Title page for ETD etd-05192010-100940

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Baker, Melissa
URN etd-05192010-100940
Title Service behaviors and time preferences of rural and urban restaurant customers
Degree Master of Science
Department Hospitality and Tourism Management
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Murrmann, Suzanne K. Committee Chair
Green, Claudia Committee Member
Magnini, Vincent P. Committee Member
  • restaurant
  • time preference
  • server behavior
  • sub-culture
  • rural
  • urban
  • customer satisfaction
Date of Defense 2010-05-19
Availability unrestricted
Do customers in rural and urban markets want the same thing from a restaurant server? While researchers have stressed the importance of sub-culture and made the call for empirical research, few studies have incorporated sub-culture into their research, especially within the hospitality industry. Empirically measuring the differences in sub-culture, may be especially important for restaurant operators as they serve and employ a myriad of different customers in different markets. One under researched yet critical way is through a better understanding of the importance of customer contact employees’ behavior. Understanding the importance customers place on standard restaurant wait staff behaviors and time standards may be critical to earning customers satisfaction and patronage, yet few studies have empirically examined this. Developing enhanced ways of understanding how to adapt service delivery behavior to the values of major cultural groups can be extremely beneficial to hospitality managers.

This study attempts to close these gaps by investigating the influence of sub-culture on consumer perceptions of behavioral and timing dimensions in a casual, full-service restaurant setting, through methodological sampling concentrating on two main sub-cultural groups: rural and urban restaurant patrons. Results indicated that sanitation and accommodation were the most important behavioral dimensions for both groups. The level of server responsiveness, friendliness, and knowledge were statistically different for the rural and urban samples. Results suggest that casual restaurant wait staff need to tailor service behavior by accommodating and customizing to the cultural and sub-cultural based guest needs in order to maintain a competitive advantage in satisfying customers. This study also demonstrates theoretical and managerial implications and suggests that further research is needed to investigate differences across other hospitality settings.

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