Tipping Impetus on Food Service Quality in Two and Three Star Hotels within Kisumu County-Kenya
O, Were Simon
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Tipping is believed to be the foundation of compromised food service quality within hotel restaurants. This is as a result of the discriminatory food service, with a predispo-sition towards clients who are perceived to be good tippers unlike bad tippers as well as non-tippers. Thus selective food service, which is partly associated with the tipping ability of clients, remains a challenge to hotel managers as it is the main contribution to restaurant service failures. The purpose of this study therefore was to establish the tip-ping impetus on food service quality in two and three star hotels. Equity theory, reci-procity theory, and the social norm theory were applied by the study to yield the pro-posed fusion model of tipping. The study was guided by four specific objectives; to de-termine the relationship of rewards upon perception of service on food service quality, to examine the association between incentives for improved future service and food ser-vice quality, to establish the relationship of the social norms of tipping on food service quality and to investigate the moderating effect of demographic factors on the relation-ship between tipping and food service quality in two and three star hotels within Kisu-mu County. Descriptive and exploratory research survey designs were adopted. The study was carried out in nine hotels within Kisumu County, among which one hotel was selected for pre-testing. On the other hand, respondents constituted food service clients and managers, who were selected via simple random sampling as well as purposive sampling respectively. Thus 384 food service clients, eight food and beverage as well as general managers were sampled. Questionnaires, semi-structured interview guides and content analysis were used in the collection of data. Reliability was determined by Cronbach‟s coefficient Alpha test (> 0.70) while content validity was used to assess the internal validity of the research instruments. The study applied Pearson‟s correlation coefficient, Linear regression, Multiple regression, Hierarchical Multiple regression as well as Stepwise Multiple regression at 0.05% level of significance to determine the re-lation, direction and magnitude between the study variables and test the hypotheses. The study results show that respondents‟ food service quality was significantly related to rewards upon perception of service (P ˂ 0.05). Further, the correlation analysis yielded results showing that respondents food service quality was significantly related to incen-tives for improved future service (rho = 0.453). Nonetheless, respondents food service quality was significantly related to the social norms (F = 14.27, P ˂ 0.05). And lastly, the study found a moderating effect of the demographic factors on the relationship be-tween tipping and food service quality. Further, the study gave results indicating service level as the best tipping-food service quality predictor (t = 3.714, Sig. 0.000), while al-cohol consumption was the least predictor (t = -1.172, Sig. 0.242). The study therefore recommended the ministry of Tourism and Wildlife to establish and document a tipping policy in order to have control on the tipping process across the entire hospitality ser-vices industry for purposes of ensuring standardized, excellent and continuous food ser-vice quality.