Perceived service delivery and productivity in the food and beverage sector in Potchefstroom
Viljoen, Adam Herman
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The importance of management in the food and beverage sector as well as managing food and beverage service employees are crucial aspects that influence quality service delivery. The food and beverage sector is a large service orientated segment of the greater tourism industry, and effective management of employees is therefore necessary since employees are regarded as the primary resource through which establishments deliver services. One might further argue that an employee is “the service” that customers pay for, and that the employees make the intangible service, tangible by their efficiency. The food and beverage sector is however burdened with many challenges such as long working hours, poor remuneration and unskilled employees that influence the overall working conditions of employees and furthermore their overall job satisfaction. The job satisfaction experienced by employees is closely related to Quality of Work Life, which enables employees to design their own level of job satisfaction that will contribute to improved perceived service delivery and productivity. Investigating the needs of employees and how they perceive their own service delivery and productivity is a very important consideration as these contribute to job satisfaction. The rational is that Quality of Work Life contributes to the perceived service delivery and performance of employees as satisfied employees tend to be more hardworking, more productive and will offer better quality services, especially in a service-orientated sector such as the food and beverage sector. The primary goal of the study was to determine the perceived service delivery and productivity in the food and beverage sector, by investigating how commercial food and beverage service employees in Potchefstroom, North-West Province of South Africa, perceive their own service delivery and productivity. In order to reach the goal of the study a self-administrated questionnaire was distributed among food and beverage service employees at various types of establishments such as hotel restaurants, family restaurants, restaurants, fast food outlets, bars, coffee shops and commercial caterers. A total of 224 questionnaires were obtained and included in the statistical data analysis. The data was captured and analysed in the Statistical Package of Social Sciences (SPSS), while Amos was utilised for the Structural Equation Model (SEM). The statistical analysis used in this study consisted of three (3) stages. Firstly, the profile of the respondents, the work life domains and the employees’ business environment was compiled with the help of two-way frequency tables and illustrated with the help of Figures and Tables. Secondly, an Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) was done on the work life domains and Finally a Structural Equation Model was performed to indicate the relationship between the work life domains and the influence thereof on perceived service delivery and productivity. The Principal Axis Factor analysis identified seven factors namely job attributes, social attributes, esteem attributes, actualisation attributes, creativity and aesthetic attributes, organisational support and employee commitment and perceived service delivery and productivity. Service and productivity business environment attributes scored the highest mean value (4.00) and this was followed by the esteem work life domain (3.68). Structural Equation Models were performed to indicate the relationship between the work life domains, business environment attributes and the influence thereof on perceived service delivery and productivity. The correlations between the factors in the final SEM indicated that though there exists correlations between organisational support and employee commitment and actualisation attributes, between actualisation and job attributes, and between organisational support and employee commitment and job attributes. Creativity and aesthetic attributes and job attributes indicated correlations, while, organisational support and creativity and aesthetic attributes correlated. Actualisation and creativity and aesthetic attributes correlated as well. This indicates that food and beverage managers have to improve the working conditions of employees as well as provide the appropriate level of recognition to the hardworking employees. Management should consider the recommendations that are made in terms of job satisfaction of food and beverage service employees, as it possesses the ability to influence organisational performance and success. This research was the first study conducted among employees in the commercial food and beverage sector. It made a considerable contribution to literature as, there is to date, limited research available on the influence that Quality of Work life has on the perceived service delivery and productivity of employees in the food and beverage sector. Furthermore, this research provides valuable insights into the job satisfaction and perceived service delivery and productivity of South African food and beverage employees and how best to manage these employees with South African working conditions in mind. There is, however, ample opportunity to expand this type of research in many other tourism industries or sectors, to understand the degree to which employees’ perceptions of their own service delivery and productivity might influence organisational performance. Expanding this research will therefore be invaluable as organisational performance is the main objective of all commercial establishments as it contributes to the improvement of the sector and its competitiveness and profitability.