Vera Patrício (firstname.lastname@example.org) Rogério Puga Leal (email@example.com) Faculty of Science and Technology, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal Zulema Lopes Pereira (firstname.lastname@example.org) Faculty of Science and Technology, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal
SERVQUAL is the most popular instrument to ascertain service quality. However, some debate exists about its ability to characterize different service environments. Furthermore, there is not a consensus about the inclusion of customer expectations in the model. The research presented in this paper intends to discuss the applicability of SERVQUAL to restaurant services and to analyze the inclusion of customer expectations in such environment. The research was developed in a Portuguese resort and more than 300 customers, from two different restaurants, were invited to participate in the study.
It has been well recognized the crucial role played by service organizations in developed countries, being quality and corresponding customer satisfaction essential to increase the effectiveness, efficiency and competitiveness of these organizations (Leal and Pereira, 2003). Tourism industry has become not only a driver for economic progress of many countries, of which Portugal is a good example, but also a vehicle to approximate people and cultures. Various policies have been issued and several initiatives aimed at improving tourism quality have also been fostered and implemented by private and public organizations all over the world. Despite these facts, it has been acknowledged both by tourists and public authorities that the level of quality has to be enhanced rapidly in all tourism activities, catering included. Being SERVQUAL the most utilized model in service quality research and applications, it seems interesting to analyze how well the SERVQUAL structure can be applied to restaurant services.
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