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Benchmarking the service quality of fast-food restaurant franchises in the USA: A longitudinal study


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Title:Benchmarking the service quality of fast-food restaurant franchises in the USA: A longitudinal study
Author(s):Hokey Min (Department of Management, College of Business Administration, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio, USA), Hyesung Min (Department of Tourism Management, Yuhan University, Bucheon, South Korea)
Citation:Hokey Min, Hyesung Min, "Benchmarking the service quality of fast-food restaurant franchises in the USA: A longitudinal study", Emerald 18, (2011)
Keywords:Analytical hierarchy process, Benchmarking, Customer services quality, Fast-foods, Restaurants, United States of America
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/14635771111121711 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Abstract:

Purpose – To help fast-food restaurants enhance their competitiveness and then increase their market share, the purpose of this paper is to measure the service performances of fast-food restaurant franchises in the USA and identify salient factors influencing the service performances of fast-food restaurants over time.

Design/methodology/approach – This paper develops a set of benchmarks that helps fast-food restaurants monitor their service-delivery process, identify relative weaknesses, and take corrective actions for continuous service improvements using analytic hierarchy process and competitive gap analysis.

Findings – This study reveals that a service attribute considered most important to the fast-food restaurant customers' impressions of service quality is taste of food. This preference has not been changed over time. Also, we found a pattern of the correlation between the overall level of customer satisfaction with the fast-food restaurant and its word-of-mouth reputation. Furthermore, we discovered that the customers tended to be more favorable to easily accessible and national fast-food restaurant franchises than less accessible, relatively new, and regional counterparts.

Research limitations/implications – The current study is limited to the evaluation of comparative service quality in the USA. Thus, this study may not capture the national differences in the restaurant customers' perceived service quality.

Practical implications – For the last four decades, Americans' obsession with fast serving, cheap meals has made the fast-food restaurant a mainstay in their daily life. As the appetite for fast food grows, every corner of the American Society has been infiltrated by fast-food restaurants. With the increasing number of fast-food restaurants competing in the market, their survival often rests on their ability to sustain high-quality services and meet changing needs/preferences of customers. This paper provides practical guidelines for enhancing the competitiveness of the fast-food restaurant franchise.

Originality/value – This paper is one of the first to compare the service quality of fast-food franchises in the USA and develop dynamic service quality standards for fast-food restaurant franchises using a longitudinal study.


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