© Centre for Promoting Ideas, USA
Consumers’ Purchase Intentions in Fast Food Restaurants: An Empirical Study on Undergraduate Students Huam Hon Tat * Seng Sook-Min Thoo Ai-Chin Amran Rasli Abu Bakar Abd Hamid Department of Management Faculty of Management and Human Resource Development Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 81310 UTM Skudai, Johor, Malaysia Phone: +607-5531816, E-mail: email@example.com,* Abstract The fast food industry in Malaysia is facing increasingly competitive challenges as with other industries around the world. The purpose of this study was to identify the key determinants of customer satisfaction in fast food outlets and the current perceived service quality level amongst undergraduate students in a public university in Malaysia. Besides, this study was aimed at identifying the significant relationships between customer satisfaction and customers purchase intentions. Questionnaires were distributed to 380 undergraduate students in the university where 358 (94.21%) students responded to the survey. Among the five dimensions tested, assurance was found to be the strongest determinant of customer satisfaction towards fast food restaurants (FFRs), followed by responsiveness, reliability, tangibility and empathy. The results also supported the contention that customer satisfaction can lead to customer purchase intentions. Recommendations to FFRs and discussions for future studies are also provided. Keywords: Service quality, Customer satisfaction, Purchase intentions, Undergraduate students, Fast food restaurants (FFRs)
Service quality is one of the vital determinants of customer satisfaction and it will directly affect the organizational success especially in the service industry such as fast food restaurants (FFRs). Nowadays, almost all the FFRs focus on several ways to increase their service quality in order to increase the level of satisfaction among their customers and thus increase their purchase intentions as well as loyalty (Qin & Prybutok, 2008; Gillbert, Veloutsou, Goode, & Moutinho, 2004; Kara, Kaynak, & Kucukemiroglu, 1995). When FFRs are able to achieve or exceed the expectations of customers, the customer will be satisfied with the service. For instance, McDonald’s, KFC and Pizza Hut are striving hard to offer superior and unique service to their customers. Therefore, service quality measurement has to be done frequently and in a timely manner to obtain an accurate current level of service quality provided by the fast food industry in order to increase the customer satisfaction as well as to encourage the customer purchase intentions towards the restaurants (Gilbert et al., 2004). Customer satisfaction is the individual’s perception of the performance of the product or service in relation to his or her expectations. The concept of customer satisfaction is a function of customer expectations. A customer whose experience falls below expectations (e.g. a limited beverage list at an expensive restaurant or cold chicken served at a KFC) will be dissatisfied. Diners whose experiences match expectations will be satisfied; customers whose expectations are exceeded (e.g. by small samples of delicious food “from the Chef” served between courses at an expensive restaurant, or a well-designed play area for children at a McDonald’s outlet) will be very satisfied or delighted. Besides, the degree of satisfaction provided by the goods or services of a firm as measured by the number of repeated customers (Leon & Leslie, 2006). As for many mature industries, high quality service is a cornerstone to every successful company to gain competitive advantage. Intense competition and high quality expectation from consumer have forced fast food industry to transform from a product-centric approach to a customer-centric approach. In Malaysia, fast food outlets such as McDonald’s, KFC and Pizza Hut are undergoing dramatic transformations...