Make Sure Your Service Fulfills Your Restaurant's Promise.
The Center for Hospitality Research
Friday, 23rd February 2007
It goes without saying that restaurants must serve good food but food alone is not enough to satisfy your customers - Restaurant owners must also pay attention to design and to servers' behavior.

A study published in the February 2007 issue of Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly explored the interactions of the three categories of clues that restaurant guests use to judge a restaurant.

Using simulated restaurants, the study told its participants to assume excellent food, and then tested the effects of restaurant ambience and servers' friendliness. Eileen A. Wall and Leonard L. Berry, of Texas A&M University, found that a restaurant's design and ambience have the effect of developing specific customer expectations for the warmth and friendliness of servers. Ideally, these two sets of factors must align.

In a study using simulated restaurants, test subjects saw different combinations of restaurants with warm ambience or poor ambience and friendly service or brusque service. Respondents who saw positive design-related clues rated restaurants most highly when servers were friendly. On the other hand, when the restaurant's design and ambience were viewed negatively, the respondents still thought well of the restaurant if its servers were friendly.

However, a warm, delightful atmosphere could not save the restaurant if its servers were brusque or unfriendly. Thus, Wall and Berry's study underlines the importance of the human element in restaurants.

The article, "The Combined Effects of the Physical Environment and Employee Behavior on Customer Perception of Restaurant Service Quality," by Eileen A. Wall and Leonard L. Berry, is available for view at no charge as the featured article from Cornell's Center for Hospitality Research at http://www.hotelschool.cornell.edu/publications/hraq/feature/

About The Center for Hospitality Research
A unit of the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, The Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) sponsors research designed to improve practices in the hospitality industry. Under the lead of the Center's 54 corporate affiliates, experienced scholars work closely with business executives to discover new insights into strategic, managerial and operating practices. The Center also publishes the award-winning hospitality journal, the Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly. To learn more about CHR and its projects, visit www.chr.cornell.edu .
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