An emphasis on the upscale dining segment

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Journal of Foodservice Business Research
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Measuring the customers perception of tangible
service quality in the restaurant industry: An
emphasis on the upscale dining segment
Leonard Lee, Myong Jae Lee & Ben Dewald
To cite this article: Leonard Lee, Myong Jae Lee & Ben Dewald (2016) Measuring the
customers perception of tangible service quality in the restaurant industry: An emphasis
on the upscale dining segment, Journal of Foodservice Business Research, 19:1, 21-38, DOI:
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Measuring the customers perception of tangible service
quality in the restaurant industry: An emphasis on the
upscale dining segment
Leonard Lee, Myong Jae Lee, and Ben Dewald
The Collins College of Hospitality Management, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, CA,
The purpose of this study is to investigate the relative importance of tangible service attributes toward diners satisfaction
within the upscale dining segment. Based on previous studies
on tangible service quality, a total of 29 tangible service attributes were identified. Through the exploratory factor analysis
(EFA), five underlying dimensions of tangible service attributes
were first delineated: presentation value, table aesthetics, sensory perceptions, hygiene purity, and vehicle convenience. The
results of multiple regression analyses indicate that statistically
significant causal relationship between tangible service factors
and the diners satisfaction exist within the upscale dining
segment. Detailed empirical findings and implications are
Diners satisfaction; tangible
service quality; upscale
dining segment
The restaurant industry is a rapid and vigorous business. The quick changing
of customer demands within the industry requires every establishment to
stay ahead of their competition and provide the utmost quality customer
service while striving for constant growth. It is commonly accepted that
delivering quality service will offer longer financial opportunities and sustainable achievements (Parasuraman, Berry, & Zeithami, 1991). Due to the
changing lifestyle and sophisticated dining needs of restaurant clienteles,
providing good services and excellent meals are not the only factors in
maintaining diners satisfaction and constant growth. Restaurants are no
longer being seen as utilitarian places with the sole purpose of eating; they
are being seen as hedonic destinations where food experiences take place
(Yuksel & Yuksel, 2003). With more people dining out these days, it has
become more commonplace for guests to look for new flavors and a special
environment in order to create enjoyable memories (Markovic, Raspor, &
Segaric, 2010).
CONTACT Myong Jae Lee [email protected] The Collins College of Hospitality Management, California State
Polytechnic University, Pomona, 3801 W. Temple Avenue, Pomona, CA 91768, USA.
2016, VOL. 19, NO. 1, 2138
2016 Taylor & Francis
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Due to the increase in customer expectations and the wide array of
restaurants to choose from, restaurateurs must find ways to differentiate
themselves from the competition. One of the ways to do so is through
their physical environment (Raajpoot, 2002). SERVICESCAPE defines it as
the man-made, physical surroundings as opposed to the natural or social
environment (Bitner, 1992). TANGSERV defines it as the ambient, design,
and product/service factors in the foodservice industry (Raajpoot, 2002).
Whether we define physical environment as man-made surroundings or
ambient factors, they all state the same thing: The design and layout of an
establishment evokes the feelings of pleasure to facilitate employee productivity (Raajpoot, 2002).
Industry professionals, such as landscapers, architects, retailers, and environmental psychologists, have acknowledged the influences physical environments have on the consumers behavior (Turley & Milliman, 2000). Previous
research suggests that the consumers reaction to the physical environment is
due to emotional perception of their surroundings, rather than based on their
cognitive assessment of it (Donovan & Rossiter, 1982; Turley & Milliman,
2000). For example, fast food restaurants offer services that are effective,
practical, and utilitarian. In a quick-service environment, typical consumers
would only spend a short amount of time dining, and would not be able to
build an emotional relation with the physical environment, resulting in
having a limited impact during its encounters (Wakefield & Blodgett,
1999). Consumers at fast food restaurants are more likely to notice the
amount of time it took for them to receive their meal rather than the dcor
and aesthetic attributes of the restaurant. On the other hand, fine-dining
establishments are less utilitarian, and are more geared toward pleasure and
emotion (Chang, 2000; Wakefield & Blodgett, 1999). Consumers tend to
spend more time dining at these restaurants because they are places that
provide more intricate services. Therefore, consumers of fine-dining establishments tend to be more attentive and sensitive to the tangible qualities of a
Over past decades, the study of the physical environment and how it
influences the emotions and behaviors of individuals was the focus of architects
and environmental psychologists reading (Donovan & Rossiter, 1982; Ryu &
Jang, 2008). Which then, Bitner (1992) took such works from Donovan and
Rossiter (1982) and incorporated it to their study within a retail environment
and how it affected the consumers behavior (Bitner, 1992; Turley & Milliman,
2000). In recent years, exploratory studies have been made on the effect of the
physical environment within the restaurant industry (Berman & Evans, 1995;
Raajpoot, 2002; Ryu & Jang, 2008; Stevens, Knutson, & Patton, 1995; Wakefield
& Blodgett, 1999). Though the attention has started to shift focus within the
restaurant industry, there have not been many studies on the tangible attributes
within fine-dining restaurants. Although focus in the industry has shifted, few
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studies have been made on specific tangible attributes within fine-dining
restaurants that affect consumer behavior.
With prior research focusing on the broad perspective of a dining environment or individual tangible attributes, this study creates a new body of
work that would lead to more research on the significant relationship
between a fine-dining restaurants physical environment and its causal relationship with diners overall satisfaction. Specifically, the objective of this
empirical research is four-fold: (1) identify tangible service attributes that
diners experience when eating at a fine-dining restaurant through the review
of existing literature, (2) delineate the underlying dimensions of tangible
service quality through the EFA, (3) examine the statistically significant
difference on the perception of important tangible service quality between
male and female diners using a t-test, and 4) investigate the relationships
between tangible service factors and the diners satisfaction perception
through multiple regression analyses.
Literature review
Previous research in tangible service quality focused on identifying tangible
service attributes as perceived important by consumers. Identifying important tangible service attributes is imperative for hospitality firms because it
provides information regarding how well a hospitality entity is meeting the
needs of its consumers (Yuksel &Yuksel, 2003). By determining the consumers perceptions of physical environment service attributes, it also helps
hospitality organizations identify and manage their tangible service attributes
at a realistic level (Keyt, Yavas, & Riecken, 1994).
Baker (1987) identified three dimensions of tangible service quality that
impacts an establishment: design, social, and ambiance. These three factors
were key components that characterized the visual and physical environment.
Design dimension represents the functional qualities where the colors, furnishings, and overall layout of the area allow ease of movement, resulting in
quality delivery of service. Social dimension is related to employees, customers, and non-customers. Each individual has the means of impacting overall perceptions and impressions of the surrounding area. Finally, ambiance
represents the aesthetic variables including aroma, temperature, light, etc.
(Baker, 1987). Even though these attributes are not part of the main focus of
products or services, they allow consumers to perceive the beauty and dcor
of their surroundings, and more importantly, in their absence or extreme,
they can be an inconvenience and concern to consumers (Baker, 1987;
Raajpoot, 2002). Since Bakers (1987) research on tangible service quality, a
number of studies have introduced scales to measure tangible service quality
in the hospitality industry (Berman & Evans, 1995; Bitner, 1992; Raajpoot,
2002; Ryu & Jang, 2008; Stevens et al., 1995).
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Inspired by Bakers (1987) study, Bitner (1992) developed the
SERVICESCAPE by grouping all the interior physical attributes of an establishment together. Bitner (1992) classified them into three dimensions:
ambiance, spatial layout/functionality, and signs/symbols/artifacts. Even
though these three dimensions are very similar to Baker (1987) three categorizations, SERVICESCAPE was defined as the man-made physical surroundings as opposed to the natural environment. Thus, Bitners (1992)
research literally translated to physical attributes of the establishments as
opposed to Bakers (1987) broader perspective of tangible service quality
(Bitner, 1992; Raajpoot, 2002; Ryu & Jang, 2008). Although, Bitners (1992)
SERVICESCAPE categorization of the physical attributes have been backed
by substantial empirical and theoretical findings, its inherent limitations are
found in two areas: (1) it only pertains to the interior of an establishment, (2)
the universal application of it also has its own limit for industry-specifics.
Based on Bitners (1992) SERVICESCAPE, Berman and Evans (1995) introduced ATMOSPHERICS to better identify and adapt to the different interior
and exterior tangible variables of an establishment. In ATMOSPHERICS, the
atmospherics stimuli were categorized into four factors (Berman & Evans,
1995): (1) external variables (exterior signs, color, parking, location, and
building size), (2) general interior (the aroma, scent, temperature, and
color scheme within the establishment), (3) layout and design (the physical
placement of workstation, waiting area, and furniture; overall facilitation of
traffic flow), and (4) point of purchase (the display of pictures, artworks,
products, and decorations that would encourage buying). Even though
ATMOSPHERICS has been empirically supported to show an effect on the
consumers perceptions and subsequent behaviors, it did not consider the
social tangible qualities (employees and other customers) that are inevitable
characteristics in restaurant service quality (Raajpoot, 2002).
Based on the same design and concept of SERVQUAL (Parasuraman, Berry,
& Zeithaml, 1988), Stevens et al. (1995) created DINESERV, an instrument
for the restaurant industry in measuring the diners perceptions of service
quality. Similar to SERQUAL, DINESERV falls into the same five dimensions: (1) tangible, (2) reliability, (3) responsiveness, (4) assurance, and (5)
empathy. Even though the DINESERV model was specifically created for the
restaurant industry, the model encompasses all aspects of service quality
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within the restaurant. The tangible dimension in DINESERV was only
relevant to tangible service quality research. Therefore, if industry professionals and researchers are to fully understand the impact of tangible attributes, DINESERV would have its limitations in terms of its scope of the
In order to address DINESERVs limitation, Raajpoot (2002) created the new
model TANGSERV, a scale for measuring only the tangible attributes within
the foodservice industry. According to Raajpoot (2002), TANGSERV covers
all physical attributes and categorizes them into three dimensions): (1)
design/layout (the physical construct of the foodservice establishment; the
placement of furniture and fixtures to allow the most ease of movements), (2)
product/service (the design of the menu, variety of food, food presentation,
and portion sizes), and (3) ambient/social (the aroma, lighting, temperature,
and crowding of the surrounding areas). Even though Raajpoots (2002)
effort to offer a remedy for DINESERV was noticeable, the TANGSERV
has not received much acknowledgement from researchers due to methodological ambiguity (Ryu & Jang, 2008).
With the lack of theoretical support in TANGSERV, Ryu and Jang (2008)
created DINESCAPE, a 34-item instrument to measure the customers perception of the physical attributes with upscale dining environments. Through
the foundation of SERVQUAL and DINESERV, DINESCAPE incorporated
both physical and human surroundings within upscale restaurants into its
measurement and identified six-factors: (1) facility aesthetics (the function of
interior architectural design and dcor [paintings, pictures, plants, fixtures,
furniture, and colors]), (2) ambience (the background music, temperature,
and aroma of a restaurant that affects the non-visual senses), (3) lighting (the
illumination that gives a sense feel and functionality), (4) table settings (the
quality of tableware, silverware, and china, table cloth, linen, and napkin
arrangements, and overall table presentation), (5) layout (arrangement the
seating dimensions convey), and (6) social factors (characteristics of the
employees and other diners). Upon thorough review of service quality literatures, DINESCAPE identifies itself to be the most comprehensive for the
industry-specifics of this research paper. Table 1 summarizes previous literatures examining physical environment or tangible service quality.
Although the DINESCAPE model is idyllic, it is not free from possible
limitations, particularly form its definition of upscale restaurants and methodological approach. In this model, upscale restaurants were defined as those in
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which was more than $20 and offered table services.
Even after taking the depreciation of a U.S. dollar into consideration, the $20
minimum check average per-person for an upscale restaurant was deemed too
low by industry professionals. An upscale restaurant has a perception of higher
pricing and quality that leads to higher perception of restaurant (McCall &
Lynn, 2008). The low minimum check average and offers of table services did
not translate it as an upscale restaurant, but a broad generalization of restaurants with waiting staff that provides food and services. Also, in the
DINESCAPE model, customer responses were collected at the end of their
meals. The administration of customer surveys at the end of their meals may
allow many other influential factors (services, food quality, alcohol consumption, etc.), hindering their opinions and perceptions of the restaurants.
Measurement development
The initial 42-item questionnaire of tangible service attributes were identified
through the review of existing research on SERVQUAL, SERVICESCAPE,
Table 1. Service quality dimensions related to the physical environment.
Authors Terminology used Dimensions
Baker (1987) Tangible service attributes Ambient factors
Design factors
Social factors
Parasuraman et al. (1988) SERVQUAL Tangibles
Bitner (1992) SERVICESCAPE Ambient
Spatial layout and functionality
Sign, symbol, and artifacts
Berman and Evans (1995) ATMOSPHERICS External variables
General interior
Layout and design
Point of purchase
Stevens et al. (1995) DINESERV Tangibles
Raajpoot (2002) TANGSERV Ambient factors
Design factors
Product/service factors
Ryu and Jang (2008) DINESCAPE Aesthetic functions
Table settings
Service staff
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2001; Bellizzi & Hite, 1992; Berman & Evans, 1995; Bitner, 1992; Bojanic &
Rosen, 1994; Kivela, Inbakaran, & Reece, 1999; Milliman, 1986; Morrin &
Ratneshwar, 2000; Parasuraman, Berry, & Zeithaml, 1985; Patton, Pete, &
Knutson, 1994; Raajpoot, 2002; Ryu & Jang, 2008; Stevens et al., 1995; Turley
& Milliman, 2000; Wakefield & Blodgett, 1999). In addition to the 42-item
tangible service variables; 3-item questionnaires were added to measure the
diners perception of overall satisfaction (Andreassen & Lindestad, 1998;
Berman & Evans, 1995; Dube, Chebat, & Morin, 1995). Each variable was
measured using a 5-point Likert scale for the level with the rating scale of
1: not at all satisfied and 5: extremely satisfied. To reduce the potential bias of
forced response, an option marked N/A was included for each question.
Then, 6-item additional demographic questions were finally added to the
questionnaire to describe the demographic profile of respondents of the
Content validity
After the formation of the questionnaire, a focus group of hospitality
educators and industry professionals was conducted to validate each survey question and eliminate the ambiguity or confusion of some survey
items. After the focus group, a pilot study was conducted to reassure the
acceptance and reliability of the measurement items. The pilot test was
administered in a fine-dining restaurant located in the Southwest of
California. A total of 63 responses were collected for the pilot test.
Through the focus group and pilot study, the original set of tangible
service attributes was reduced to 29 items for the main survey. Following
Hair, Anderson, Tatham, and Blacks (1998) recommendation in which
they suggested 5 to 10 observations per each attribute, 290 responses were
set as a target sample size of this study.
Data collection
In consultation with educators in hospitality management and hospitality
industry professionals, a fine-dining restaurant was defined as an establishment that offers full-service dining, with a selection of alcoholic beverages
(beer, wine, and distills), linen cloths for napkins and tables, appropriate
dress code, and with a minimum check average of $40 per person. While it
was nearly impossible to cover all locations across the nation, strategic
locations in Southern California were chosen for data collection. Based on
this condition, target subjects of this study were those who dine within a
specific restaurant group with various locations located in Southern
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Data collection was administered within the establishments of a specific
upscale restaurant-group with various locations located throughout Southern
California. In an attempt to create the most ideal setting for research
purposes, role equivalence is to be assumed to liberate any social gender
roles or constraints that derive from their lives; therefore, all is equal. The
holding of all factors constant can be difficult, but it is imperative that the
participants are subjected to the equivalent stimuli in order to test their
responses accurately, and not due to the inconsistent influences of the factors
(Eagly, 1987; Saleh & Ryan, 1991). Therefore, specific fine-dining restaurants
with the highest regards on standards and consistencies would be suitable for
this on-site study, rather than collecting data through third party venues
(computers, internet, and mail).
To minimize the inconvenience and interruptions of participants dining
experience, they were asked to respond to the questionnaire after the initial
ordering of their drinks and food, but prior to the arrival of it. The questionnaires were collected over the 2-week period in the first quarter of 2012.
A total of 455 completed responses were collected, but of those, 146 of the
responses were unacceptable due to improper values or obvious repetition in
the Likert-scale responses. After filtration, 309 responses were chosen for
data analysis, resulting in 68% usable response rate.
Data analysis
The collected data were analyzed using the statistical package of SPSS 18.0.
First, descriptive statistics (means and frequency) were utilized to provide a
demographic profile of respondents. Then, underlying dimensions of tangible service quality in the restaurant industry were delineated through the of
EFA. Cronbachs Alpha and Eigenvalue statistic was used to measure the
internal reliability and weight of each factor. Upon validation of tangible
service quality factors, multiple regression analyses were conducted to investigate possible gender difference in the perception of importance tangible service quality and the causal relationships
between tangible service quality factors and diners overall satisfaction.
Demographic profile of respondents
Initial descriptive statistics were used to summarize the overall demographic
profile of respondents. The results of descriptive statistics are presented in
Table 2. Of the 309 respondents in this study, 52.1% of them were females
(n = 161) and 44% of them were between the age group of 2029 years of age
(n = 136). The majority of the participants (43.4%) dined for leisure or
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vacation purposes (n = 134) and 47.6% came in to dine with a party of two
(n = 147). The study also indicates that 59.9% of participants were at least
college graduates (n = 185) and 46.3% dine at fine-dining establishments at
least one to three times a month (n = 143).
Tangible service factors
To delineate the underlying dimensions of tangible service qualities in the finedining upscale segment, all 29-item variables were subjected to EFA to reduce
the variables to a smaller set of factors. Based on the EFA results, a total of five
tangible service factors with Eigenvalues higher than 1.0 were identified with
70.36% of the overall variance explained (see Table 3). Cronbachs Alpha also
confirmed internal reliability. The communality of all 29 variables ranged from
0.48 to 0.84 were acceptable (Hair et al., 1998), indicating that each of the
variables had high variance and correlation in regards to their common
contribution from the other variables. Each factor was then named based on
the characteristics of the tangible attributes: presentation value, table aesthetic,
sensory perception, hygiene purity, and vehicle convenience.
Relative importance of tangible service factors
The summing of the questionnaires into a singular composite mean score
was to use each weighted set score to analyze relative importance of tangible
Table 2. Demographic profile of respondents.
Characteristic Percentage Characteristic Percentage
Gender Number of diners
Male 47.9 1 0.6
Female 52.1 2 47.6
3 20.1
Age 4 21.0
1819 9.1 5 4.9
2029 44.0 6 3.2
3039 24.9 Others 1.2
4049 12.3
5059 7.8 Education level
Older than 60 0.6 High school 17.8
College graduate 59.9
Reasons Graduate degree 20.1
Leisure/vac 43.4 Others 1.0
Birthday 19.1
Celebration 18.1 How often
Anniversary 8.1 13 46.3
Business 10.0 46 38.8
Others 0.6 79 9.1
1012 4.2
1315 1.0
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service factors identified through the EFA (see Table 4). The results indicated
hygiene purity (4.50) had the highest mean score, followed by presentation
value (4.09), table aesthetics (3.98), sensory perceptions (3.89), and vehicle
convenience (3.60).
Gender differences on tangible service factors
The independent samples t-test was conducted to investigate if there is
significant difference in the perceptions of important tangible service factors
between male and female diners. The results of t-test indicate that significant
Table 3. Exploratory factor analysis.
Tangible attributes Factor loadings Communalities (Comp) SD
Factor 1. Presentation value: Eigenvalue = 13.490; Variance = 46.516; Reliability alpha = 0.945
Visual appearance of the entrance 0.537 0.598 3.83 0.902
Visual appearance of the signage 0.670 0.746 3.87 0.827
Employees are well dressed and neat 0.511 0.598 4.35 0.789
Dcor of dining room 0.768 0.802 3.88 0.885
Color scheme of the restaurant 0.762 0.756 3.82 0.941
Furniture selection of the restaurant 0.642 0.632 3.86 0.903
Visually attractive menu 0.711 0.665 3.88 0.859
Presentation of the dishes 0.853 0.659 3.97 0.906
Serving size of the dishes 0.723 0.571 4.01 0.814
Factor 2. Table aesthetic: Eigenvalue = 2.876; Variance = 9.917; Reliability alpha = 0.918
Comfort of your seat 0.784 0.780 4.20 0.667
Comfort of your table 0.742 0.663 4.15 0.729
Utensil settings on the table 0.832 0.766 3.73 1.016
Dcor/arrangements on the table 0.820 0.754 3.75 0.991
Has an easily readable menu 0.770 0.785 4.16 0.704
Has a variety of choices on the menu 0.763 0.775 4.23 0.641
Verbiage of the menu is descriptive 0.762 0.783 4.20 0.706
Factor 3. Sensory perception: Eigenvalue = 1.830; Variance = 6.311; Reliability alpha = 0.909
Location of restaurant is convenient 0.421 0.273 3.67 0.974
Has a comfortable waiting area 0.440 0.624 4.00 0.800
Choice of music for the restaurant 0.557 0.729 3.91 0.848
Volume of the other diners 0.692 0.653 3.83 0.948
Lighting in the dining room 0.594 0.675 4.00 0.773
Scent in the dining room 0.683 0.693 3.97 0.852
Temperature of the dining room 0.715 0.660 4.00
Factor 4. Hygiene purity: Eigenvalue = 1.124; Variance = 3.874; Reliability alpha = 0.846
Cleanliness of the dining room 0.880 0.840 4.52 0.481
Cleanliness of the bathroom 0.896 0.847 4.42 0.440
Overall cleanliness of the restaurant 0.769 0.632 4.57 0.509
Factor 5. Vehicle convenience: Eigenvalue = 1.086; Variance = 3.745; Reliability alpha = 0.549
Easy access to the parking lot 0.535 0.498 3.97 0.878
The availability of valet parking 0.765 0.575 2.85 1.567
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difference was found in two tangible service factors with a p-value less than
.1: presentation value and table aesthetic (see Table 5). Results indicate that
female diners perceptions of presentation value (4.20 for female and 3.97 for
male) and table aesthetic (4.14 for female and 3.81 for male) were significantly higher than male diners perceptions.
Influences of tangible service factors on satisfaction
Finally, multiple regressions were conducted to examine the causal relationship between tangible service factors and diner satisfaction. The results of
multiple regressions indicate that three tangible service factors have positive
impact on diner satisfaction: table aesthetic, hygiene purity, and vehicle
convenience (see Table 6). All three factors p-values were less than .05,
meaning statistically significant causal relations. Combined, these tangible
service factors explained 48.8% of variance in the data (adjusted R2 = 0.488),
indicating relatively strong relationship between tangible service factors and
diner satisfaction. Durbin-Watson (1.978) indicates there is no first-order
linear auto-correlation in the multiple linear regression data. In addition, to
Table 4. Relative importance of tangible service factors.
Tangible service factors Mean Mode
Presentation value 4.09 4.00
Table aesthetics 3.98 4.00
Sensory perceptions 3.89 4.00
Hygiene purity 4.50 5.00
Vehicle convenience 3.60 5.00
Table 5. Gender comparison.
Std. Mean
Gender Comparison Sig. Mean deviation difference
Presentation value
Male 0.003** 3.97 0.717 0.229
Female 0.003** 4.20 0.604 0.229
Table aesthetic
Male 0.000*** 3.81 0.766 0.331
Female 0.000*** 4.14 0.650 0.331
Sensory perception
Male 0.000*** 3.73 0.708 0.294
Female 0.000*** 4.03 0.682 0.294
Hygiene purity
Male 0.727 4.49 0.695 0.027
Female 0.727 4.51 0.648 0.027
Vehicle convenience
Male 0.009** 3.42 1.170 0.342
Female 0.009** 3.76 1.104 0.342
*p < .05; **p < .01; ***p < .001.
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ensure the predictor variables are not highly linearly related and cause a
matrix inversion making the results inaccurate, a variance inflation factor
(VIF) was used to analyze the factors. Neter and Wasserman (1974) regulate
a VIF less than 10 for each of the factors indicates it is highly correlated with
each other; thus reassure the statistical independence linearly of each factor.
Practical implications
From the results of the EFA, five tangible service factors have been identified
to represent the physical tangible attributes within the fine-dining restaurants. The first factor was able to capture the most of the tangible qualities of
the restaurant and contained nine attributes; labeled presentation values,
for its representation of the overall appearance of the restaurant. Each of the
attributes within this factor identified a specific visual aspect of the restaurant, which creates an overall aesthetic image from beginning to end. The
diners must solely rely on their eyes to justify their perception of
The second factor contained seven attributes and was labeled table aesthetics for its tangible attributes on the dining table. Every attribute within
this factor are items the diners are able to touch and feel. The comfort of
their seats and tables prepares diners for a slow and relaxing meal or a tight
and uncomfortable experience. The verbiage and menu choices indicate the
standards and quality of products that are about to be offered. Tableware,
such as quality silverware or sparkling crystal glassware, with a soft white
linen table cloth can delineate the quality of service and lifestyle the restaurant exudes to be are all implications of what the restaurant has to offer.
The third factor contained seven attributes and was labeled sensory
perceptions due to the non-visual characteristics the restaurants create.
Table 6. Regression analysis.
Satisfaction Sig Beta Beta2 VIF
Factor 1
Presentation value 0.539 0.066 0.054 4.634
Factor 2
Table aesthetic 0.000*** 0.516 0.456 5.277
Factor 3
Sensory perception 0.827 0.020 0.017 3.709
Factor 4
Hygiene purity 0.000*** 0.265 0.216 1.287
Factor 5
Vehicle convenience 0.004** 0.102 0.143 1.486
Note. R: 0.704; R2
: 0.496; Adjusted R2
: 0.488; Durbin-Watson: 1.978; F: 59.687
*p < .05; **p < .01; ***p < .001.
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The attributes highlight certain ambience that would add hedonic cues in
creating the right experience to stimulate emotions and behaviors in service
settings. The location of the restaurant and comfort of the waiting area offers
a sense of convenience and ease to the diners. While the choice of music and
volume of the other diners may relax and sooth their overall experience. The
lighting, scent, and temperature of the dining room may emanate the feeling
of warmth and comfort. In a fine-dining establishment, it is important to
play into the diners overall sensory perception of the restaurants, which can
either convey a sense of hedonic notions.
The fourth factor contained three attributes and was labeled hygiene
purity for its focus on the cleanliness of the restaurants. The cleanliness of
a restaurant should never be questioned, regardless of dining segment it
belongs in. Although this study only highlights and measures the cleanliness
of the bathroom, dining room, and the overall appearance of the restaurant
only, it does not mean the other premises such as the kitchen, storeroom, and
offices are not important. Due to the extent of a restaurant, the diners do not
have access to these grounds; therefore it is difficult to include in the
The fifth factor captured the smallest amount of tangible characteristics in
this study. It only contained two attributes and was labeled vehicle convenience as it pertains to the accessibility to their personal vehicle. Driving
and parking has a significant impact on daily lifestyle. However, it is also
understandable that these tangible attributes may not be of concern in certain
areas where public transportation is the mainstream.
The descriptive analysis identified hygiene purity (4.50) as the most
relatively important tangible service factors that the diners experienced
when eating at a fine-dining restaurant, followed by presentation value
(4.09), table aesthetics (3.98), sensory perceptions (3.89), and finally, vehicle
convenience (3.60). This result reflects the increased importance of hygiene
and cleanliness within the restaurant industry.
The results of the independent samples t-test indicated that significant
gender difference was found in two tangible service factors: presentation
values and table aesthetics. In both tangible service factors, female groups
had an overall higher mean score than the males, suggesting females value
and appreciate the tangible service factors of a fine-dining restaurant more.
Societal stereotype depicts females with communal dimensions who are
emotionally expressive and desire interpersonal interactions with others in
a harmonious and nurturing environment (Eagly, 1987). Females have a
stronger sense and awareness of the overall tangible attributes within a
fine-dining restaurant. On the other hand, males abstract mind would be
less conscious of the dimensions of tangible qualities and be more focused on
the logical and consistent attributes of the fine-dining restaurants.
Downloaded by [California Poly Pomona University] at 11:08 04 February 2016
The results of multiple regressions analyses indicated that three tangible
service factors (table aesthetics, hygiene purity, and vehicle convenience)
positively affect dining satisfaction. Restaurant customers look for direct
comfort and feel of their chairs, table, utensils, and dcor/arrangements.
Hygiene purity pertains to the overall cleanliness of the restaurant. Due to
the increased importance of hygiene and cleanliness within the restaurant
industry, its impact on diner satisfaction was confirmed in this study.
Given that easy access to the parking lot and the availability of valet is
the first impression and encounter the diners have with the restaurants
tangible service factors, significant causal relationship found between
vehicle convenience and diner satisfaction is quite understandable. This
finding indicates that vehicle convenience is a precursor of things to come
and preset the diners perception of the restaurant without ever having to
walk into it.
Theoretical implications
From a theoretical stance, this study offers additional empirical works that
correspond with previous exploratory studies on the importance of tangible
service factors within the restaurant industry (Bitner, 1992; Markovic et al.,
2010; Ryu & Jang, 2008; Stevens et al., 1995; Turley & Milliman, 2000).
Stevens et al. (1995) offered a more restaurant industry-specific model of
service quality. In their model, tangibility was only a part of the whole scale;
thus, being overshadow by the other construct of service quality. Ryu and
Jang (2008) have shed some quantitative data on the importance of tangible
attributes within the restaurant industry. This study is in line with those
previous studies, enhancing the body of tangible service research within the
restaurant industry.
Further, this study did indicate specific tangible factors were influential on
the diners perception of satisfaction, revisit intentions, and word-of-mouth
intentions. While table aesthetic and hygiene purity are different in construct
from each other, it is obvious of the influential power they have on the diners
and that these results correlate with previous literature findings that satisfaction leads such behaviors of revisit and (Kivela
et al., 1999; Ryu & Han, 2009). Table aesthetic pertains to the comfort of the
diners and implication in quality of the restaurants. Hygiene purity pertains
to the cleanliness of the restaurants and the standards to its diners.
Restaurateurs should continue to focus on these two factors to achieve
satisfaction, revisit, and word-of-mouth intentions from their diners.
Sensory perception was found to be statically significant with the diners
revisit intentions, but not with the diners perception of satisfaction and
word-of-mouth intentions. While it is understandable that this factor influences revisit intentions, further studies are needed to know why it does not
34 L. LEE ET AL.
Downloaded by [California Poly Pomona University] at 11:08 04 February 2016
affect satisfaction or word-of-mouth intentions. When each factor is broken
down, presentation values and table aesthetic create an image of prestige and
luxury; hygiene purity is about the cleanliness of the restaurant; and vehicle
convenience is about the accessibility of the diners cars or transportation.
Sensory perception is the only factor that offers tangible cues that create a
hedonic experience for the diners. If fine-dining restaurants are able to
transcend such an image to the diners, it may entice them to revisit for the
same hedonic experience.
Presentation value, interestingly enough, the visual cues of the restaurants
had no statistical significance with the diners perception of satisfaction,
revisit intentions, or word-of-mouth intentions. Researchers need to
approach this finding with caution and should not take it literally that it is
not of importance or significance to the diners. Although the results state it
not influential in the diners perception of satisfaction or behavior intentions,
it was ranked second of importance to the diners when eating at a fine-dining
restaurant (composite mean: 4.09). Due to the importance of it, this studys
approach method of providing the questionnaire at the beginning of the
diners service needs to be re-evaluated, if by offering the respondent the
questionnaire so early in their service hinders the effect of the presentation
value on the diners.
Future studies should also be conducted to one specific fine-dining restaurant chain, where all tangible service attributes are equivalent at each property and explore the perception of their demographic respondents. Although
the fine-dining restaurants of this study met the definition of: offers fullservice dining, with a selection of alcoholic beverages (beer, wine, and
distills), linen cloths for napkins and tables, appropriate dress code, and
with a minimum check average of $40 per person, the aesthetic style, lighting,
and music of each restaurant differ from each other. This study was limited
to its own definition of what validates as fine-dining restaurant. Future
studies with stricter criteria and specific targeted restaurants would increase
the validity of this study.
Service quality is a vital dimension within the restaurant industry in determining diner satisfaction. However, the quality of service within this industry
is difficult to evaluate, due to the many influential factors that occur during
the dining experience. Based on previous frameworks to measure tangible
service quality, this study identified tangible service factors within a finedining establishment and its subsequent effects it has on their diners perception of satisfaction.
Although research objectives were achieved, this paper is not free from
limitations. Collected data may not represent the entire fine-dining
Downloaded by [California Poly Pomona University] at 11:08 04 February 2016
segment. The study used a convenience sampling that focused on the
tangible service factors within a specific fine-dining restaurant-groups
establishments, at six different locations throughout the Southern
California. As a result, demographic profiling is only the interpretations
of the respondents and not a reliable indication of the diners at the
restaurants. The demographic findings found 46% percent of the respondents were in between the ages of 2029, 59.9% college graduates, 46.3%
of them dine out 13 times a month. However, this should not be
interpreted as representations of the majority of the diners were of this
age, with such education level, and habitually of dining out. Thus, more
comprehensive sampling should be done in future research to generalize
the findings and the characteristics of target subjects.
Future research may want to further extend the scope of this research,
adding more dependent variables, such as diners behavioral intentions
(word-of-mouth and/or revisit intentions), and different market segments. These research efforts would offer a broader perspective and
comparison of different demographic views and performances of tangible service qualities. Also, longitudinal study of a specific restaurant
group would benefit the participation restaurant firm in identifying the
trends of tangible service quality in enhancing the overall dining
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