Methodology

Methodology

Introduction Statement

In order to answer the research question, the researcher reviewed multiple journal articles about the customer service impacting the fast food industry by collecting examples from interviewers in fast food industry. In addition to reviewing multiple literature sources, the researcher developed interview questions as the data collection method with three professionals and experts within the field to get their thoughts and experiences in improving the customer service and eliminating customer complaints. Also, the information collected from multiple journal articles provided the ways for the researcher to see how to keep customer loyal to the business and make customers satisfied.

According to the authors, Ghauri and Gronhaug (2010), the benefit of interviews is that “the researcher can pick up a more exact and clear photo of a respondent’s position or conduct. This is conceivable due to open-ended inquiries and the fact that respondents are allowed to reply as indicated by their own thoughts, unless the researcher has compelled answers by just a couple of choices” (126). The conclusions drawn from the literary review will be combined with the responses and opinions of the fast food executives to serve as a basis for final conclusions and recommendations.

Subjects

The subjects for this study were identified from the researcher’s professional network. The subjects were selected because of their combined years of experience and industry expertise. These individuals were selected because of their in-depth knowledge of understanding about how the customer service can be improved and how the customer complaints can be minimized. Leveraging these experts gave the researcher a broader insight about the fast food industry and provided a more robust problem-solving capability for customer complaints.

Subject 1 – The director and owner of the franchise of McDonald’s in Paris. He is responsible for managing the restaurant which has the highest profit in Istanbul and is also responsible for ten managers at the restaurant.

Subject 2 – The director of Airlines Customer Service. He is responsible for managing entire operations of customer service and also is specifically responsible for managing private club.

Subject 3 – The director of Burger King in Newyork. He is responsible for inspecting all franchises of Burger King around the city of Newyork.

Instrument

The researcher designed the interview instrument by gathering information on how the industry experts have improved customer service, eliminated customer complaints and taken advantage of the customer complaint by learning their deficiencies from the customers to fix the problems. The interview instrument was a way to reveal opinions, thoughts and perspectives on the related question about the customer complaints and better customer service in the fast food industry. The thought process behind each question was to get information about why the customer service in fast food industry mattered. The researcher asked question 1 because the researcher expected to learn about the most important customer complaints faced in the fast food restaurants. Question 2 was formed to handle the customer complaints and how to track them to make customer satisfied. Question 3 was asked to figure out the positive and negative effects of customer complaints to business because of word-of-mouth communication. Question 4 was asked to find out how the experts are measuring customer satisfaction. Question 5 was formed to learn about what the reactions have taken to improve customer service and what else they can do to develop customer service. Question 6 was created to find out which ways were used to keep customer loyal to the business.

The brief literature review helped as a beginning point in the design of the interview questions. Also, the brief literature review enabled the researcher to prepare the thoughtful interview questions. By asking these specific questions of each of these directors, the researcher was able to determine the most effective results in improving the customer service, and the most important means of eliminating customer complaints. it was used to improve a knowledge of developing the ways that was being used in the customer service. The researcher was interested in hearing first-hand accounts from the subjects to learn about how to improve customer service by asking the following questions:

Question 1 – Based on your years of experience in the fast food industry, what are the top 5 complaints you receive from customers?

Question 2 – What is your process for handling the customer complaints? And how do you track complaints?

Question 3 – In your opinion, how do the customer complaints affect your business?

Question 4 – How do you measure customer satisfaction?

Question 5 – What are you doing to improve customer service, if anything?

Question 6 – In your opinion, what things are important to keep customers loyal to your business and to keep returning?

Procedure

For the industry expert interviews, data was collected face-to-face as well as conducted via email and face time. Whether the interview was conducted over the phone depended on geographic convenience, as well as by considering time difference for the interview subjects. Questions were emailed to the experts in advance so they had a chance to prepare their answers before the interview. The researcher asked the experts the same six questions in the same order. The interviews were 30 minutes with each director. Notes from the interview conversations were typed by the researcher as the conversation was taking place. One of the interviews was recorded with permission to better analyze the results later. The information gathered from all the interviews will be compiled into a document and analyzed for trends and patterns, which will be discussed in the results section of the project.

Conclusion Statement

The results of the data collection will be tabulated in the Results Section of this project.

Results

Introduction Statement

The following is a tabulation of the results of the data collection.

Instrument Results

The following is a simple tabulation and a paraphrase of the subjects’ responses to the instrument questions.

Question 1 – Based on your years of experience in the fast food industry, what are the top 5 complaints you receive from customers?

Subject 1 – He mentioned that there are a lot of complaints, but he pointed out the top five complaints. The first complaint received from the customers is the behavior of cashiers towards the customers. The second complaint is that the food served is too cold. The third one is that the ketchup and mayonnaise are not free of charge. The fourth one is that the customers wait so long time to pick up their order. The fifth one is that there is something else inside the food ordered.

Subject 2 – He stated that he got so many complaints from the customers, but he would like to point out the top five complaints. The first complaint received from the customers is that the customer service is not fast enough because people do not like it when the system is slow down. The second complaint is that getting a wrong order causes the customer complaint. For example, you ordered a cheeseburger, but you got a wrong order. The third one is that it is unable to communicate with the person taking the order because the person taking the order did not understand what the order was. The fourth one is the price of the food because if it is too expensive, the customers do not like to pay so much. The fifth one is that some people in the fast food industry changed their menu so if the menu items somebody likes disappears suddenly, they do not like that either. For instance, the fast food restaurant has a special menu for the kids, but after the customer order that item and then if the person taking the order says that they are not going to serve that kids menu anymore, the customers do not like that. This results in the customer complaint as well.

Subject 3 – He mentioned that there are many complaints they received in fact because it’s really hard to please people. The first complaint that they receive is that the person taking the order is giving the wrong order to the customers. For example, the desired food by the customer is completely different food when the customers got their order. The second complaint is that the contents of the food ordered by the customers may be different when the customers got their order. For instance, the customer ordered the food without an onion but they got the food with an onion. The third complaint is that there is not enough acid in the beverages that they serve. The fourth one is that there is not enough the number of napkins in the dining table to use. The fifth one is that they also receive complaints about the cleanliness of the tables and not enough space to sit down. He stated that they are a well-known brand so that it’s extremely intense and they’re having trouble with table cleaning and space.

Question 2 – What is your process for handling the customer complaints? And how do you track complaints?

Subject 1 – He stated that the customer complaints are usually informed by the customers through the headquarter and then the headquarter communicate with the franchise of McDonald’s where the problem happened. It is being mailed to the customers about the complaints within a maximum of 48 hours. For example, when the customers have a small size of potato fries, both the quality department of the headquarter and the producer company are informed of the products that were complained by the customers. At the headquarters, if there is a problem with the result of the examination made by the headquarter, these products are collected back and replaced with new products which comply with the standards.

While the complaints are received at a minimum level of about one hundred percent in subcontracts, they are taken at the maximum level by mail at the customer service centers. Package orders usually come with the complaint about a cold product. In this case, there is not any solution to keep the heat of the hot product in the bag that the products are being carried in cold weather, so no matter how long it takes to reach the customer, the product suffers a lot of heat loss and the customer complains about it. Sometimes the customer does not get the product and cancels the order. We reach the customer in the company of the communication information that we obtained. After we learned what the issue was really with our product, we send the customer a new order as a free of charge, the fact that the complaints of the customers are not related to the product and the employees are behaving rudely to the customers. It is considered that the employees violate the terms and conditions they had under the agreement and then the customers are informed about this issue that the employee who behaved rudely to the customers was fired under the agreement.

Subject 2 – He highlighted that he processes to handle customer complaints personally. He wants to handle customer complaints right away because the more you ignore the customer complaints, the more the customers you are going to lose. Also, the customers have a big mouth when they talk about their negative experience about your restaurant with other people. This is why he pointed out that the process of handling customer complaints should be handled immediately. He did not know how to track the customer complaints from his experience, but he mentioned that he could explain from the theory. He would track the customer complaints by having the form of the customer complaints. He stated that there are so many ways of tracking the customer complaints. The customers can be complaining about their issues in tweeter, on Facebook, and all social media. He said that he would track the customers complaints either social media or customer relationship management because that happens a lot on Yelp. Many people use bad mouth businesses. He highly advised that you have to be careful about how you answered them when you got the complaint from the customers. He tells the customers that he is so sorry this happened to you and then he would like to talk to the customers in person about it. Next, he gives the customer a certificate for the free cheeseburger or whatever it is going to be.

Subject 3 – He mentioned that our customers have two ways to complain about their experiences to us. First of all, the restaurant has a complaint box so that the customers can complain about their bad experience by completing the form located near the complaint box. Secondly, they can call our customer service and forward their complaints to the costumer service. There is a chance of reaching faster results by calling alone because the complaint box is opened and evaluated at a certain time interval. if the customer comes to the restaurant to order their food, and If there is a complaint related to it, the order will be changed right away and the order will be prepared and given as quickly as possible to satisfy the customer. If there is a complaint made by putting on the internet or by customer service, our customer service evaluates the complaint and corrects the complaint by making the necessary corrections.

Question 3 – In your opinion, how do the customer complaints affect your business?

Subject 1 – He said that customer satisfaction is one of our most important goals. The customers dissatisfied explain their bad experience with the restaurant to the people who they know such as their friends, colleagues, and relatives and then the people who are listening to it tell others about it. It is considered a chain because this complaint is learned by many people. As a result of this situation, the profit rate of the restaurant is adversely affected. Also, the restaurant is less likely to be preferred to competing firms.

Subject 2 – This subject mentioned that when he was working in the customer service, some of his best customers arrived out of him handling situation that has gone bad. For example, something really bad happened to the customers like they found something else inside their food. How do you deal with that? It is still a way you deal with treating with compassion, and total commitment to resolving the problem to being really interested in what the issue is because the customers are always right. He noted that if you do not care of the customer complaints, every single complaint unresolved in the business could be particularly damaging to the business. This is why you always have to take care of the complaints if you want to stay in your business. On the other hand, when the customers have the problem with the food, the manager comes over to the customer and apologizes for negative customer service. He tells the customers that he is so sorry and then offers the food to the customer by saying that he is not going to charge for the food served. Thus, the customers feel better. As a result of this, the subject noted that there is a way which makes the complaint turn positive.

Subject 3 – if it is a really important complaint, that is, if there are significant issues such as in the first question, we will continue to work properly and work more cautiously, working on a more regular basis, taking into account the complaint. We receive the necessary warnings in case of complaints made to the company and we continue to work accordingly. We benefit from customer complaints by finding out our shortcomings from customer complaints and take precautions as soon as possible to correct the issues. That makes the customers satisfied so that the customers can continue coming to our restaurant due to the satisfaction of the customers. The customers lead to increase the number of other customers by telling their experience with our restaurant to friends, colleagues, and relatives.

Question 4 – How do you measure customer satisfaction?

Subject 1 – Nowadays, we are seeing that the technology requirements are met, and that people are handling many of their needs in a digital environment. When our customers get the product, they get the receipt for their business. They enter their complaints to the internet address below the receipt. Once the headquarter got the customers complaints, with making these statistical statistics of the headquarters, we produce a solution to the complaints or our customers can download the rate mobile application or rate their experiences and then they are going to vote for their complaints. This is going to be evaluated by the headquarter. His employee communicates with the customers individually, and after receiving requests, complaints and suggestions, the headquarter let the director of the franchise of McDonald’s know what to do to keep customer satisfaction higher.

Subject 2 – He stated that he would like to say for this question that is so difficult because the customers do not like to tell you what is going right. Once they get good service from the restaurant, they are going to tell a few people. However, if they get poor service, they are going to explain so many people because they want to talk about a negative experience more than a wonderful experience. On the other hand, measuring the customer satisfaction is pretty easy. If the restaurant has more profit which means the customers should be happy or if you got the line out of the door which means that you are doing something right. He meant he would just say that he measured the customer satisfaction by necessary profit. The customers are happy and then you know that you are doing a good job. Also, you can ask them how their experience was with the food by giving them a card which provides you feedback.

Subject 3 – The customer who comes to our business also gets the desired food in the way he wants. If the customers leave their table happily after their meal, this is enough for us. As a restaurant manager, he stated that he could easily understand this. In addition to this, he measures the customer satisfaction by accounting the number of the customers who come to his restaurant and the profit at the end of the day. Furthermore, the restaurant has a customer satisfaction survey asking the customers how satisfied they are with their experience at the restaurant.

Question 5 – What are you doing to improve customer service, if anything?

Subject 1 – Customers who eat fast food products often want to have a quick service to be a customer who does not want to spend time eating a meal. The customers want to buy high quality products and like to eat their meal in an environment of clean and hygiene. The customers want to be treated like a guest until they arrive at the restaurant and also they like to enjoy the moment they stay and leave at the restaurant. He also believes that the customers like to be welcomed friendly and kindly. Our principle in our restaurants has a zero tolerance for our employees who make mistakes on behalf of our customers. As a result of this, we fire the employees who make mistake to the customers. We have a wide range of rewards for the employees who do not make mistakes in the rules of conduct and then we show this to another employee an example of a good employee.

Subject 2 – He highlighted that the most important thing to improve the customer service is that you have to make your employees happy. If you have unhappy employees, they are going to have unhappy customers. He highly recommended that you have to invest time in your employees. You have to not only give your employees training but also give them recognition of job well-done. You have to allow them to make suggestions and then have to make them proud of the product that they serve. You have to give them some sort of work because everybody has a job. Whatever job you are doing is important to organization. No matter what it is.

Subject 3 – This subject stated that there are so many ways that you can serve better customer service. First of all, the dialogue is very important with the customer. If the customer clearly says what he wants, there is no problem. However, we also have a smiling face in our conversation with our customers, and the conversation really gives good results based on how well your employees treat to the customers. That’s why we are trying to treat to the customers with a smiling face in terms of improving our service, but we have a very busy business so that it is difficult after a while to treat with a smiling face to them because of our fatigue. However, we are trying to be as careful as possible. This is why we are a well-known brand in the world.

Question 6 – In your opinion, what things are important to keep customers loyal to your business and to keep returning?

Subject 1 – The employees at the restaurant are friendly and courteous to the customers. The employees make short and friendly conversations with the customers by not disturbing the dialogues between customers and leave a positive impression on the customers. Also, the customers always want to have a good quality of the products at the restaurants, to be prepared for their orders quickly, and to eat them in a hygienic environment. Providing these conditions will increase the satisfaction of the customers and ensure that the customers come back to the restaurant.

Subject 2 – He mentioned that the most important thing to keep your customers loyal to your business is that you are thankful for their business and make them want to come again. He highly suggested that you should provide a safe and clean environment and then they are going to come back. Also, he said that you have to be sincere about it, he meant that it is not enough for them to tell to thank you for coming. Not only do you greet the customers with smiling face at the door but also you need to serve delicious food to keep them loyal to the business.

Subject 3 – First of all, he would like to say that it is definitely the taste of the food and the customer service for this question because we say that the taste of the food is significant if we take into consideration the intensity between our rivals and our business which we are doing the same business with them, and he certainly said that our employees have a good quality of service and dialogue with our customers. Again, he said that once our employees have demonstrated their efforts until the solution is reached, that is, until the customer is completely satisfied, then we try to make the customer loyal to our business. As a result, the customer continues to run the business with a feeling of debt because the customers witnessed that our employees did their best to resolve the customer problems.

Conclusion Statement

The results will be analyzed in the Conclusion Section of this project.

Literature Review

First article

In their 2016 article, Improving the Service Operations of Fast-food Restaurant, Agnes Kanyan, Lizsberth Ngana, Boo Ho Voon looked into the major reasons behind the slow service of the fast food restaurants in providing customers services along with the ways to improve it. This study is a collective effort of Kanyan, Ngana, Voon. The main idea behind conducting this study was to analyze a fast food restaurant to determine the factors that can create or are a potential hurdle to the smooth running of a fast food restaurant. In this respect, they identified five main areas from which emerge the basic routine problems. These are management, people, environment, equipment and procedure (Kanyan, et al., 2016). Based on these five categories for analysis from a local restaurant in Malaysia, new techniques and strategies have been laid out as recommendations for improvement in the entire process. The new ideas introduced are “(1) Quality Function Development (2) Total Quality Management (TQM), (3) Process focus -service blueprint, (4) Layout , (5) Human Resource Management, (6) Supply Chain Management, and (7) Maintenance.” (Kanyan, et al., 2016, p.190).

Satisfying the customers is not an easy job in today’s world because of the increased competition from the peer restaurants and also the fact that the customers now expect a lot in terms of good quality services and good quality food. Therefore, both of them are important tools to improve customer satisfaction. Good quality service at a fast food restaurant is now the talk of the town and is a vast topic that can be extended into a separate discussion. “Undoubtedly, the success of a restaurant business depends on superior service quality, value and customer’s satisfaction” (Kanyan, et al., 2016, p191). This is exactly the topic that has been read upon and analyzed through the selected article. The authors have very conveniently delivered the main message of the entire article in a very systematic and an organized fashion. This has provided a purpose and direction to the researcher of the new study as well. Since, the chosen article has highlighted points to improve customer service, the capstone’s project can use the information from this article which is highly relevant.

Next, the authors moved on to speak about the major issues that are faced by the fast food restaurant. The main corporation taken is “SCR Corporation, a local family-run restaurant, has been used as the subject to study the service operations. It has many franchises that are located at several places in Sarawak, Malaysia.” (Kanyan, et al., 2016, p.191). Before making any judgement and analysis, it is important to note here that the selected local fast food restaurant in Malaysia is one of the busiest in restaurants and therefore, the results may not be applicable on the restaurants that do not have to face the challenge of serving huge crowds of people. This shows how well can the findings be applied to the Capstone’s research work and analysis. Hence, such data that takes information from a real-life restaurant rather than a hypothetical one, validates information. Hence, this information can be appropriately used in the capstone’s research work.

The first five categories identified by the author are “management, people, environment, equipment and procedure” (Kanyan, et al., 2016, p.191). With respect to management, the author highlights the importance of efficient and effective management which is the core element in the smooth running of a business. The management includes all the employees, workers (waiters), and other staff at the restaurant. “Some workers are not well-trained in their job, there is also a supervisor who does not fully supervise the workers. As a consequence, the workers do their daily work without putting their service quality as a priority.” (Kanyan, et al., 2016, p.191). Without an effective management, the quality of service provided at the restaurant is compromised. Hence, the proper allocation of resources along with efficient management to manage the resources is an important factor for the capstone’s project to be geared up before a good long drive on the road to success.

By people, the authors mean to describe the relationship of the workers with the customers in terms of how “friendly the workers at the restaurant are, the way they greet the customers, take the orders, the order is served, payment is received until they leave the restaurant premises” (Kanyan, et al., 2016, p.192). The fact that the attitude of the workers matters a lot in customer service and it is a key element in customer satisfaction that is a major factor in determining the sales for a service sector company. The workers at SCR corporation “did not put on a friendly smile when taking the order from customers and this gave bad impression to the restaurant” (et al., 2016, p.192). A well-managed staff is likely to improve the experience of customers at the restaurants and as a result, the customers are more likely to leave happy and satisfied from the restaurant premises. This is another major element to be considered for the researcher that will look into achieving superior quality service.

The third category focuses on the environment provided by the restaurant to the customers. “A positive perception of atmosphere can produce more positive emotions, which leads to positive beliefs about the restaurant and its services or products” (Kanyan, et al., 2016, p.192). This refers to the ambience of how fresh the inside of the restaurant feels and gives an impression of relaxation. The main reason behind the easiness communicated through the environment provided at the restaurant is that the customers are mostly employees who are busy with their office schedule and the only time they get off from their work is during the breaks or lunch times. That is when the employees are stressed and need a good refresher. This is exactly the time to win hearts through good customer service to the customers. “A restaurant needs to provide a safe and comfortable environment for the customers to enjoy their meals.” (Kanyan, et al., 2016, p.192). Hence, a good and a positive environment is another major factor that must be in consideration when delivering services to the clients a major factor to be considered or capstone’s project as well.

The fourth category relates from the producer’s or supplier’s end i.e. the local restaurant in this case (Kanyan, et al., 2016). Things are very different in the service industry as compared to the manufacturing industry where the interaction with the customer is not direct. However, in a customer service industry, the interaction is direct and the rule of thumb for higher sales is through customer satisfaction. One of the ways of satisfying customers is through providing what is needed by the customer at the required time. Now supplying what is needed in the given time has to do a lot with the available resources at the producer’s end. The restaurant must be fully equipped in terms of ingredients required to cook food, cutlery needed, equipment needed to produce food etc. This provides another key element to be considered for the Capstone’s project as one way to improve customer service is through providing the services on time.

Another way highlighted in the case tells how the inside of the kitchen must be arranged in a systematic way with separate areas for producing, assembling and disseminating food so that the entire procedure goes in a smooth flow. “A limited number of kitchen equipment results in insufficient time for the chefs to prepare food. Consequently, inefficiency in food preparation can delay the serving time.” (Kanyan, et al., 2016, p.192). Therefore, organizing the resources in a systematic way will help to manage the time effectively and therefore, fulfill orders easily. This is another significant contributor for the success of fast food restaurants and highly relevant to the researcher’s project because the faster the service is in food operation, the satisfier the customers will be.

The fifth category emphasizes on the procedures. There must be properly defined procedure for every section of the organogram in the restaurant set up so that each one of the worker, chef, assistants, receptionists etc. knows well of their jobs and what is expected of them. It should not be the case that the chef is producing less complicated food for customers who came late at the cost of the earlier customers waiting for their food only because they ordered a meal that was complicated to produce. “Some workers in the restaurant follow the principle of ‘easy cook easy come’.” (Kanyan, et al., 2016, p.193). Therefore, fast food restaurants must have defined procedures so that deviation from those procedures are easily tracked and the worker can be held responsible. Such tracking is essential for any fast food restaurants as well which is an essential learning for applying to Capstone’s project.

The authors introduced several different ways to improve the entire functionality both at the managerial and operational level for the restaurant to improve its business flow (Kanyan et al, 2016). One of the major ideas introduced is human resource management. This is the concept of managing the workers in the most efficient way possible so that the restaurant reaches the level of optimizing its services and encourage brand loyalty, and therefore, improve customer satisfaction which is the main research topic.

Ergonomics is also a similar idea in line with the basic concept of human resource management. It builds up on the concept of developing positive relationships between the workers and the customers based on the level of workers’ expertise and skills etc. “The arrangement of the kitchen must be safe, comfortable and efficient to minimize the harmful effects of carelessness, negligence and other human fallibilities that slowdown the preparation of food and might contaminate the food and beverages” (Kanyan, et al., 2016, p.195). This is an easy technique which provides a solution to improving customer services in the Capstone’s project.

Another important idea introduced is Total Quality management. Total quality management (TQM) is the management of the entire organization and provides superiority in every area of products and services that are important to the customer Kanyan, et al., 2016). This can be achieved through the effective application of human resources management whereby the attitude of the workers will improve towards the customers, it will also improve the customers’ satisfactory level due to good and trained staff. Also, it refers to optimizing procedures and equipment and the effective use of these two main elements together to improve the quality of food and services. Other things highlighted in the article by the authors are related to layout of the restaurant. The layout should be such that the maximum capacity of the space should be utilized through the setting of the furniture (Kanyan, et al., 2016). The planning and execution of the design and layout should be done meticulously to ensure that a restaurant is more attractive, peaceful and comfortable. This technique also provides another important solution to the Capstone’s research problem for improving customer service.

Also, the use of washroom for washing the utensils and for the customers’ use should be different. The placement of the kitchen and washroom should be such that it should cause minimal disturbance to the customers’ restaurant experience (Kanyan et al, 2016). For the Capstone project, things like the layout of the restaurant, equipment, availability of raw material are all the basic tools that when managed efficiently can help to build a quick positive reputation of the infant business. It also provides a quick-refreshers to all the minute details that one might skip in haste. The work of the workers can also be measured through different performance tools along with some targets set for them to achieve so that they have the motivation to work hard and earn bonuses. These bonuses can be set on the commission based on the number of the customers that will help the restaurant to improve its relations with the customers. This is a concept that was built during the analysis of Kanyan, Ngana, and Voon’s (2016) article. These ideas are relevant to the project because it is very clearly highlights the importance of relationship management with the customers and the need for the improvement of workers’ attitude in building the image for the restaurant; on which the entire future of the restaurant depends i.e. its long-term branding and name.

Second article

Similarly, In their 2018 article, Understanding customer satisfaction in the UK quick service restaurant industry, Quang Nguyen, Tahir M. Nisar, Dan Knox, Guru Prakash Prabhakar, looked into the five major dimensions of service quality and have analyzed as to which one of these has the most influence. This study is a collective effort of Nguyen, Nisar, Knox and Prabhakar. For the purpose of this study, three famous restaurants have been taken as subjects; KFC, McDonald’s and Burger King. The five dimensions identified from the SERVQUAL model and used for research are tangibles, reliability, responsiveness, assurance and empathy (Ngyun et al, 2017). These five dimensions have been used as hypotheses to find the impact of each on the customer satisfaction. With the help of questionnaires and use of statistical tool, SPSS through regression and factor analysis, the findings show that Tangibles is the most important dimension along with responsiveness and assurance. Reliability and empathy are secondary elements leading to customer satisfaction (Ngyun et al, 2017, p. 1). The results provide extensive managerial implications for the competitive UK’s fast food industry (Ngyun et al, 2017).

The importance of fast food restaurants has grown tremendously over the years. With the ever changing consumer’s tastes and the fast paced corporate needs have led to the demand shifting to low price and convenient food options (Ngyun et al, 2018). There is an important relationship between the service quality and customer satisfaction. Both of these factors are directly related to each other i.e. when service quality increases, customer satisfaction also increases (Ngyun et al, 2017, p.5).

An important concept highlighted in the study is related to WOM. WOM stands for word of mouth. “A satisfied and delighted customer is a potential loyal customer and a positive word of mouth” (Ngyun et al, 2017, p.4). This is an essential component and an implication for the Capstone’s project in order to improve customer satisfaction, it is more important that customers leave happy. Happy customers will bring in more customers with them next time because of the good comments spread through word of mouth for the restaurant.

In order to analyze the impact on customer satisfaction, service quality is split into 5 different dimensions (Ngyun et al, 2017, p.1, figure 1). Each of the dimensions highlighted have in itself important application for the fast food industry in UK. This study has been specifically chosen because it has dug into the depths of service quality dimensions which forms high relevance to the Capstone’s project which is basically on how to improve customer satisfaction in the fast food industry.

The first dimension of service quality is Tangibles. “There are some tangible indicators which are usually limited to the service provider’s facilities, equipment and personnel.” (Ngyun et al, 2017, p.3). “The tangibles of a fast food restaurant directly impact a customers’ experience and on its service” (Ngyun et al, 2017, p.12). Hence, in order to improve the customer satisfaction, this element is significant. It provides solution to one aspect for improving service quality leading to customer satisfaction improvement which is our core project topic. Items such as access to car parking, availability of the required no. of seats and a well-dressed staff are all some of the ways that appeal to the customer and enhance their experience.

The second dimension is responsiveness. There are three items that are being tested in the study. These are “during the rush hours extra employees are provided to help maintain speed and quality of service; prompt and quick service; and employees willing to help and handle customers’ special requests.” (Ngyun et al, 2017, p.8). Each of these factors show how much the staff is trained to respond to the customers’ needs quickly. This highlights another important dimension for the Captone’s project that the responsiveness of the trained staff is important element in order to improve customer satisfaction.

The third dimension is assurance. Assurance can be described as “competence and politeness of the personnel, and the capability to inspire confidence.” (Ngyun et al, 2017, p.4). The items used to find the correlation of assurance with customer satisfaction are “The customers feel comfortable and confident in dealing with establishment; feel safe for financial transactions; employees are consistently courteous; and employees have knowledge to answer customer questions.” (Ngyun et al, 2017, p.8). This is another significant contributor to the customer satisfaction level. For the capstone’s project, assurance will help to build an atmosphere of positivity and instill confidence among the customers which will result in more happy customers and higher satisfaction levels.

The fourth element highlighted in the study is reliability. This is defined as “the ability to perform the promised service dependably and accurately.” (Ngyun et al, 2017, p.4). The items used to find the correlation of assurance with customer satisfaction are “the speed of service is as fast as promised; dependability and consistency; quick corrections to anything that is wrong; accurate billing; and accuracy of customer’s order” (Ngyun et al, 2017, p.8). The findings of the study indicate that reliability is not a very significant contributor to the customer satisfaction. This draws an important analysis for the Capstone’s project as in order to improve customer satisfaction, reliability does not play a key role so it can be compromised at the benefit of improving tangibles, responsiveness and assurance.

The fifth and the last element of SERVQUAL is empathy. Empathy is “personalized assistance that the firm conveys to its customers” (Ngyun et al, 2017, p.4). The items used to find the correlation of empathy with customer satisfaction are “employees are sensitive and anticipate individual customer needs and wants rather than always relying on policies and procedures; ability to make customers feel special; employees are sympathetic and reassuring if something is wrong; and customers’ best interests are at heart” (Ngyun et al, 2017, p.8). As per the results of the study, this also has a less impact on the customer satisfaction. Hence, for our project research work, the points to be focused are other elements like responsiveness and tangibles and therefore, less emphasis should be placed on empathy.

It must be noted that the dimensions of empathy and reliability which have scored lower in the regression model (Ngyun et al, 2017, p.12) cannot be completely eliminated from the picture as they are the five core dimensions of SERVQUAL which were previously 10 and were shortlisted to 5. (Ngyun et al, 2017, p.3). Hence, an important implication for the Capstone’s project is that all the five dimensions must be considered for improving customer satisfaction, but special focus should be laid upon Tangibles followed by responsiveness and assurance. Tangibles is an important because it is the first point of contact when a customer enters into the restaurant premises which is the starting point for the building of customer satisfaction.

There are various models that have been mentioned in the article. These models propose the idea of enhancing the effectiveness of SERVQUAL model. Each of these models focus on a particular aspect of SERVQUAL which are either implied in less detail or are completely omitted from the horizon (Ngyun et al, 2017, p.4). Other models highlighted are SERVPERF scale which is the scale for measuring the performance of services, and DINESERV models looks into the service quality at restaurants with fine dining services (Ngyun et al, 2017, p.4). These models show that there are other tools as well that can be used as a scale to measure the responses of the customers. For the project research work, it is important to explore the adjacent topics of the main research topic and broaden the horizon so that as much relevant data can be gathered as possible.

The study has been very specific to a particular country i.e. UK and therefore, may not have large scale applicability on other countries because of the different cultures (Ngyun et al, 2017). This is mainly because of the European culture which is richer in flavors and variety as compared to Asian culture. This is a key factor to consider for the Capstone’s project as Ngyun et al’s (2017) study, which has been used as the basis for developing the direction for the research work, will also define the geographical validity for the Capstone’s final research work findings and results.

However, the applicability will only be affected by the culture but the basic foundation on which the entire study and its findings for the fast food industry is built is similar across the globe. Therefore, the applicability of the findings of this study is not restricted and the information available can be easily used for the Capstone’s research work.

Furthermore, the study has some important points with regards to the methodology as well. Before conducting a full fledge practical and on ground research work and collecting responses through questionnaires, the questionnaire was tested in a pilot study on a small sample first. “Before releasing the final version, the questionnaire was tested by five random customers in the restaurants to remove redundant questions. The structure of the questionnaire survey was also checked by restaurant staff to ensure that it was easy to follow” (Ngyun et al, 2017, p.7). Hence, a study whose questionnaire was tested on a small sample first and improvements made accordingly proves to have higher validity and therefore, for the Capstone’s project, the findings of the article are good as they are backed by evidences.

Critique

In their 2016 article, Improving the Service Operations of Fast-food Restaurant, Agnes Kanyan, Lizsberth Ngana, Boo Ho Voon looked into the major reasons behind the slow service of the fast food restaurants in providing customers services along with the ways to improve it. The authors present several different ideas that were highlighted and that related to the basic research question.There are many important points in the initial report analyzed that have brought particular attention to the topic and provided the researcher with a direction in which to continue the research by providing the five main elements of a fast food restaurant along with proposed solutions.

A major positive element of this study is that the techniques highlighted in this research as part of the recommendations section are extremely beneficial and useful. The article provides a complete list of possible solutions to the management problem in terms of time, resources (both capital and human) and marketing which caters to the chosen research topic. Other positive aspects include analysis that draws a lot of relevance to the research topic. The fact that the ideas for improvement of customer services, highlighted in this article, are extremely useful. They can be applied to both crowded and less crowded local fast food restaurants. Hence, they draw high relevance to my research topic as well.

Lastly, Ideas for Quality management, Time management, Human Resource Management etc. are all some very primary concepts that forms the basis for the entire foundation to be built on the same for any small or large-scale projects. Moreover, the ideas highlighted are the kinds of loopholes that can be found in even large fast food chains in one way or the other so there is always room for improvement and the concepts highlighted in this article as recommendations do shed enough light for many different sizes of projects at college level to take a guide from. Brand loyalty is encouraged. This is a factor that is not explicitly highlighted in the article though inferences can be made by oneself. The authors of the article can also speak about the long-term benefits that the then ideas and strategies can bring for the both the customers as well as for the restaurant. This an important idea that will enhance the area of research for my project. From the management’s perspectives, such techniques are likely to bring greater chances of customer loyalty and a promising name for the company that can be used to expand internationally as well. However, the sample of this study is restricted. With observations from only one restaurant that lies at one extreme of the spectrum, generalizations of the research findings might not be correctly applied onto other less crowded fast food restaurants. Nevertheless, the current article still provides clues for future researchers who are willing to dive into the depth of this topic and therefore, the study is relevant to my project.

In their 2017 article, Understanding customer satisfaction in the UK quick service restaurant industry, Quang Nguyen, Tahir M. Nisar, Dan Knox, Guru Prakash Prabhakar, looked into the five major dimensions of service quality and have analyzed as to which one of these has the most influence. There are several points in the study that contributes to its reliability and effectiveness to be used as the primary source of information.

The study has been organized in a very clear format that will help to organize the ideas for the Capstone’s project as well. This is an important need for a very well written report such that the ideas should be formalized into a set format that will define a clear pathway and ideas taken to execute the research work.

Furthermore, the last section of the article provides the managerial implications and looks at the limitations of the study itself. The managerial implications shows how important are the findings of the study in terms of British context especially when fast food restaurants is the segment in UK. This is highly relevant to the Capstone’s project as the target audience for the Capstone’s project will be UK itself.

This study was a cross sectional study and the Capstone’s project will have the same design as well. Cross-sectional studies are completed at one point in time and therefore, they may not have relevance to other times. However, the Nguyen et al’s (2017) and the Capstone’s project to be conducted both will provide managerial implications to the immediate time in effect and therefore, their findings create relevance and importance for the fast food industry. Also, the fact that the basis remains the same, the findings can be used as source of lessons learned from the past in the future studies.

However, there can be many other items as listed on the questionnaires that could have been explored. The items on the questionnaires restricted the quality of response and therefore, this paves the way for further extensions to the Nguyen et al’s (2017) study. Other items for reliability, assurance, responsiveness, tangibles and empathy could have been added. Such items can be explored as part of my project by taking the basic information required from Nguyen et al’s (2017) study.

Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations

Summary of Data Collection

Was the data collection successful and why?

Describe that the quality of the questions and engaged subject made the data collection successful.

The researcher felt the data collection was successful because…

Conclusions from the Data Results

The following conclusions are based on the responses of the subjects to the instrument questions. The conclusions are also a based on a combination of the instrument results as compared to the brief Literature Review. Finally, the conclusions are a comparison of the instrument results with the Literature Review, and incorporates the researcher’s professional industry knowledge.

After this paragraph, now describe in detail the conclusions, the patterns, you can identify from the subject responses.

Recommendations

Paragraph 1 – How to improve the study, i.e., larger sample size, more current literature.

To enhance future studies, the researcher recommends a larger sample size and an in depth of the Literature….

Paragraph 2 – List specific implementable recommendations to improve the research topic in the industry.

Based on the project conclusions and the researcher’s professional industry knowledge, the researcher recommends that business leaders…

(THIS SECTION IS AT LEAST 4-5 FULL PAGES, YOU CAN GO MORE)


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