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Research Title: Investigating Expectations of customers and Service Perceptions for New Coffee Bar in Adelaide

Research Questions

The current research is aimed to answer the following research questions:

  1. What will be the customers’ expectations regarding delivery of services in Adelaide coffee bar?
  2. How perceptions regarding services in Adelaide coffee bar can be assessed?
  3. How understanding of customers’ expectations and service perceptions will contribute to success of Adelaide coffee bar?

Literature Review

The current section is aimed at reviewing the research in terms of customer expectations and quality of service in the area of restaurants and coffee shops. It is highly important for a new business to consider the aspects of customer’s expectations in terms of service quality and customer satisfaction with the purpose of generating significant success from new business.  It has been highlighted by the Grundey (2010) that before pursuing new set of ideas and introducing new services it is important to understand the concerns of customers. The business which recognizes expectations of customers in effective manner are more likely to transfer this understanding into the success of their business.

1.1 Customer’s Expectation and Services Perceptions

The customers expect in time delivery of services in return of the premium they pay against services. It has been evinced by the research of Bojanic & Rosen (1994) that customer who needs to await for the services are mainly termed as the lost customer. The justification of this argument lies in the notion that when customers are put in the situation where they need to wait longer for the delivery of services are more likely to find their business elsewhere (Brady & Cronin, 2001). The coffee shops and small restaurants need to have strong base of customers with an aim of surviving in highly competitive market. The effective delivery of services can help in maintaining the substantial customer base.  It is important to note by the practitioners that expectations of customer regarding service delivery is noteworthy for offering strong competitive advantage to service businesses (Lowe, 2013). The services are mainly of intangible nature and understanding of customer’s perceptions can play vital role in managing the expectations of customers regarding service quality and delivery.

It has been mentioned by the Caruana (2002) that nature of services is different in terms of intangibility, perishability and heterogeneity that offers higher level of applicability of quality concerns for service providers. It has been argued by Cronin, Brady & Hult (2000) that when customers are offered discretion in terms of self-service then the acceptance of customers can be enhanced. The reason for greater acceptance lies in the fact that self service allows customization, greater level of convenience and increases level of speed in the delivery of service (Sureshchandar, Rajendran & Kamalanabhan, 2001). Therefore the increased customer satisfaction can be obtained and service providers may gain competitive edge in long run.

Along with this, it is note able that due to intangible nature of services there is little evidence to suggest satisfaction of customers. However, the repeated customers are likely to serve as the evidence of business competence. Likewise, the measurement of customers perceptions in service business are hard to trace by the practitioners, due to unavailability of any tangible tool. However, it has been highlighted by the Wall, & Berry (2007) that availability of high quality service can be ensured by combining individual operators, marketing strategy, human resources and other perspectives of management for a specific restaurant of coffee shop. Likewise, the Analytical Hierarchy Process for service quality (AHP-SQ) can assist in measuring the quality of services and it can also help in measuring the improvement in service quality (Kueh & Ho Voon, 2007). There are five core dimensions or AHP-SQ including; tangibles, reliability, responsiveness, assurance and empathy. The AHP-SQ framework is highly effective for measuring the quality of services and it can also guide the decision making of service providers (Helms & Mayo, 2008). The in depth investigation on AHP-SQ dimensions’ can be of huge importance in recognizing that whether the services re accomplishing customers concerns or not. Therefore, the coffee shops can rely on realizing the higher level of all service dimensions with an aim of meeting the expectations of customers regarding service perceptions.

1.2 Three factor Framework of Customer’s Quality Expectation

The intangibility of the services make it difficult to identify the expectations of customers in terms of quality. However, the research has provided three factors framework for identifying the quality expectations of customers in service business, which can be a coffee shop (Monirul & Han, 2012). The three factors include the following; search qualities, experience qualities and credence qualities.

Search Qualities: Search qualities pertain to the experience of customer prior to taking any service or purchasing a product (Kueh & Ho Voon, 2007). In case of coffee bar the search qualities can refer to smell of the coffee and other eatable being offered at the bar. It has been mentioned by the researchers that expectations of customers regarding usage of service are solely subjective and they depend on needs of customers which they want to accomplish through utilization of services (Lowe, 2013). The service organizations that want to satisfy the needs of customers may face difficulty to deliver services in compliance with the customers’ expectations (Helms & Mayo, 2008). For opening a new coffee shop at Adelaide it is highly important to investigate the search qualities with the purpose of recognizing desires and needs of target customers.

Experience qualities: The experience qualities refer to the experience of consumers after tasting or experiencing the service. It has been asserted by Sureshchandar, Rajendran & Kamalanabhan (2001) that service organizations need to focus on experiential services, which focuses on enhancing the experience level of consumers rather than just functional benefit of the service. The experiential services help to create strong connection with the customers. It is evident that every touch point between the organization and the customer can create experience (Snipes, Oswald, LaTour & Armenakis, 2005). In case of current research, the researcher cannot evaluate the experience qualities prior to establishment of coffee bar in Adelaide. However, the efforts can be maintained for designing services in the way that can enhance experience of customers and can strengthen the bond of customers with coffee bar.

Credence Qualities: The credence qualities termed as the extent to which customers are not able to evaluate the aspects before consumption of the service (Wall & Berry, 2007). It is important to note that customers cannot judge the taste of food or drink prior to tasting it, therefore, the menu should have necessary description of food items. It is basically the expectation of customers during the service experience and also refers to the pre purchase evaluation of the customers (Sweeney, Johnson & Armstrong, 1992).  Therefore, the efforts are needed by the service organizations to increase the level of credence quality by offering necessary level of prior purchasing experience to the consumers. The coffee shop that is aimed to open in the city of Adelaide, needs to consider the aspects of credence qualities into account while focusing on design of services.

The notion of customer expectations and service perceptions provides that essence of service business lies in the satisfaction of customers. The desire to open new coffee bar in city of Adelaide can be realized by relying on ways that can help to gain higher level of customers’ satisfaction.  Therefore, it is important to design the services in the way that can not only enhance the experience of customers but enhance their loyalty for making them a repeated customers. The evidences from literature can be of huge importance for underlying research project and it can shape the success factors of new coffee bar to be opened in Adelaide.

 

2.      Research Methods

The selection of effective design of research is mainly important for appropriately answering the underlying research question. There are two research philosophies that can be relied by the researcher including positivist and interpretivist (Kumar & Phrommathed, 2005). The positivist philosophy relies on considering the researcher as a separate entity and lowers the involvement of researcher. The interpretivist philosophy focuses on multiple interpretation of the research issue. The current study will rely on interpretivist philosophy as it will allow the in depth investigation of and will offer the detailed insight regarding expectations of customers and perception of services for new coffee business in the city of Adelaide. In terms of research design, the researcher can rely on either quantitative or qualitative design. There are numerous benefits as well as drawbacks associated with both types of design (Kothari, 2004). The current research study will imply qualitative research method. The qualitative research design will provide an opportunity to investigate the research issue with greater depth (Neuman, 2002). The incorporation of qualitative design can be justified by the fact that Adeliade coffee bar has not opened yet and in order to establish ground for establishment of new coffee bar, the qualitative data will offer significant support. The current research is relying on a complex phenomenon that is aimed at investigating the market conditions for opening up new coffee business in terms of customers’ expectations and perceptions of services. Therefore, the qualitative data will help in gaining in depth investigation of the research issue (Marczyk, DeMatteo & Festinger, 2005).

2.1 Data Management

Data Collection:

The current research will rely on secondary sources of data. The secondary analysis refers to the reliance on already researched data for the purpose of answering the research questions. There are number of benefits associated with secondary data to which the most important advantage pertains to the minimum required resources including time and money (Newman & Benz, 1998). The secondary data is easy to access by the researchers and marketers through online access. Likewise, the secondary data has already been implied by other researchers and it is feasible to consider for answering the research question (Kumar & Phrommathed, 2005). The administrative and consensus data can help in gaining insight from larger population. Along with this, the background work that is needed for research has already been considered in secondary data such as literature review. Likewise, the published data and has already been considered as valid and it provide evidence of greater generalizability that does not demand for re-examination of validity while carrying out research.

The data will be acquired by conducting an extensive review of the literature on the underlying phenomenon with the purpose of gaining insight of the underlying research issue. The reliance on literature review is considered as an important method of data collection as it allows the researcher to extend study on the data that has gained consensus of numerous researchers (Bryman, 2006). The literature review is also important as the data has been tested and re tested and it can be considered as highly reliable and valid. Following by this, the literature as secondary source of data can be easily accessed by the researchers. In accumulation to literature review, the researcher will also rely on published reports of the organization, that is case of current research will be the reports of coffee shops. The published reports will offer significant insight on the focal research issue by providing extensive information of intricacies of coffee business. Following by this, the publicly available data will also be considered substantially in the current research that could be in the form of statistics, demographic or visual.

Data Analysis

The type of the data that will be implied in current research is qualitative. The qualitative data will be in the form of description of coffee business in terms of customer’s expectations and perceptions of customers about quality of services.

In order to carry out analysis of qualitative data, the reliance will be maintained on content analysis. The content analysis is considered as an effective method for analysing qualitative information as it may allow to view data in the form of patterns (Patton, 1990). The interpretation of content can help in gaining detailed view of the underlying research issue. The reliance on content analysis is reflected as an important perspective for understanding the patterns in data and for answering the research questions in appropriate manner (Strauss & Corbin, 1998).

2.2 Ethical Responsibilities

The research needs to consider aspects of ethicality with an aim of avoiding research issues. There are number of ethical aspects associated with the secondary data. One of the significant concern regarding ethicality of secondary data is the likely harm to the research subjects, which requires significant reliance on consent for gaining access to data (Kumar & Phrommathed, 2005). The review of ethical board prior to usage of secondary data depends largely on the amount of useable information in secondary data. The data with lower level of identifying information is less likely to be exposed to the ethical review board, while data containing codes is more likely to require information of board for interpretation of codes (Bryman, 2006). Likewise, the data that has substantial amount of identifying information is susceptible to be exposed in front of board with an aim of protecting linkage of information with participants. Followed by the fulfilment of board conditions regarding usage of secondary data, the researcher can request for consent weaver.

Along with this, the secondary data that is readily available for public on internet in the form of books and published reports of the organization, the ethical concern may requires acknowledgement of the original sources by the researcher (Attride-Stirling, 2001). In case, the current research uses information of the data that has already been collected by another research team, then written permission will be obtained by the owning entity of data. Likewise, after obtaining permission regarding usage of data, it is the ethical responsibility of the researcher to use data only for underlying research purpose along with protecting it from harm and damage by other entities (Strauss & Corbin, 1998). Along with this, the research participants must be well aware of the usage of data and their consent in required every time when the data is used. Finally, in case of published reports of any organization, it is important to consider that results of study are not aimed at harming the image of that organization. Therefore, by being relying on secondary data, the current research will consider the mentioned ethical concerns into account and it will not violate ethical rules in any manner.

 

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3.      Findings

In order to draw the findings for current research study, the reliance has maintained on investigation of several secondary sources. It has found from the review of research articles on demand of coffee that around 20 million cups of hot drinks are consumed every year, which is comprised of greater proportion of coffee as compared to tea (Monirul & Han, 2012). The greater demand for coffee is offering an opportunity for opening up a new coffee bar in Adelaide with an aim of capturing market share. The study of secondary sources on consumption of coffee and customer’s preferences has revealed that understating of customer’s expectations and perceptions serves as the key to enhance customer’s satisfaction.

3.1 Investigation of customers’ expectations regarding delivery of services in Adelaide coffee bar

Furthermore, the study has found that customers’ expectations regarding services of restaurants and coffee bars underpins specific psychological aspects and preferences are offered to pursue services from the coffee bars which are aligned with expectations of customers (Snipes, Oswald, LaTour & Armenakis, 2005; Sureshchandar, Rajendran & Kamalanabhan, 2001). One of the instance regarding customer’s expectations which has found in current study is the time of receiving order. It is observed from the analysis that most of customers expect to receive their food items within 10 to 15 minutes of giving order and if time exceeds than expected, the customers began to complaints about services of coffee bars. Therefore, for the new coffee bar in Adelaide, it is highly important to devise their service level and train the staff to deliver services within expected time duration of customers.

The study has found that there are mainly two types of attributes that are depicting the quality of services within food industry (Sweeney, Johnson & Armstrong, 1992). First is the “quality attributes” and second is “intuitive attributes”. The quality attributes are under the control of management which are related to taste and presentation of food items in coffee bar. The quality attributes also target physical environment and behaviour of the staff.  While on the other hand, the intuitive attributes are related with the experiences of customers in coffee bar regarding service and atmosphere. It has exposed from the results of current study that congruence of management’s perceptions about the customer’s expectations is highly important for designing the services. The lack of understanding of customer’s expectations by the management can lead to design of poor services.

Furthermore, the study of Wall & Berry (2007) has indicated that there are number of factors associated with service quality that are making the basis of customer’s expectations. One of the factor is competence which provides that customers expect to visit the restaurant or coffee bars in which service providers have knowledge about the customer’s needs. The providers of services lay an effort to meet the needs of customers and they serve them in best possible manner. The competency of service providing staff is highly important for understanding as well as satisfaction of customer’s expectations. Along with this, the courtesy of staff is also important for the customers. In terms of courtesy the customers expects politeness, respect and consideration from the service providers. The management of coffee bars who offer substantial importance to being courteous towards customers are much likely to meet the expectations of customers in effective manner. Followed by this, the credibility of coffee bar management is also desired by the customers. The trustworthiness of the management is highly expected by the customers and satisfaction of customer’s can help in meeting high performance standards of the coffee bar.

 

3.2 Investigation of perceptions regarding services in Adelaide coffee bar

In order to investigate the perceptions of customers regarding service quality, the evidences from obtained mainly from the study of (Carman, 1990). The instrument that is being used widely for assessment of service quality and perceptions of customers is termed as SRVQUAL, which is comprised of different dimensions that is forming the construct (Brown, Churchill & Peter, 1993; Schneider, White & Paul, 1998)). The reliance on six dimensions of service quality was maintained including the following; tangibles, food quality, reliability, responsiveness, assurance and empathy. The results have provided that tangibles includes the attractiveness of the place and visualization of coffee bar. The neat, well-behaved and well-groomed staff is also considered as an important aspect of tangibles. The current study has found that is significant association of tangibles with the perceptions of customers. The New coffee bar in Adelaide may become successful by offering due importance to improve the tangibility aspect of coffee bar with an aim of shaping positive perceptions of customers. Followed by this, the food quality is an important dimension that constitutes customer perceptions. In case of coffee bar, the quality of hot drinks and other eatables that are served along are required to be fresh, well presented and tasty. The study has found that variety of food offered is directly related with perceptions of customers. Therefore, in case of newly opened coffee bar, to generate positive perceptions of customers, it is highly important to offer variety of drinks. The Adelaide has diversity of people living in, so coffee bar may offer hot drinks that are famous in different areas of the world.

The reliability is third important dimension of customer’s perceptions. The study has explored that reliability is associated with effort and interests of coffee bar to consider and correct what is wrong about the service delivery and quality. The reliability is also depicted by the ability of coffee bar to serve order of customers within promised time and providing them that they exactly order. The fair dealing with customers and provision of accurate bills also increase the reliability of coffee bar. The research has found that reliance on increasing reliability can shape the positive perceptions of customers regarding service quality of coffee bar. In order to assess service perceptions for the coffee bar in Adelaide, the focus on reliability can be maintained by the management of coffee bar.

 

 

In addition to these dimensions, the evidences obtained in the current study has further indicated that aspects of staff, price, environment and atmosphere are also important for defining establishment of service perceptions of customers. The effectiveness of staff is recognized on two aspects; competent and friendly. The price indicates the service charges and environment is characterized by own tables and spacious. The atmosphere is desired as friendly and full of comfort. The results have provided that all of these aspects are highly important for shaping customer’s perceptions regarding service quality. The formation of new coffee bar in Adelaide must be based on these results as it can help in establishment of high perceptions of customers regarding quality of service and satisfaction with the coffee bar.

3.3 Assessing contribution of customers’ expectations and service perceptions in success of Adelaide coffee bar

The results of the study have offered that both the understanding of customers’ expectations and perceptions about quality of services play an important role in defining the overall effectiveness and success of coffee bar. It has been extracted from the study of (Bojanic, & Rosen, 1994; Brady & Cronin, 2001; Cronin, Brady & Hult, 2000) that when expectations of customers are identified and met by the coffee bar or the restaurant, then there arise sense of satisfaction among customers. The satisfied customers are likely to increase their visits of coffee bar and they may become the most loyal customers. The frequent visits of customers will increase the sale level of new coffee bar in Adelaide and the higher level of revenue will be generated. The generation of increased revenue will help the coffee bar to achieve their goals of performance. The satisfaction of customers’ expectations will also help the coffee bar to compete with other already established coffee bars by generating higher share in market.

Followed by this, the customers compare the delivery of service with the perceived level of quality which is mainly subconscious standard of evaluating the service. When the customers encounter the services in coffee bar, the most immediate aspect is to judgement of services. The high quality services are more likely to comply with the perceptions of customers. When the customers find an evidence of tangible and intangible dimensions of service quality then their response is reflected in the form of satisfaction with the services. The satisfaction of customers and their happiness with the services of coffee bar helps the management to realize their objectives.

Therefore, the results have offered a satisfactory evidence to answer the last research question. It can be maintained that in order to become successful in the city of Adelaide, it is important for the new coffee bar to understand the expectations of customers and to assess the customers’ perceptions about service quality.

4.      Discussion

The aim of current study was to guide the formation of new coffee bar in terms of fulfilment of customer’s expectations and generation of positive perceptions of customers in terms of service quality of coffee bar. The study revolved around three research questions that have answered through investigation of secondary sources of data. Mainly the evidences from literature are being used. Specifically, the research on restaurants and coffee bars is being targeted.

First research question has focused on the notion that what will be expectations of customers about new coffee bar in Adelaide. It is important to consider from results of current study that customers offer substantial importance to fulfilment of their expectations. If they feel that selected coffee bar is meeting their expectations in effective manner and they are being well served then there is likeliness that customer will visit the coffee bar again. The frequency of customer’s visits may enhance and the results could be in the form of high performance and productivity level of coffee bar. By gaining understanding of customer’s expectations, the management of new coffee bar in Adelaide can lay their focus on serving the customers in way that can help them to meet expectations of customers to gain their loyalty and satisfaction. Therefore, the new coffee bar management can gain guidance in terms of service provision. These findings are completing the views from previous researchers (Bojanic, & Rosen, 1994; Brady & Cronin, 2001; Helms & Mayo, 2008).

The second research question has focused on assessment of service quality perceptions for new coffee bar in Adelaide.  The results of the study has provided that service quality perceptions are based on different dimensions of service delivery within coffee bar. The dimensions are divided into two core aspects; tangibles and intangibles. The significant association of all the dimensions with service quality perceptions has provided that by relying on different aspects of service delivery, the openers of new coffee bar in Adelaide can establish favourable perceptions of customers. These results are highly aligned with the prior related studies (Kueh & Ho Voon, 2007; Cronin, Brady & Hult, 2000)

The last research questions has emphasized on contribution of customer’s expectations and establishment of service quality perceptions on success of new coffee bar in Adelaide. The study has provided that when a coffee bar provide services according to expectations of customers, then there are more chances to get favourable customer related outcomes. The coffee bar can enhance the customer base and increasing number of customer visits will help in achieving goals of performance. Along with this, the fulfilment of customer’s expectations of continuous basis will help the coffee bar to gain loyalty of customers, which is required for long term growth of organization. Likewise, the service quality perceptions of customers are also substantially important for achieving the performance goals of organization. The customer’s whose perceptions are being met are likely to get satisfied with the quality of services and their frequency to visit the coffee bar may increase. Thus, the success of coffee bar can enhanced by the contribution of customer’s expectations and perceptions about service quality. These results are highly in line with the findings of (Caruana, 2002; Monirul & Han, 2012).

5.      Conclusion

To sum up, the current research has focused on exploring the contribution of understanding customer’s expectation and service quality perceptions for the success of new coffee bar in Adelaide. In order to fulfil aim of study, the detailed investigation has carried out about the exploration of factors that can help in understanding of customer’s expectations and perceptions of service quality. The analysis of secondary data has carried out and results have provided that both the fulfilment of customer’s expectations and positive perceptions of service quality can help in generating success of new coffee bar in Adelaide.

5.1 Recommendations for implementation

The results of current research study have considerable implications for both theory and practice. In terms of practical implications, it is important to consider that assessment of customer’s expectation needs to be carried out by the organizations operating in food industry. The customers are highly sensitive about the quality and taste of food and mainly visit of coffee bar and restaurant is motivated by the certain level of expectations about environment, food and service of the place. Therefore, the practitioners can understand the notion that they need to offer significant importance to fulfilment of customer’s expectations with an aim of satisfying them. The establishment of new coffee bar should mainly be guided by the expectations and perceptions of the customers. The management of new coffee bar in Adelaide can seek guidance from current study. For instance, the owner who is willing to open a new coffee bar in Adelaide can understand from the results of present study that delivery of tangible and intangible aspects (food quality, reliability, responsiveness, assurance and empathy) of the service in coffee bar can help them to generate positive perceptions of customers. Therefore, they may achieve their desired goals by considering the results of present study and implicating them in their coffee bar.

Followed by this, the results of current research study have some theoretical implications as well. The research study has highlighted the association of customer’s expectations and perceptions of service quality on success of coffee bar. There are limited studies that are guiding the opening of new coffee bar in terms of customers’ expectations and service quality perceptions. Moreover, the much of literature is focusing only on US context and present research can be a good addition in growing stream of extant literature.

5.2 Limitations

Instead of plenty of associated benefits and implications, there are certain limitations associated with present research study that may affect the way of implementing findings on wider setting. One of the substantial limitation that may hinder the implication of results lies in the fact that focus was maintained mainly on previous researchers and their review was conducted to draw findings for current research. The specific context of the Adelaide city is lacking. There might be some cultural and other variables that can shape the customer’s expectations and perceptions of service quality differently. The exclusion of those variables may limit the scope of present research study. Likewise, the research findings cannot be generalized for the coffee bars and restaurants of developing and under developing countries, as they may give greater importance to cost in comparison to other aspects of services.

The present research has considered secondary data for answering the underlying research questions, however the data may be obsolete and it may lack the aspect of recency. The lack of recent trends may offer caution to generalize findings.

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5.3 Guidance for Future Research

The limitations highlighted for current research are offering the direction to future researchers. The future researchers might rely on collecting primary data that has higher level of inclusion for recent patterns and trends. The study can also be replicated in less developed and developing countries with an aim of exploring other factors in addition to customer’s expectation and perceptions of service quality that has an influence on purchasing decision of customers. Likewise, the incorporation of cultural aspects can also be pursued by the future researchers with an aim of investigating differences in customer’s expectations and service perceptions, belonging to different cultures and geographical regions. Along with this, the future researchers can rely on obtaining data about service perceptions both before and after receiving the service from restaurant. It will help in gaining clear understanding of the impact of actual service delivery on establishment of perceptions of customers about service delivery.

 

 

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