An analysis of effects of waiting time lengths on efficiency of service in food outlets in Nairobi
The hospitality and service sector have been facing frequent service delays to their customers a bad experience for its clients. One of the reasons behind this is the queuing system prevailing in this sector. Waiting is inevitable in any service organization. Hence queues are formed. A long queue makes customer dissatisfied whereas increasing servers to decrease the length of a queue increases costs. This study intended to investigate the prevailing queuing system in selected restaurants in Nairobi's Central Business District (NCBD) by evaluating the influence of waiting time on service quality and customer satisfaction. The data was collected through a questionnaire administered to 134 food outlet managers and assistant managers. Out of these, 119 responses were received (89% response rate) and analyzed. Selection of the food outlets was by a census of all the food outlets appearing under "restaurant" category in the 2010 Telkom Kenya Nairobi directory. The data was then analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). From this data results of the study are presented in the form of tables, pie charts and bar graphs. Some targeted respondents were unwilling to participate in the study while a few of the restaurants listed in the yellow pages of the directory had closed down at the time of the ' study and therefore could not provide any information. From this study it was established that the rule of first come first served is well respected . in NCBD food outlets. Secondly it emerged from the study that number of servers was very important in the provision of efficient services. Thirdly managing cost of service provision was found to be very important in order to avoid losses while providing quick service. Finally it was established that management should be alert during peak periods due to high numbers of arrivals and resulting complaints during this period. Following on this study the recommendations are firstly that food outlets should develop rules and procedures that are friendly to customers as they wait in line. Secondly food outlets in NCBD should work towards reducing average waiting time. Thirdly they should have contingent work force during peak times. This study recommends further study on waiting time in transport service especially the "matatu" sector and also waiting time in public hospitals where waiting can be quite long.