The moderating role of zone-of-tolerance in the quality-satisfaction relationship for quick service restaurants

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The moderating role of zone-of-tolerance in the quality-satisfaction relationship for quick service restaurants

 

Author: Yip, Wing-tat
Title: The moderating role of zone-of-tolerance in the quality-satisfaction relationship for quick service restaurants
Degree: D.B.A.
Year: 2010
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Fast food restaurants -- China -- Hong Kong -- Quality control
Consumer satisfaction -- China -- Hong Kong
Department: Graduate School of Business
Pages: 166 leaves : col. ill. ; 30 cm.
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2394272
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/5981
Abstract: Quick service restaurant (QSR) operators in Hong Kong are facing a highly competitive and saturated market. They need to better utilize their limited financial resources to capture their customers' hearts. This study aims to examine the impact of zone-of-tolerance (ZOT) on the relationship between perceived service quality and customer satisfaction, with a focus on quick service restaurants. The specific research objectives are (1) to develop a suitable instrument to measure the perceived quality of quick service restaurants; (2) to identify the relative importance of different service dimensions in relation to the overall customer satisfaction; (3) to determine the zone of tolerance (ZOT) in QSR; and (4) to examine the association between perceived service quality and satisfaction within the ZOT and that beyond the zone. The major feature of the modified SERVQUAL instrument is the emphasis on the capability of service staff to respond quickly to customers' needs/requests/problems which is considered the most important for quick service restaurants. Some contemporary attributes such as health-consciousness, comfort and standardization were also incorporated into the measurement instrument. Data were collected through personal interviews with 353 QSR customers in Hong Kong. Results suggest that among the QSR dimensions, "time responsiveness" affects customer satisfaction the most. The second important dimension is "tangibles". The three-column SERVQUAL instrument is useful in diagnosing the ZOT but the actual administration of the questionnaire has to be modified. The satisfaction scores of all quality dimensions are quite high and their ZOTs are relatively narrow. These findings reflect the fact that the Hong Kong QSR operators are performing quite well under the oligopolistic market structure. The moderating role of ZOT on the quality-satisfaction relationship is only partially proven. Customers are not 'delighted' (i.e. higher than the expected level of satisfaction) when service quality is rated above the ZOT. However, customers are ‘frustrated’ (i.e. satisfaction levels drop disproportionally) when the quality of the "tangibles" dimension is rated below the ZOT while there is no significant difference for the "process" dimension. QSR operators wishing to improve service quality should do so cautiously and cost-effectively.

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