An assessment of service quality as perceived by customers in five star restaurants in Nairobi, Kenya
Opondo, Josephine Atieno
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The tenet of this study is that despite hospitality staff claiming to offer quality services many customers' expectations are not met. Staff tend to focus on tangible elements of the products in their role as service providers. Service providers should regularly monitor service quality and customer satisfaction in an attempt to improve customer retention. Inappropriate or inadequate treatment can result in customer dissatisfaction. The purpose of the study was to assess various quality aspects of service as perceived by the customers in five star restaurants in Nairobi. The study aimed at determining the difference in attitudes and expectations of both customers and service providers. A descriptive survey design was used to evaluate service quality as perceived by customers in selected five star restaurants in Nairobi. This design enabled the researcher to gather information, summarize, present and interpret information for the purpose of clarification The study was restricted to three, five star restaurants in Nairobi, namely: A, B and C.The letters have been used for anonymity reasons. Simplerandom method was used to select three restaurants from the classification of hotels andi~sta'urants. Convenient sampling and stratified methods were used to select subjects for the study. Customers from each of the three restaurants were conveniently selected (A 125, B 120 and C 40). Three restaurant managers < and 22 waiting staff were also interviewed. Data were collected using; rating scale, questionnaires and interview schedules. Observation forms and guest comment cards were also used. Data collected were analyzed using both descriptive and inferential statistics. The main techniques used to analyze data were the Chi-square (x2), Pearson Product- moment correlation (r), Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) and factor analysis. The result of study showed that five top ranked customer satisfaction dimensions revealed that customers were extremely satisfied with; customers' problems treated sympathetically, staff knowledgeable about products, friendliness and politeness of staff, food is fresh and there is no mix up in orders or bills. The study found that the customers were extremely satisfied with the restaurant's reliability, empathy, assurance and responsiveness. However, they were satisfied with tangibles. From this study the reseafcher concludes that; Customers are satisfied with the quality of services provided by the five star restaurants in Nairobi. The restaurants meet the requirements for five star restaurants as established in the criteria for classification of restaurants; Different restaurants provide customers with different levels of satisfaction and majority of the working staff are satisfied with the working conditions within the restaurants. Based on the study, it is recommended that a focus should be made in areas such as empathy, responsiveness and assurance so as to retain and attract more customers. Since majority of the waiting staff are dissatisfied with the pay they received, the management of the five star restaurants should review the pay of staff to ensure that the workers get their rightful dues. This can enhance the quality of service they deliver to customers.