Dining atmospherics and food and service quality as predictors of customer satisfaction at sit-down restaurants
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South African sit-down restaurants operate in a fiercely competitive environment and customer satisfaction has proven critical for survival in this and other service industries. A satisfied customer spreads positive word-of-mouth, returns, and contributes to profitability. Extant literature indicates that customer satisfaction is in turn impacted by product and service quality, and also by the atmospheric elements present in the servicescape. It is, however, important to determine the extent to which food and service quality and dining atmospherics predict customer satisfaction within a South African sit-down restaurant context before restaurateurs embark on marketing strategies to enhance these aspects to cultivate customer satisfaction. The study therefore measures these constructs and determines the extent to which they predict customer satisfaction. The study is quantitative and descriptive in nature. Data was collected through self-administered questionnaires from 250 sit-down restaurant diners in urban areas of South Africa’s North-West Province. The results indicate that respondents’ perceptions of food and service quality are significant predictors of customer satisfaction at sit-down restaurants. Respondents’ perceptions of dining atmospherics also predict customer satisfaction when food and service quality are controlled. The article provides recommendations on how dining atmospherics, food quality and service quality can be enhanced to improve customer satisfaction at sit-down restaurants.