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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to determine consumer perceptions of service quality in wet markets and supermarkets in Hong Kong. Design/methodology/approach ‐ A questionnaire was developed and distributed via a convenience sample to consumers in shopping malls in Causeway Bay, Mong Kok and Tsuen Wan. Findings ‐ The study finds that supermarkets outperformed wet markets across all aspects of service quality as measured by SERVQUAL-P. Research limitations/implications ‐ Implications suggest that wet market vendors are not providing the level of service quality demanded by their customers. In particular, findings suggest that wet market vendors need to improve the visual attractiveness of their stalls, work on making them look more professional and start using more modern equipment. Practical implications ‐ Wet market vendors in conjunction with government representatives need to develop standards of service quality for wet markets across Hong Kong. This is imperative if the wet market model is to survive in what is a highly competitive food retailing industry. Without action, it appears that the supermarketization of the Hong Kong food retailing industry will continue unabated. Originality/value ‐ This paper adds to a small but growing research stream examining service quality in the food retailing industry in Hong Kong. It provides empirical results that guide suggested actions for change.