Critical Service Encounters in Hotel Restaurants: The Personnel's Perspective

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Abstract:

This paper explores frontline hotel restaurant workers' experiences of critical service encounters by employing the Five Aspects Meal Model (FAMM) as a frame of reference. The questions raised in this study were: Which satisfactory and dissatisfactory incidents can be found in the different aspects of the restaurant experience according to employees? How can they be categorised under these aspects? A critical incident technique was employed to collect experiences of critical service encounters together with projective techniques. The findings of the study suggest that frontline workers experience critical service encounters related to four (Room, Meeting, Product, Management Control System) out of the five aspects of FAMM. Only a limited number of incidents were found in the Room aspect compared to the other three aspects. The largest proportions of incidents were found in Meeting and Product aspects of the meal experience. This insight may guide management of restaurants when making decisions in, for example, the recruitment, information and training of workers, the development of products and suitable management control systems as well as design of physical surroundings. Earlier research has explored the meal experience from a management as well as customer perspective. In this study, employees' experiences are in focus, which constitute the main research contribution of the study.

Keywords: Five Aspects Meal Model; Restaurant workers; critical incident technique; critical service encounters

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15022250.2011.525027

Affiliations: ETOUR, Mid Sweden University, Sweden

Publication date: April 1, 2011

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