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Consumer Analysis of Restaurant Industry

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Abstract

The aim of the study was to examine customers' definition of quality when it comes to restaurant services and the preferences and opinions in restaurants choice. The study was also to find out if the customers have idea of the existence of the ABC restaurant in specific. The study was specifically carried out in a restaurant called the ABC restaurant in the city Chennai in India. Chennai is a city in the Southern coast of India. ABC is an adult person restaurant and thus a self administered questionnaire was filled in by willing customer. This study was a qualitative study, whose focus was to determine the preferences of Restaurant industry customers in Chennai city, India. These are the factors that contribute to the customer's satisfaction in restaurants, it only through knows the customers need that can make it better to enhance better services. The study utilized questionnaires, which were easy to understand and respond to. The researchers hypothesized that there existed customer's values and preferences in the larger Chennai area, which affects the Restaurant industries and the affinity of customers to new ideas and technologies within the Restaurants industry. This study was a qualitative study, whose focus was to determine the preferences of Restaurant industry customers in Chennai city, India. The study utilized questionnaires, which were easy to understand and respond to. The study focused on a number of variables as described in the variable description table. The restaurants clients at all have times got a direct personal consideration at a very reasonable price. The customers also obtain the maximum quality of client service available. The employees to the company have undergone an extensive and quality training, a good work place, and incentives in order to build trust in them and thus encourage them to work to achieve not only their goals, but those of the company and the customers. This, in turn, is expected to build customer trust and thus retain them as return customers

The target population was thus set at 384, and was taken as a representative of the total customers in the city, whose totals could not be established. Analyses were performed using SPSS (version 15.0, Chicago, Illinois, USA). Across group comparisons of medians was determined using Kruskal-Wallis tests, while Chi-square analyses was used to examine differences between proportions. Mann-Whitney U tests was used for pair wise comparisons. Multivariate logistic regression, controlling for the confounders was used to examine the association between the different responses given by customers. The reference group was dependent on each other between those who agreed to a situation, those who disagreed and those who were undecided and remained neutral giving no response or not knowing a response to give. Statistical significance was defined as p £ 0.05.

Introduction

Eating habits differs from one region to the other, eating in restaurants or away from homes eating is currently a common phenomenon that is embraced in many communities. Eating in restaurant has evolved from a long way; it goes way from just the mere thought of getting ones fill to a form of recreation. People have always gone out to the restaurants and eating places to quench their hunger and desire for food, in the process they always expect to derive pleasure get satisfaction from it all. Restaurants and like forms of investments continuously change the face of the business to catch up with the constantly dynamic customers demands (Olsen & Connolly, 2000). Restaurant owners or managers have always had to make intensive changes that are customer preference oriented. In such a dynamic industry, factors such as quality and technology are very important issues to consider in order staying up put in the very competitive dynamic environment. In the town of Chennai town alone, 459,000 restaurants locations nationally, the direct sale of these restaurants sums up to $32 billion a year and more than $ 0.98 billion a day (Jinsoo Hwang 2010). The restaurant industry has contributed to a great impact to the Indian economy, contributing an average of 1 billion in one year (Tam 2000).

Fine dining is a type of restaurant that offers the finest foods, services and atmospheres within the hospitality industry. The major characteristic with this type of restaurant is its operation price that escalates above any other type of restaurant. The fine dining offers fine menus, fine customer service, fine atmosphere to dine in, thus making it one of the best dining places for the restaurants.

One good example is Afraa restaurant, which is located in Calcutta, India (“Afraa”, 2010). This restaurant offers a best experience near a five star hotel and thus offering an alternative for those who cannot afford a five star hotel. It offers a good career opportunity since it provides for alternative for the revelers who would opt for cozy restaurants bud with less money for high-rated hotels. The future for the industry is promising since many people would appreciate for fast and fine services with good customer atmosphere to compensate for their money.

Family restaurants are types of restaurants with that have mixed menus and their prices are often fixed. Meals are offered with the dinners seated communally at a table with bench seats. Just like their names, the family restaurants are mostly run by families. One good example is the Brennan family restaurants that are run by family members from Louisiana and New Orleans, with the name, Owen Brennan (“Brennans New Orleans”, 2010). Other than in Orleans where the children of Brennan operate the restaurant, the rest are operated by the Brennan descendants.

The restaurants have opportunities for expansion since just like Brennan the restaurants are operated by family members making it a continuous business entity even with the demise of the founders. The restaurants develop with each generation of new managers and this increases the opportunities for growth.

The managers and restaurant owners have to find a great deal in the marketing strategy in order to stay in the competitive market, considering customer's satisfaction a basic factor in the success in the industry by maintaining their status in the market. Customer's service satisfaction has been the major factor in determining the success of failure in the industry. Thus customer satisfaction has always been the crossroad in determination of the success in the industry. Generally customer satisfaction is a crucial factor that is directly proportional to the quality services in the industry. It is common to everyone to get quality services for their spent money. A reputable high quality restaurants or any other kind of business will always.

In the studies conducted by the U.S. department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure survey, the sum up cost of food constitutes one third of all expenses, while half of the food expenses is spent in food away from home.

Creativity and innovations is the major determinant and influential factors that determines the success and growth of the management of the service industry hence leading to a significant increase in the economic growth. Creativity has always been the back bone secret in the restaurant business and this can always be determined by the direct proportion relation to the sale output. The more the creative offers the more the sales output experienced in the restaurants. It thus very important to identify the quality perceived factors that will have a strong effect on the customer's satisfaction or dissatisfaction as well.

The aim of this research is to find out the factors that customers consider for their restaurant preference choices. The study was also to find out customers opinions and definition of quality services in the restaurants industry. The study was specifically carried out in a restaurant called the ABC restaurant in the city Chennai in India. Chennai is a city in the Southern coast of India.

India is a country with many various religious groups as well besides the ethnic groups. The religion differentiation is also a major determinant in the food patterns in the country. The Hindu which is the dominant religion, do not allow the followers to take meat. As far as I know cows are considered sacred and are worshiped among the Hindu religion. The high castle Hindu is strict vegetarians and they don't feed on meat products as far as eggs.

The lower castle is not very strict and could feed on meat but not beef. Pork is not also any part of their meal as pigs are considered unholy and are always reared in very dirty environment. The Islam community in India does not feed on pork due to religious issues.

The rest of the population which comprises of the Christians, Jews, Sikh and the Pagans do not have such religious regulations and they feed on meat and its products. Rice is a staple food in India for more than half of the population, and the rice is served with almost every meal. The rest of the populations rely on wheat, which they use to make the famous Indian chapatti. The others staple food is maize, millet and sea foods for those in the southern of India. It is thus evidenced that the Indian food habits depends on the climate, geographical distribution and location and majorly religion plays a major part in food habit patterns in India. The major differentiation is the two groups of feeders, the vegetarians and those who feed on meat.

Indian foods are famous for their delicacies and have an international recognition, the Indian foods are now being incorporated in the international cuisines, and they can as well be found into other ethnic restaurants. The Indian food market is always characterized by a specific trend in their food habits. India is a large continental country with more than one billion people constituting its population.

There are over 17 ethnic groups with more than 30 different spoken languages. This calls for a very wide range of cultures and believes as well as eating habits. Chennai town has undergone urbanization as well as westernization, and like the major urban centers, there are many restaurants and fast foods joints that are a common trend in the homogenized global etiquette.

It has been observed that the mainland of Chennai still holds a unique traditional Indian etiquette. The town's food industry has grown immensely and there are many investors such as; pizza restaurants, Thai restaurants, multicuisine restaurants Mediterranean restaurants, Japanese restaurants and many other foreign restaurants.

Eating away from home has then become an increasingly ingrained in the culture of the Chennai dwellers (2003 Restaurant Industry Forecast). It is thus worth having a research study that determines the consumer behavior in the food and service industry in this town.

The study was designed to try to determine if the customers or the consumer's preference on restaurants choices was based on the quality services offered in the restaurants, and any other factors that affect customer's relations to a restaurant service provider. This study also was to try to reveal the kind of information sources that act as influential factors in customers choices of restaurants.

ABC restaurant is a start up business organization that was aimed at providing, catering services for the vegetarian at the Chennai town; Chennai town has developed from a slumbering fishing town, to the current prestigious city. Being a budget rather than a luxury restaurant, ABC was aimed at providing the services to people in low and middle-income people throughout the Chennai, as they come to the city. Restaurant business is an old industry within the entire Indian subcontinent, but which is highly competitive yet profitable industry. This shall illustrate the markets segments of ABC restaurant and the strategies to be employed to target, attract and retain customers in order to create a solid stream of annual revenue within the business scope. The Restaurant shall not be just like any other common Restaurant within the city and beyond. Its unique focus of creating quality and affordable services with a new preference in the market shall give the company an added competitive advantage over the competitors. This is to be affected by providing the customers with a new outlet that is both highly affordable compared to other existing Restaurants, quality foodstuffs in addition to other services not common in budget Restaurants in the area (Brotherton, 2009). This shall fill a long-standing need in the area, where customers have for a long time been seeking for quality services at affordable prices (Baum, 2010). Traditionally, this area has been having only three competitors, all of whom provide their services at extremely high prices, yet their services are not of high quality. The restaurant has always aimed at targeting the people who normally want to get these services yet they cannot due to high prices charged by the existing Restaurants in the area (Baum, 2010). This study paper is to discuss about the South Indians relation to factors that affect value in a restaurant business through the management strategies and logistics. As such, the paper will dwell on product distribution and implementation of marketing strategy as well as include a plan for the implementation and launching of these restaurant services and products. After this, the paper will dwell on the development of measurements and control metrics that is to help the organization after its launch. All these aspects of management represent the last phase of management for the company and as such all the management and operational goals for the company will be realized.

Literature review

India is famous for its delicacies, and its image has already been approved internationally. The people of India love fine food not limited to local foods. The acceptability to foreign cuisine is very high. The more important thing is that one study found that the general consumers comprising 75% of general consumers in ethnic restaurants, (Crimm, 2000).

The hospitality industry boasts as one of the highest revenue earners due to its diverse affiliation with many other industries in the both local and international market. Tourist attraction and entertainment sites couple with hotels availability to elevate the returns from the sector. Hotel industry entails various subdivisions, all which contribute to the growth and definition of the processes in the industry. One of the sectors in the hotel industry is the restaurant, which encompasses sub-sectors like fine-dining restaurants, on-site food services, and family restaurants among others. The other is the lodging sector that includes resort properties, conference hotels, and luxury hotels among others. The travel and tourism field encompasses cruise lines, destination management firms, and airlines among others. Clubs, leisure and gaming industries are also inclusive to the hospitality industry with their sub-sectors being the casinos, country clubs and theme parks among others.

Ethnic restaurants offer dishes that are not familiar in a particular locality. India is a large sub continental country with more than one billion people constituting its population. There are nearly 100 5-star Restaurants in India. These are state-of-art Restaurants which offer world-class services to the revelers. In addition, there are over 100 other 4-star Restaurants in the city. These hotels are strategically positioned in areas within easy reach by the revelers. The 5-star Restaurant in the coast of India is considered as the most prestigious Restaurant in the sub continent.

This therefore makes the Restaurant to be a favorite spot for the wealthy people from around the world. Executive business meetings are also held in this Restaurant. Therefore, the tourists who frequent Chennai town in search of luxurious services find many pleasant places to get good quality services. The most plausible characteristic that influences the buyers are price, quality and pleasant aspects of the goods being purchased. Luxury visits to restaurants is therefore an issue that has been on the rise especially from among the western countries. Privacy, recreation and health issues are other considerations that are made by the tourists.

The individuals who frequent the country are after prestigious goods restaurants. There are many venues that are frequented by tourists in India. Age and marital status are other issues that are influence the rate with tourists frequent the city. India is mostly frequented by married individuals and older persons. The younger people frequent the city less often due to the issue of income. The older people seem to have more income than the younger people and this causes the significant gap between the numbers of people frequenting the city.

Currently there are several categories of hotels within the catering and hospitality industry in India. For instance Fine dining is a type of restaurant that offers the finest foods, services and atmospheres within the hospitality industry. The major characteristic with this type of restaurant is its operation price that escalates above any other type of restaurant. The fine dining offers fine menus, fine customer service, fine atmosphere to dine in, thus making it one of the best dining places for the restaurants.

One good example is Afraa restaurant, which is located in Calcutta, India (“Afraa”, 2010). This restaurant offers a best experience near a five star hotel and thus offering an alternative for those who cannot afford a five star hotel. It offers a good career opportunity since it provides for alternative for the revelers who would opt for cozy restaurants bud with less money for high-rated hotels. The future for the industry is promising since many people would appreciate for fast and fine services with good customer atmosphere to compensate for their money.

Family restaurants are types of restaurants with that have mixed menus and their prices are often fixed. Meals are offered with the dinners seated communally at a table with bench seats. Just like their names, the family restaurants are mostly run by families. One good example is the Brennan family restaurants that are run by family members from Louisiana and New Orleans, with the name, Owen Brennan (“Brennans New Orleans”, 2010). Other than in Orleans where the children of Brennan operate the restaurant, the rest are operated by the Brennan descendants.

The restaurants have opportunities for expansion since just like Brennan the restaurants are operated by family members making it a continuous business entity even with the demise of the founders. The restaurants develop with each generation of new managers and this increases the opportunities for growth.

There are over 17 ethnic groups with more than 30 different spoken languages. This calls for a very wide range of cultures and believes as well as eating habits. Hindu believes and cultures have played a significant role in influencing the food trends in India. A sub continental interaction of various cultures such as the Mongols and the Britain has also played a significant role in blending in the Indian cuisines. (Zee-Yuu, 2010). A significant blend of European cooking and foods was introduced into the Indian cuisines during the colonial period. The spice trade between India and Europe has seen a significant blend of the Indian and European foods.

There is a distinctive difference in the in the Indian foods compared to the rest of the world, this is exhibited in their different cooking methods and taste, which is contributed by a vast blend of different cultures and over a period of time of years. Cultures have always fallen victims of civilization; food is no exception to this circumstance.

The Indian food has been influenced by various forms of civilization which have lead to their current form and overall development. Indian foods have always been characterized by the extensive use of spices. From the Northern to the extensive Southern coast of India, spices have always formed a generous part of their food. The spices used have always been attributed to their healing and medicinal abilities and properties as well as their nutritional properties. The traditional Indian foods are always characterized by one main course. Instead of a variety of courses, the meals are always served around one main course meal which is rice or wheat product bread which is served with a variety of savory dishes.

Indians love cottage cheese. This is always a common delicacy which is usually prepared with gravy, fried and added over pilafs. Most of the Indian foods are prepared in vegetable oils like sunflower oil, mustard oil and groundnut oil. According to other studies, Indian restaurants serve approximately 2.5 million customers every week, and the popularity of the Indian delicacy ha lead to researches that found that there are two Indian restaurants to ever one Chinese restaurant (Saren, 2007).

Indian foods have always been characterized largely by their geographical location. In the Coastal region, this is the South India, fish and coconuts products have been their food components. The southern Indian foods of Tamil Nadu, application of tamarind is used to distinct and impact the sourness to the foods. Sea foods form the staple food for the residents of Andaman and Nicobar, Bengal and Tamil Nadu.

Before the venture by investors into the southern India, the area was inhabited by indigenous tribes, due to their little interaction by other tribes, fish, fruits and vegetables were their diets. Currently, it is notable that a very big population of the southern population is vegetarians. As a result several accommodative recipes have been invented. The southern has a mixture of both vegetarians as well as non vegetarians. As a result the southern India has present very adorable menus for both the vegetarians and non vegetarians.

The amalgamation of the Andhra Pradesh and Deccani styles are always characterized by excessive use of chillies which is always to enrich the taste of foods. The town of Kerala is always characterized by some of its distinct delicacies such as the lamb stew which is taken with appams, idlis, fried prawns of Malabar and the famous fish molie which is taken with rice puttu, rice puttu is a ground rice pawder which is steamed in a bamboo shoot (Pireira, 2003). Another famous item in the coastal India is the sweetened coconut milk; the milk is a traditional drink among the coastal region habitats. Rice is the major staple food that is served with almost every meal, such as meat, fish and lots of green vegetables.

In the eastern of India, the Bngalis style relatily resemble the Coatal region. The Bengali staple food is a combination of rice and fish. The Bengalis feed on the different types of sea fishes. The Bengalis have adopted a special way of cooking; their delicacy is prepared by wrapping the uncooked meal in a pumpkin leaf then cooking it. This method of cooking is known as ‘Hilsa'. The Bengali also has the common bamboo shoot cooking.

The West regions Indians also have a characteristic form of cooking and food habits. The western parts are rather dry and not much likely comparable to the other parts of the sub continents. A variety of dals and pickles form major part of their diets. The western people consume both rice and wheat products in their diets in combination to the vegetables the Portuguese influence in cooking has also been observed in most dishes in the western region. The most common dishes known to the Eastern regions are like the sweet and sour Vindaloo, duck baffae, etc. meal in some of the Western regions cannot be considered complete without fish. Foods in some communities such as the Goans are always sea based; while some of the Eastern communities such as the Gujarati are basically vegetarians.

The Gujarati basic meal is made from wheat flour, used to make the famous Indian chapattis, which I always made according to a families taste and preference of taste and style. The Gujarati diets change seasonally with the availability of vegetable that is in season (Pereira, 2003). During the mango season, mango pulp often makes the major constituent of the meal. This trend is witnessed by the spices used as well, like the garam masala will often be used during the summer period (Pireira, 2003).

The North Indian foods are always prepared around the main course of the meal which is rice. The northern cooking is always influenced by the central India type of cooking. Like the central delicacy of saag is also found in the North as well (Dukart, 1988). Some communities in the North such as the Punjab, Haryana and Utta Pradesh have shown a preference to wheat chapatti consumption over rice. The northern region is commonly characterized with mughlai foods. Generally three quatres of the Northern Indian foods are for vegetarians. As a result to the widespread of the vegetarian population habit, India is well known for its tradition of vegetarianism, ( Dukart, 1988).

The adherence to vegetariasm which is also known as sattvik has made its importance in the South probably because of the Brahmins, where it has gained popularity even among the non-Brahmins who have followed the meritorious lifestyle. The vegetarian nature of the Brahmins were due to different reasons and believes, the Brahmins believed that vegetarianism made their minds pure and to perform various rituals. It is believed that all the Brahmins are vegetarians and thus gives the southern India a reputation of vegetariasm.

With the increase of globalization and exposure, Indian societies are undergoing a significant change that is impacted by Western influences and lifestyles. The food industry in India has had a change in its food consumption patterns (Food Industry, 2006). The Indian foods have been introduced into the outside markets and gained dominance is some places. According to the Britain Food Standard Agency, a value of $3.2 billion is accounted for all eating's in the Indian restaurants alone in the United Kingdom.

A survey in 2007 showed that Indian food products that could be more than 1200 are already in the United States market since the year 2000. Indian foods have been common in the South East of Asia, this can be contributed for by the fact that the inhabitants' have a strong Hindu and Buddhist historical background.

A big number of Southern and Northern Indian restaurants have been established in Malaysian and Singapore. Several cuisines have borrowed styles from the Indian cuisine, such cuisines with Indian blend of cookery are like the Filipino, Vietnamese, Indonesian and Thai. The general wide demarcation of food patterns in India persist to date. India has always been a sub continental home for many people and culture over many centuries, and like many other cultures, the Indian cultures have been influenced by foreign elements that have always seeped into the Indian cultures over time.

The Islam infiltration has had a great influence into the Indian society. The Islam revolution created a link between the non-vegetarian and the highly conserved rich graves that were indigenous to the Indian societies; this resulted to the Mughlai cuisine. One good example is Afraa restaurant, which is located in Calcutta, India (“Afraa”, 2010). This restaurant offers a best experience near a five star hotel and thus offering an alternative for those who cannot afford a five star hotel. It offers a good career opportunity since it provides for alternative for the revelers who would opt for cozy restaurants bud with less money for high-rated hotels. The future for the industry is promising since many people would appreciate for fast and fine services with good customer atmosphere to compensate for their money.

Customer's behaviors can be related to the choice of product, purchase, use of disposition of products and services. Consumer behavior can also be related to experiences the consumed products and services a customer get satisfaction or dissatisfaction of the consumer's needs and demands. (Solomon, 2000). Three perceived quality factors, good value, tasty food, and employee's knowledge of the menu mostly affect the customer's satisfaction or dissatisfaction (Jinsoo Hwang, 2010). Consumer's satisfaction is regarded as a crucial factor in the competitive industry and customer satisfaction has become a major topic of study in the industry.

There is always no guarantee that a customer will always return to the restaurant a next time unless the customer liked the service offered in the restaurant. If restaurant owners or marketers know which perceived factors have a significant impact on customer satisfaction, they could potentially identify the chief elements of success or failure in a restaurants management. This has contributed to the pro active changes that focus on customer's satisfaction.

With the increased rate of globalization in business, most business managers are in turn increasingly focusing on the need to keep up with the management and financial requirements for a globalised business organization. Operations management has never been as vital as it is now with the era of globalization, and has therefore become a subject of study, research and practice. By definition, operations management is the management practice that deals with the design and management of business products, services, processes and supply chains (Cunill 2009). Within the scope of business operational management, there is the aspect of consideration of the acquisition, utilization and the development of resources that each firm needs in order to deliver its products to the market place (Chase Aquilano & Jacobs 2003). Operations management, as a business practice, requires applications of strategies aimed at realizing the overall profits for the business. Strategic issues within the scope of operations management for business organizations is inclusive of determination of size and location of the manufacturing sector, determining and deciding the structure of the servicers, the telecommunication networks and designing the technology for the supply chains. One of the major factors of operational management is the application of the five elements of OM; that is quality, cost, speed, flexibility and dependability in order to achieve specific goals in management (Cunill 2009). Hotel chains as well as individual hotels located in various parts of the world have the best example of organizations where operations management works best. Hilton hotels international and the Etap provide some of the best examples of the organizations where operations management is emphasized on, but with different approaches to the five elements of operational management.

Considering the operations management from its five elements as the guiding principles, it is possible to determine the differences and similarities in the management between Etap and Hilton hotels international.

Operations management: budget hotels (Etap) versus luxury hotels (Hilton)

In the early years of hotel industry, the conventional definition of the word hotel was that a hotel is an establishment which provides lodging to persons on payment and on short term basis. The accommodation in the time was merely a room with a bed a cupboard and other items such as a table and washstands (Cunill 2009). However, the modern description of a hotel has evolved over time, and now includes modern facilities as air conditioning, telephone connections, televisions sets, internet connectivity (wireless fidelity-Wi-Fi) and bars with snakes, drinks and other items. However, the modern classification of hotel has created a difference in the type of hotel available in a given place, based on the service provide and the price as well as specific place of location. Although these differences come in most other aspects, the factor of price is the most important one (Cunill 2009).

Currently, the two main varieties or categories of hotels are the budget hotels and the luxury hotels. Budget hotels are designed to suit the needs, tastes and financial capabilities of almost every person, and thus are cheaper. They have been and are still established to suit people who have small budgets and who thus want to spend as little amounts of money as possible. The rooms in these types of hotels have the basic facilities for the lodging such as the bed, washing equipments and in most cases there are communal toilets. They are always clean but less fancy. Most of the modern budget hotels are fitted with some other varieties considered as basic amenities rather than luxury as it was before, mainly to attract other persons (Chase Aquilano & Jacobs 2003). Such items include newspapers, some TV sets such but mostly not pay TVs and telephone connections. There are some few such hotels which offer breakfast, but most do not. The time for staying in budget hotels is limited, and normally they are charged on night basis. The rates charged in these hotels vary greatly with the geographical location.

On their part, luxury hotel are established for person who is willing to spend as much as they have planned to. They are used to lavish lifestyles. The services offered in these hotels are quite excellent, with highly trained employees who are aware of the value of the customers they handle and the value of catering and courtesy. They are built in such a way that each customer is able to find as much comfort as possible, and to avoid stress in any way. They are, in addition to the rooms and other basic amenities, fitted with such items of leisure as gyms, messaging equipments, beauty treatments and body make ups, excellent parking facilities, swimming pools, laundry bars and restaurants. These hotels charge very high prices. And some are booked online by persons located in other parts of the world. They are also placed in various places, especially which are considered very luxurious such as in major cities, game parks, costal beaches, and mountains.

Hilton hotels provide one of the best examples of luxury hotels in the world. It is an international chain of hotels and resorts formerly known as the Hilton hotels international. They are named after the founder, Conrad Hilton who bought a single hotel in Cisco Texas in 1919, and later bought or build other hotels in other parts of the world. Today, the hotels are owned and managed by the Hilton Hotels Worldwide, which owns more than 530 hotels worldwide.

On its part, Etap group of hotels represent the best example of the budget hotels in the world and per the discussion. This group of hotels was founded in the United Kingdom in the 20th century, and has continued to serve the public through its lower prices charged for all its facilities. It has several branches located in main cities in the United Kingdom, with some relatively similar prices. It is owned by the Accor Group of the United Kingdom. Currently, the group has also established hotels in the Middle East, France and has also planned to penetrate other markets in Europe, Asia and Africa.

Operations management within the hotels

The element of quality: Hilton versus Etap

In operations management, the element of quality is believed gto be the most important aspect as far as customers are concerned. For the last twenty years, companies all over the world have embarked on providing quality of goods and service to their customers in order to ensure there is the aspect of customer attraction, retention and satisfaction. The external effect of excellent quality within the operations of any company is that which the customers to the company consumer the products or services and have little or nothing to complain about, rather they have a feeling of satisfaction. If this applies, then it means that the customers will consider returning to the same company, whether in its location or in its branches located elsewhere, for the good service provided. This makes the company to gain a lot in retention of the customers over and over again, the customers are also likely to turn up with their friend or relatives, or influence others to go for the good services at the company. The company will thus gain more in terms of revenue. The operation quality has another different but equally important aspect. In conformance, if quality should be high in the operational processes and other activities, then it is expected that very few mistakes will be made. This implies that the cost is greatly reduced, while dependability increases and the response increase significantly. If an operation is developed such that it continually corrects the mistakes within the company, then it is difficult to respond to the customers requests. Quality means that customers require error free products and services provided by the company, and if this is not the case, then there is very slight possibility that a customer will return to the very same company (Lysons & Gillingham 2002).

In the case of the two hotels, there are several cases which could be pointed as major differences between t Hilton International and Etap. In terms of quality, it is quite evidence to say that Hilton provides the best services to its customers worldwide. This is especially so if one considers the fact that the facilities offered are tailored towards leisure in addition to basic amenities, while in Etap, the services are basically the amenities. In addition, Hilton international has the ability to make its customers return to the very same hotel, whether in America, Africa, Europe, Asia or any other place in the world, given that it is well established in all the continents. However, Etap seems to be superior in terms of the quality offered in relationship to the amount of money it charges (Heizer & Render, 2003). While it is true and a fact that Etap has les to offer in terms of luxury, it is also a fact that Hilton has little it can use as customer attraction in terms of the budget. The quality of food and lodging services offered by Etap is quite high, and in most cases they are far above the lower threshold that they authorities require of hotels. In addition, some service a which Hilton charge high amounts for are offered in Etap butt at every low prices. For instance, Hilton hotels, like other related hotels, charge the customers very high for the wireless fidelity, while Etap has now embarked on providing these services to their customers, saying that the internet connection is just as necessary to the people as the telephone connection. Etap is currently categorizing internet connectivity to basic needs, and thus offering them under considerable prices (Lysons & Gillingham 2002). This seems to be a very sure mistake that Hilton is making, especially when the inside factor of the elements is considered. Thinking that quality of the products is only provided under very high process, Hilton hotel continue to charge very high prices for services which are nowadays becoming a basic necessity as far as technology is concerned, while the budget Hotels like Etap have tried to compete with the Luxury hotels on such grounds. In this case, customers may consider going for quality under low and considerable prices rather than the very same quality of products and service under extremely high prices. It is therefore a kind of weaknesses the operational management reveals in both of these hotel types (Heizer & Render, 2003).

The speed of response

The speed of response is an element of operational management that implies the time frame between an external or internal customer who is requesting for the services or products and the time they get them in their disposal. This element has also some internal and external affects associated with it. The external affect is crucial because it helps the company to respond to the customers' requests. It is normally viewed positively by the customers who are more likely to return to the business for the same service or products (Bennett 2009). When the service is fast, it is more likely that the company will charge a higher price than for a service offered in a slower manner.

The internal affect of this element of speed is more oriented with cost reduction than the customer's request. The speed reduces cost of inventories and risks (Heizer & Render, 2003). In hotel industries, processing of customers though the registration and booking of rooms and other services will increase the speed of customer service, and it is a human characteristic of preferring quick services to slow ones, even if the tine limit is enough (Lysons & Gillingham 2002). Faster throughput of information and services find the company more and more customers, most of which are returned and regular customers to the company, having been attracted by the high speed of customer response. Fast throughput of customer response is affects dependability, because when customers hang around in the hotel system for long period of time, then there are more chances of them getting lost as they seek for service from other hotels (Heizer & Render, 2003).

This element is quite distinguishable on the modes of operations between the two hotels, Hilton and Etap. Hilton international has been one of the leading hotel chains in the world in terms of customers' services, and which were the first to employ online customer services such as booking and clearing of bills, and thus charged the highest prices characteristic of any pioneer in any one field. While the hotel chain still charges high prices to cover this transaction and to go on with its tradition (Bennett 2009). Other competitors, especially in the category of Budget hotels, have realized the need to have these services within the framework of the management. These low priced hotels have this been up to date in terms of their booking services, while still providing cheaper prices compared to their luxury counterparts. This mean that although the Hilton hotels are more advanced in term s of online booking, customers may opt for cheap prices charged for the same variety of serves (Bennett 2009).

Dependability

This implies to be on time in terms of providing customers services. Customers long to receive their products and services on time to meet their demands (Lysons & Gillingham 2002). This element also has two factors, the external and internal affects. The external dependability is regarded a good thing by the customers to any business organization (Bennett 2009). Customers become very irritated if the goods and service they require are later than when they had expected them or when they had been promised by the business organization. The internal affect of dependability has its major effect on the cost of the service or product offered to the customers. Highly dependable systems within an organization help increase the speed of performance (Bennett 2009).

In case of the hotels, dependability is almost equal, and what matters is the prestige of the hotel rather than the quality of the product. Hilton group of hotels normally provide their customers with on time services, from booking to food and catering, entertainment and other services (Bennett 2009). In these hostels, the external affect of dependability is quite high, but under very high prices owing to the value and the cost of developing the affect and making it work. Budget hotels, although they may not be able to meet the requirement of customers who are regular customers to luxury hotels, provide competition to these high class hotels in that they offer their customers the very same services as those offered in the luxury hotels as far as the timing of services are concerned (Bennett 2009). For example, customers nowadays are making their booking either online or on the spot at the entrance of these hotels, just as it is the case in luxury hotels. Although their services may sometimes be slow owing to the large number of customers they handle, the prices they charge for the delivery of services are quite competitive to those offered by their luxury counterparts (Lysons & Gillingham 2002). The cost affect is also quite significant as far as the difference sand similarities of the two hotel varieties are considered. For instance, the rate at which both of these companies make their services available to the customers have little variance, only that sometimes luxury hotels like Hilton employ some of the most qualified personnel in the world in terms of catering, while Budget hotels like Etap may go for qualified personnel yes, but who may provide less prestige for the public opinion. However, the personnel may perform in almost the very same manner. In such cases, all what matters is not quality, but prestige. Prestige, in this case, is costly than the service itself (Heizer & Render, 2003).

Flexibility element

Flexibility means to be able to change some aspects of operation in business in some way. There are several categories of flexibility element such as the service/product flexibility, market mix flexibility, volume flexibility and delivery flexibility (Bennett 2009). The affects of flexibility as element operations are twofold, and determines the factor that has to be adjusted to meet the market requirement for the product or service. The external affect of this flexibility allow an operation to fit its services and products to its customers in some manner. Market mix flexibility allows the operation to produce a wide variety of goods and services for sale to the customers from which they can choose from (Heizer & Render, 2003)

. The product or services mix allows the company to develop new products and services in which new ideas and methods have been incorporated when developing them. These ideas may have originated from the customers themselves as they make suggestions or specifications of the products or service they need from the company (Bennett 2009). Flexibility in terms of volume and delivery means that the operation has to adjust to its own output level as well as the delivery procedures so that it comes up with any unexpected changes on the amounts and volume the products and services that the customers may request, when they need them or where they require these products or services. There are also some internal affects that are associated with the performance objective. Flexibility speeds up the response of the company to the customers demands; it saves time and helps in maintaining dependability (Cunill 2009).

In hotel industry, there is a factor of flexibility that the companies involved adhere to if they want to attract and retain customers. Service flexibility, volume flexibility, as well as the delivery flexibility, all have some significance in the operational management in hotels. The difference between the two kinds of hotels, the budget and the luxury hotels, occurs when one considers the direction to which the flexibility takes place (Bennett 2009). It appears that budget hotels are more flexible in all the four aspects because they are always striving to increase the number of customer's thorough attractive service in addition to their ever attractive prices (Heizer & Render, 2003). Luxury hotels like Hilton, on their side seems to be less flexible since their prices are well established, they have long term customers and who require little adjustments of prices. The volume of the product and service is normally the element that frequently adapts to changes within these hotels (Bennett 2009). For instance, they strive to provide their customers with the most recent or up to date luxury technology in their rooms or in house within the hotel facilities. While this is true, budget hotels like Etap strive to provide the customers with the best affordable prices rather than services.

The cost

The cost of hotel service varies according to the prestige and the variety of services the hotel provides. The cost structure for the two different yet related forms of business organizations vary greatly due to prestige and variety of products and service offered for sale to the customers. The other four elements of operational management described above work to contribute to the reduced cost, on their internal affects. This is a the major area of concern that business, especially those in budget hotel industry like Etap, have been utilizing to reduce cost and at the same time increase the number of customers and ultimately increase their profitability (Heizer & Render, 2003).

These changes are mainly self innovations that can contribute to the growth and management of services of service industries the innovation theory has been developed by extending the research approach to innovation in the manufacturing and service providing industries (Gallouj & Weinstein, 1997). This has been a survival tactic for managers and restaurant owners to be able to give high quality services, which put a distinctive difference from the competitors (Reid & Sandler, 1992). This factor has always put the entrepreneurs on the constant platform for innovation in order to offer distinguished products for consumers.

Innovation can be any idea, practice or material artifact that which is regarded as novel by members of a social system (Lancer & Taylor, 1988). There are various types of innovation which include product service innovations. Architectural innovations, innovations based on modifications to a product or service, process and organizational innovations and innovations in methods of management (Gallouj, 1988) . According to Auty, (1992), food types end food quality are important factors to make in a restaurant operation.

A restaurants image and atmosphere are important influential factors in a restaurant choice once a choice set appropriate to the occasion. The hotels may devote to providing direct services and products to the consumer but without middle market players, there would be no efficiency in the business. There is a need for a distribution channel for the hotel to thrive in a competitive and effective way in the market. Chennai is one of the most luxurious places in the world. The recent infrastructural developments that are going on in Chennai have made the country a favorite spot for many fun-seeking individuals. Chennai has a free port which enables goods to and from Chennai to be cheap. This has created a business culture in the city and many people have found Chennai to be the best business center. Goods from other countries, especially from the Far East are known to pass through Chennai en-route other destinations (Govers, Go, & Kumar, 2007). There are mega stores from which revelers can shop, different attraction cites as well as luxurious goods according to the varying tastes of the target tourists. Within the city, the attraction sites are many. To begin with, tourists have been known to come from many parts of the world in order to shop in Chennai's shopping centers and malls. The shoppers can however be divided into various segments according to the essence of goods as well as the income of the shoppers.

Chennai has been known to attract both high and low income earners (Sharpley, 2008). The high income earners frequent the city in search of prestigious products like jewelry and beauty products. The rich are the most frequent visitors of the country. This is in addition to the presence of big malls and shopping centers which promote business for the revelers. Male tourists are the most common in Chennai. The low income earners are also common in the country. This is due to the availability of goods at reduced prices. These products range from second-hand electronic goods to vehicles. As a result of the booming market of second-hand products, the country is well established for tourists from either side of the wealth scale.

The most plausible characteristic that influences the buyers are price, quality and pleasant aspects of the goods being purchased. Luxury tourism is therefore an issue that has been on the rise especially from among the western countries. Privacy, recreation and health issues are other considerations that are made by the tourists. The individuals who frequent the country are after prestigious goods as well as seeking for some privacy for their shopping activities. There are many venues that are frequented by tourists in Chennai. These are boutiques shops and malls. Age and marital status are other issues that are influence the rate with tourists frequent the city. Chennai is mostly frequented by married individuals and older persons. The younger people frequent the city less often due to the issue of income. The older people seem to have more income than the younger people and this causes the significant gap between the numbers of people frequenting the city.

This city receives some of the most prominent persons in the region. Superstars and celebrities have been known to frequent this hotel. This hotel is however not common to the low income earners. The people, who travel to see the amazing architectural structure of Burj Al Arab, increase the revenues from tourism in the country. Other than this hotel, there are hundreds of other state-of-the-art hotels which offer high quality services and luxurious treatments to the tourists.

The frequency of visits into these hotels has risen from around two million in the last two decades to over 10 million last year (Henderson, 2006). This is because, Chennai boasts of some of the best luxurious 4 and 5 star hotels in the world. Built near amazing sites, these hotels have resulted into increased tourist activities in the country.

Chennai has built some of the tallest building in the Indian region. This has resulted in an increase in the number of tourists come to view this magnificent structure. Other luxurious centers are the world's largest amusement park in the world. This amusement park brings together families into the city for leisure and fun. The existence of these highly-rated hotels has enabled the number of tourists to increase significantly each year. The availability of middle-eastern culture as well as modern technologies and cultures makes Chennai a place for all the cultures (Kanna, 2005). The city has one of the best indoor ski resorts in the world. This resort has increased the number of young tourists visiting Chennai. This resort has one of the biggest numbers of tourists in terms of bookings and extended stay as compared to many other luxurious spots.

The hotels that are in Chennai have been built in areas that make it convenient for the tourists. Most of the hotels are either near the Chennai beach or some few minutes' drive from the Chennai International airport (Anwar, & Sohail, 2004). A historical hotel like the Carlton Tower is chosen by many tourists since it was the first to be built near the famous Chennai Creek. There is also the newly built Byblos Hotel which offers high quality services to the tourists. In addition, it offers a unique Lebanese service that leaves tourists with intentions to re-visit the place.

Another hotel that makes Chennai a tourists' favorite city is the Atlantis Hotel. This hotel was recently built and it architectural design makes it one of the many Chennai landmarks. These hotels as well as others across the city have enabled the country to rise from a slumbering fishing town to a prosperous tourism city.

There are nearly 100 5-star hotels in Chennai. These are state-of-art hotels which offer world-class services to the revelers. In addition, there are over 100 other 4-star hotels in the city. These cities are strategically positioned in areas within easy reach by the revelers. The 7-star hotel in the coast of Chennai is considered as the most prestigious hotel in the world. This therefore makes the hotel to be a favorite spot for the wealthy people from around the world. Executive business meetings are also held in this hotel. Therefore, the tourists who frequent Chennai in search of luxurious services find many pleasant places to reside in.

In conclusion, Chennai has developed from a slumbering fishing town, to the current prestigious city that has become the world's favorite spot for shopping and other luxurious activities. After the discovery of oil, the city has been converted into one of the finest places for leisure as well as business. This has in turn increased the tourism revenues in the country.

By creating other outlets to service its customers, the hotel widens the market reach while establishing a closer relationship with the consumers. In logistics, factors like minimizing on cost, warehousing, transportation and business inventories make up a unified function whose role is ensuring effective running of the business.

All these factors are covered with the demand for healthier food. The demand for healthy food is evidenced all over the world. A recent survey reported that nearly half of the respondents have been asked by clients to provide healthy choices and more than 60 % thought the trend was growing.

It can then be concluded that food habit depends on the psychological, technological, social, geographic, economical and physiological factors.

Study hypothesis

There exist customer's values and preferences in the larger Chennai area, which affects the Restaurant industries and the affinity of customers to new ideas and technologies within the Restaurants industry.

To summarize the focus of the research study, we focused on the following questions;

  • To what extend is the quality of service provided in the ABC restaurant influencing the customer's reactions towards the services.
  • What is the customer's affinity to new ideas and services in the restaurants?
  • What are the customer's values and experiences in the restaurants in the physical environments?
  • How much is the social interactions influential in provision of satisfactory customers' needs.

In order to understand and carry out this research, it is then a priority to understand the importance of creation of new services in relation to how the services are perceived by the customers. The paper focused on customer's relation to the quality of services they are offered in the restaurants.

Methodology

Study design

This study was a qualitative study, whose focus was to determine the preferences of Restaurant industry customers in Chennai city, India. The study utilized questionnaires, which were easy to understand and respond to. The study focused on a number of variables as described in the variable description table on the figure below.

Study Area

The study was conducted in Chennai. The city is formerly known as Madres city, and is located on the Bay of Bengal at the Coromandel Coast. It is also the fourth most populous city in the republic of India, with an estimated population of over 4 million people (2010). The population growth is estimated at more than 7% per annum, and thus the population is anticipated to rise within the next few years, reaching about five million by the year 2015.

The Chennai population depends on various economic sectors. The main economic sector here is industry, which mainly circles around computers and computer-based technology, automobiles, technology, healthcare and pharmaceutical industries, information and communication technology and cottage industries. In automobile industry, Chennai contributes more than 60 percent of India's income gained from automobiles.

Poverty level is quite lower in the city compared to other cities in India, therefore it is expected that the Restaurant industry in this city is quite developed due to availability of customers. It was shown that the people's purchasing power as far as Restaurant industry is concerned was above average, and thus this made the city a very suitable place for the study and location of ABC. This was chosen as the city of study because its economy is more advanced than other cities in India, and has been shown to contribute more than 40 % of the GDP in Tamil Nadu state.

The city is also an important center for music and arts industry. For instance, Carnatic Music genre as well as large cultural events is held in this city, which has been attracting people from all over the country and the world in general. Every year, there is the annual Madras Music Season, which sees several works of arts and music displayed, ranging from traditional dances to modernized music, acrobatics and acting, all which have been shown to promote Restaurant industry in terms of customers availability.

Study population

In Chennai, the population as at 2010 was 4.3 million people, with the larger metropolitan having a population of about 6.7million people. This makes the city as the fourth largest in terms of population, and the fifth largest metropolitan in India. Out of this, the number of adult persons, whom this study is concerned with, was estimated at more than a half of the total population as at 2010. The city has also a growth rate of more than 7%, thus making it ideal for the study and location of the Restaurant outlet.

Most of the people are of the Tamil decent, but there are a number of immigrants from other parts of India, notably the Anglo-Indian, Bengalis and Malayalam. In addition, the city has most of its population belonging to the Hindu religion (81%), while Christians and Muslims makes up the rest of the population.

The fact that most of the people are Hindu by religion has very significant effects on the study, given that the religion has been very restrictive on diet, prohibiting meat and emphasizing more on vegetable, herbal and cereal-based diet.

Target population

The study focused on adult customers, specifically aged 18 years and above. In India, a person is referred as an adult on reaching 18 years of age. The customers who visit the restaurant must always stay in the restaurant for a while. Their presence of customers in the restaurant makes the close interpersonal links between the restaurant attendants and also by the restaurant firm as well (Lovelock, 1983).

This study aimed at studying some 384 customers, who were identified and received the questionnaires. However, the number of questionnaires that were returned was 390, and of which six were not qualified for study due to various errors. The target population was thus set at 384, and was taken as a representative of the total customers in the city, whose totals could not be established. The value 384 was come up with in the formula shown below.

The study focused on the preferences of customers in India and a likelihood of determining if the customers within the Indian cities were aware of the ABC. The study further emphasized on the customer's will of choice as far as the preferences of food was concerned. In this case, therefore, the questionnaires were distributed only to the willing customers, and the researchers then hoped to get back the reports.

However, the researchers had previously developed a consent form, which was quite brief and attached to the questionnaire form. The consent forms sought to inform the respondents that the information they provided to the research on the questionnaire sheet was absolutely be for research study, and would further be confidential. Questionnaires were developed within the research area, proofread and distributed to the potential customers. The researchers would collect the filled questionnaires through email and surface mail, as well as collecting them on the customers place as per their requests.

Data Collection and Questionnaire

The physical environmental set up for the study was the ABC restaurant in Chennai town, the restaurant is a strict vegetarian restaurant. The customers who visit the restaurant must always stay in the restaurant for a while. Their presence of customers in the restaurant makes the close interpersonal links between the restaurant attendants and also by the restaurant firm as well (Lovelock, 1983).

The data was obtained from the returned questionnaires after strict data scrutiny process, which eliminated four questionnaires due to missing links and violation of the requirements. Data collection procedures were mainly based on the computer technology, with focus on Microsoft spreadsheets and databases. Specifically, data entry was d


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