Service Quality Gap in Restaurants

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Under the Guidance of Dr. Ashutosh Mohan

Prachi Prabha Chauhan(31)
Jitendra Singh(19)
MBA-IB (2010-2012)


The restaurant industry is a demanding sector that stresses the provision of high-level customer service and continuous quality improvement. As lifestyles change and dining out becomes more and more commonplace, customers desire new flavors, comfortable ambience and pleasant memories. What is more, they prefer an excellent overall dining experience. Dining experience is comprised of both tangible and intangible elements. While tangible elements can easily be improved, the intangible part of restaurant service requires considerable attention. Researchers have noted that the ability to deliver high quality service will provide long-term financial viability and sustainable business success. Hence, restaurants that provide customers with quality services can gain a stronger competitive position in today’s dynamic marketplace.

Recent studies suggested that organizations should identify targeted customers and develop skills and commitment in order to meet customer expectation and requirements. Those who provide customers with quality services can have a stronger competitive position in today's dynamic marketplace. The hotel and restaurant industry is a demanding sector that stresses the provision of high-level customer service and continuous quality improvement. Like elsewhere, many hotels and restaurants in Hong Kong have been facing keen competition locally and abroad and have been struggling for survival. According to the statistics of the Hong Kong Tourist Association (2000), Hong Kong has been experiencing a continual drop in the average capita expenditure by each visitor since 1996. There has been a pressing need to encourage local consumption and attract the arrival of visitors.

Quality is fitness to use and the conformance to specifications and requirements. Performance, features, conformance, aesthetics, reliability, durability, serviceability, and perceived quality are regarded as the common attributes of service quality, a five-dimension framework of service quality that encompasses tangibles, reliability, responsiveness, assurance and empathy to analyze service quality. Besides, there are six elements in recognizing the perceived value of customer services. The expectation of prices, value and satisfaction would often determine a customer's decisions of a product or service. A service itself should fulfill the requirements of both internal and external customers and through continuous improvement of the process to achieve productivity and quality excellence.

The performance of the process characteristics will drive the quality characteristics. Whether a service meets customer expectation is often subjectively judged. It is thus important for service providers to integrate customer expectations into a quality improvement process, and to consider the cause-and-effect relationship among the results of these measures.

The delivery of quality services is not only concerned with the nature of services, but also with the organizational wide commitment and involvement. The determinants of service quality are complicated with the dynamic business environments. Despite the governance of laws and regulations (e.g. truth-in-menu laws, laws requiring non-smoking sections in public dining areas, sanitary regulations, third-party liability, liquor and other relevant laws), there are several other factors that may determine the modes of operation and the quality management practices in restaurants. For instance, people not only buy meals, but also buy their experiences (e.g. fun, service, ambience, entertainment and memories) in restaurants. The marketing-mix concepts for the design and planning of restaurant services address the place, the products and services offered, the prices...
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