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Journal cover: British Food Journal

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Online from: 1899

Subject Area: Industry and Public Sector Management

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Service quality and training: a pilot study

Document Information:
Title:Service quality and training: a pilot study
Author(s):Des Monk, (Lancashire Business School, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK), Daniella Ryding, (Lancashire Business School, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK)
Citation:Des Monk, Daniella Ryding, (2007) "Service quality and training: a pilot study", British Food Journal, Vol. 109 Iss: 8, pp.627 - 636
Keywords:Coffee, Customer loyalty, Customer services quality, Shops, Workplace training
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/00070700710772417 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Purpose – This paper represents an initial investigation into the strategic implications of providing training to all employees of coffee shops in the UK, including baristas (coffee makers) on temporary or part-time job contracts. In particular, the paper aims to investigate whether service quality can be significantly improved by devoting substantial resources to staff training.

Design/methodology/approach – Two focus groups were conducted to obtain a demand side picture of this market. One of these groups comprised customers under the age of 30 years and the other was made up of customers between 30-50 years of age. Managers of two coffee shops were interviewed to get a supply side view.

Findings – The attitudes of the two focus groups were surprisingly similar. Generally, customers did not expect more than basic product knowledge from their baristas. On the supply side, it emerged that the coffee chains provided basic training to all of their employees. This training was firm specific and revolved around a workbook that employees completed in a matter of weeks.

Research limitations/implications – This market is a highly volatile one and customer expectations may well change in the near future. Moreover, future research will compare the UK coffee market with other countries, to further contextualise the results.

Practical implications – Current spending by firms on front line staff typically amounts to approximately £200/person per year. This research suggests that coffee shops are behaving rationally in providing limited training to their staff. There is no evidence, on the demand side, that perceptions of service quality would be enhanced by spending significantly more on training baristas.

Originality/value – This paper adds insight to the discussion surrounding consumer perception of service quality in the context of a rapidly growing market.

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