Magazine article Journal of Services Research

Exploration of Service Quality Factors in Restaurant Industry: A Study of Selected Restaurants in New Delhi Region

Magazine article Journal of Services Research

Exploration of Service Quality Factors in Restaurant Industry: A Study of Selected Restaurants in New Delhi Region

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

The concept of service quality has emerged as the most important concept pertaining to the marketing of services in the last three dec- ades. The original service quality model called SERVQUAL (Par- asuraman et al., 1988) did not take into consideration the restaurant indus- try and hence DINESERV was conceptualized by Stevens et al. (1995). However, because of contextual and cultural issues various service qual- ity models including SERVQUAL have been criticised on their universal applicability, as market conditions and the consumer perception change with the passage of time. Importantly, because the service quality is per- ceptual in nature, it is likely to vary due to the type of services and also due to cultural differences. Cultural differences hold importance, as they are likely to influence the dining orientations. Additionally, DINESERV has also been exposed to criticism due to its limited applicability in vari- ous contexts. DINESERV constitutes the same five dimensions as that of SERVQUAL to include restaurant services. Absence of restaurant services is one of its shortcomings of SERVQUAL, which although based on four service industries, does not include the restaurant services. Many studies have used DINESERV studies on restaurant service quality. These include the works of Kim et al., (2003, 2009), Markovic et al., (2010), Vanniarajan (2009) and many others. These studies have come up with new and differ- ent factors, as against the DINESERV factors, suggesting the limitation of the DINESERV model.

The present study attempts to refine the work of Vanniarajan (2009) which so far has been the only study in the Indian context focussing on service quality measurement in restaurants. There exists a dearth of schol- arly literature in the Indian context focusing on service quality in restau- rants. The present study provides a fresh insight into the service quality perceptions towards eating out in restaurants in Indian context.

India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, which has shown growth in the services sector rather than manufacturing. The growth of restaurant industry in India is largely due to the presence of variety of cuisines. The liberalization policy of 1991 has opened India to the western cultures, which has resulted in increase of customers who look forward to eating out. People in India are craving for foreign delicacies, which is largely attributed to the growing tourism industry. An example of changing lifestyles can be seen among the youth who have made the fast- food restaurants popular. The modern Indians are giving higher priority to eating out. Service quality is what 24% of the customers look for; while making a decision for eating out. The other factors responsible for eating out include ambience, convenience, enjoyment, social gathering and sta- tus (Anand, 2011).

The growth in the urban areas for the restaurant industry is also at- tributed to affluence, deskbound jobs, dual incomes, independence among youth and paucity of time. The eating out culture in India has transformed to a more global style in the metro cities with consumers ready to pay more for ambience, convenience and experience. In India, socializing with family and friends is strong way to stay connected with its culture. The Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs) are popular among youth, which are understood as popular joint to spend time with friends while the Full Ser- vice Restaurants (FSRs) are known for family gatherings. The changing demographics have strongly influenced the eating habits of the consumers especially in the metro cities and the lifestyle factors are responsible for this change, which are phenomenal (Anand, 2011). Moreover, the restau- rants in metros are delivering services, which are comparable to the ser- vices delivered by restaurants at luxury hotels (Berry, 2008). New types of restaurants, theme-based or otherwise, display high quality of services, making them popular brands. …

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