Moderating roles of customer characteristics on the link between service factors and satisfaction in a buffet restaurant
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AbstractPurpose – In service sector, measuring quality of services is generally acknowledged to be difficult as it involves many psychological features. Hence, identifying the determinants of service quality and linkages with customer satisfaction is a challenging research topic. In this study, the authors take up a research study to address this challenge. The purpose of this paper is to examine the importance of factors influencing customer satisfaction in the context of a Chinese buffet restaurant in the UK. Design/methodology/approach – The authors use a questionnaire based on the SERVQUAL instrument for the purpose. Using exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses, the authors have found that service quality could be grouped into four main factors – service, food, ambience and price. Findings – Using multiple-regression analysis, the authors have found that food is the most significant factor influencing customer satisfaction, followed by price, ambience and service, respectively. Using a multi-group analysis, the authors have found interesting moderating roles of age, gender and annual income on the influence of the four factors on satisfaction: ambience is considered significant by male customers while it is not significant for female customers; the influence of price on satisfaction is much higher for female customers than for male customers; food and service factors are important for younger customers while price is important for older customers; price is important for customers with lower levels of income but not important for high-income customers. Practical implications – These results are useful to restaurant managers in allocating appropriate levels of resources to different factors based on their contributions to customer satisfaction in order to maximize customer satisfaction efficiently and effectively. Originality/value – Analysis and findings of this research are based on the customers’ survey data of a Chinese buffet restaurant in the UK. The authors have found an interesting ranking of the importance of service factors: food followed by price, ambience and service. The results on the moderating role of customer characteristics provide newer insights in the literature on service quality. The research findings can help the hotel management to improve their service levels to attain maximum customer satisfaction.
CitationRamanathan R, Di Y, Ramanathan U (2016) 'Moderating roles of customer characteristics on the link between service factors and satisfaction in a buffet restaurant', Benchmarking, 23 (2), pp.469-486.
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Ltd.