Your Own Restaurant at three skill levels. First, students can use the
software with existing, preloaded data. Second, they can enter data into predesigned
data base tables. Third, students can design their own database structures. Given the
emphasis on the development of critical thinking skills and the idea of the professional
accountant as “business advisor”, this software project presents some unique learning
opportunities for students.
Restaurants are a business students can relate to, (many have worked in restaurants),
and the idea of running their own restaurant is interesting and fun. Students learn that
running even a small business can be complicated with many factors they need to
consider to obtain profitability. We break the software into modules that parallel the
traditional transaction processing cycles found in many Accounting Information Systems
texts. An instructor may utilize the entire project or simply a group of modules,
depending upon desired coverage and time available.
Running Your Own Restaurant provides students with the following learning
Software Implementation Planning
System security concepts
Backup and recovery planning
Data entry concepts
Features and benefits of computerization
Sales business process
Acquisition business process
Inventory business process
Cash flow analysis
The RPlus Academic Software is divided into the following (14) modules:
Time and attendance for payroll
End of period processing
In addition to these modules, the Student Demonstration Guide includes chapters of:
Backup and recovery strategy
Database design project: Students learn to design Tables, Forms, Queries,
Reports, Macros and Menu forms.
Sample software implementation plan
Glossary of terms
Appendices containing set up forms students use to enter data into the
Running Your Own Restaurant produces:
Over 100 standard business reports.
Over 45 database table listings.
Over 20 audit reports, detailing the complete audit trail of given transactions.
In each module students become familiar with and design the documents and reports
they read about in textbooks. They work with sales order tickets, sales invoices,
purchase orders, production orders, recipe cost sheets, labor schedules, stock status
reports, time and attendance reports, costed menu sheets, etc. Students study these
business processes in an isolated fashion in traditional textbook learning. They can
only learn the interactions between business modules by making the business work—by
observing and quantifying the effect one transaction can have on multiple business
processes. Textbooks fall short in their demonstration of the interaction impact of
business events. This interaction ultimately produces the financial picture of the
business. When students run their own restaurant, they see how all transactions
combine to produce the results of the business. They also produce a chronology of
their decisions and an evaluation of the impact their decisions had on overall
Running Your Own Restaurant provides many opportunities for us to improve traditional
textbook education of our accounting students. Students experience first hand many of
the concepts discussed in lecture and the texts we use. They engage in active learning
of the accounting information system. Running Your Own Restaurant is small enough
for students to grasp the “big picture” of the accounting information system, yet large
enough to include all relevant transactions and features.
At this time the RPlus Academic Software and Running Your Own Restaurant—Student
Demonstration Guide are complete. Running Your Own Restaurant—Hands-on
Exercises and Project Guide is currently being developed. The software is easy to use
and we expect that students will be able to proceed after one in class day for project
orientation. For those instructors desiring students to design their own database
structures, more class time could be expected.
Running Your Own Restaurant will be available directly from RestaurantPlus
Corporation at www.restaurantplus.com. It is designed and licensed to run on a single
user PC and may not be installed on a multi-user student network.