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Servicescape Evaluation for Steak Restaurant

Info: 9232 words (37 pages) Dissertation
Published: 10th Dec 2019

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Tagged: Business Analysis

A new steak restaurant “Le Viande et Vin” will be opening in The Old Town in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire (Appendix 1). The restaurant’s name translates from the French to mean “The Meat and Wine”. As the French specialise in quality cuisine consumers will therefore associate the restaurant with a high quality fine dining experience (Appendix 2). Beaconsfield is a market town situated 24 miles west of London; the Old Town is well kept and possesses a gracious main street with many interesting shops, restaurants and pubs (Visitbuckinghamshire.org, 2017). The current location contains high quality and sophisticated restaurants offering a range of cuisines (Appendix 3). Le Viande et Vin will be the first steak and grill restaurant to open in Beaconsfield offering a high quality evening dinner experience, extensive wines, and will specialise in quality steaks. Le Viande et Vin will offer something unique from other steak restaurants, the restaurant will offer each customer a free glass of the wine, complimentary to the cut of meat ordered. This new fine dining restaurant will aim to attract middle to high class couples and families with high disposable incomes. Beaconsfield is a wealthy area with the highest average house prices outside London An average house there costs £1,049,659(Independent, 2017) with an average income per household of £71,700 (Mail Online, 2013).

This assignment is going to explore in detail the servicescape for Le Viande et Vin particularly looking at the dining area and waiting area. Bitner’s (1992) framework (Appendix 4) suggests that the servicescape can affect both customer and employee responses and satisfaction (Bitner, 2001). Hightower et al (2002) concluded that the ‘servicescape does give a significant influence on consumer behavioural intentions’ and Davis (1984) suggested that organisations facilities and the design and layout can also influence employees behaviour. Bitner recognises that consumers scan the ambient conditions, layout, furnishing and artefacts and combine them to derive an overall impression of the environment (holistic environment). Bitner’s framework is supported by the Mehrabian-Russel (1974) Stimulus-Response Model (Appendix 5) that suggests that the environmental stimuli affect an individual’s emotional state which in return affect approach or avoidance response S-O-R model. The responses to a restaurant environment can be classified in terms of approach behaviours including dining for longer and increased expenditure and avoidance behaviours including dining for less time and decreased expenditure. Russel’s Model of Affect (1980) (Appendix 6) can be used by organisations to determine the designated emotional state that is appropriate for the organization, Le Viande et Vin aims to create a relaxing, pleasant dining environment (Appendix 7).

 

Ambient Conditions

Several authors have identified ambient conditions as a factor that affects perceptions of and human responses to the environment. Ambient conditions include background characteristics of the environment such as temperature, lighting, noise, music and scent (Bitner, 2012).

Music

Le Viande et Vin will have slow tempo, classical music playing at a moderate volume level.  The music tempo, genre and volume effect consumers’ behaviour and emotions. Music can be manipulated to encourage diners to stay for longer and spend more however Ballantine (2010) stated that music can also have a negative effect on customers when not used correctly.

According to Milliman (1986), slow tempo music will result in customers dining for significantly longer than in fast tempo music conditions.  Consumers exposed to slow tempo music spent an average of 13.56 minutes longer at the restaurant than those exposed to fast tempo music. The slow tempo music also has an impact on expenditure; Milliman (1986) noted that there is no significant difference in the expenditure on food between the slow tempo and fast-tempo condition, however the expenditure on drinks is higher and can increase by 40%.  Caldwell and Hibbert (1999) findings supported the findings of Milliman (1986). However in contrast to Milliman (1986), Caldwell and Hibbert (1999) showed that expenditure on food as well as drinks was higher in the slow tempo music condition in restaurants. These findings suggest that slow tempo music relaxes customers and encourages a longer dwell-time that will persuade consumers to spend more at the restaurant thus strengthening the reasoning for the choice of slow tempo music.

The use of slow tempo music in the waiting area reduces the customers’ perception of how long they have spent in the restaurant.  Therefore by playing slow tempo music in the waiting area, as opposed to fast tempo music. The consumers perception of time spent waiting to be seated at a table is underestimated whereas fast tempo music overestimated the consumers perception of waiting time  which leads to unsatisfied customers (Kellaris and Kent, 1991).

Classical music is associated with items of higher prices that consumers are willing to pay more than no music or easy listening (North & Hargreaves, 1998). Areni and Kim’s (1993) findings were that classical music led to customers purchasing more expensive items. Le Viande et Vin’s menu contains expensive steaks for sharing such as Chateaubriand and Porterhouse, and a range of expensive wines therefore by playing classical music it is more likely to encourage customers to purchase the more expensive cuts of meat and wines. The classical music appeals and attracts middle-upper class people, which is the target market for the fine dining steak restaurant and helps to avoid youthful people. The use of classical music deters unwanted customers from the restaurant as classical music.

The volume of background music is critical in the restaurant environment ensuring that the diners do not find the background music disruptive, too loud or intrusive. Noise, or loudness of a sound can be annoying and irritating to customers as it makes it difficult to socialize. As dining out is a social event, it is vital the volume level allows customers to interact with their companions whilst dining. Milliman (1986) shows that to create pleasurable atmosphere in a restaurant, background music should be smoothing. However Herrington and Capella (1996), in contrast, found no support for the effects of tempo and volume of music on shopping time and expenditure. The volume of music also affects the dining duration when loud music is played compared to soft, significantly less time is spent in the restaurant (Smith and Curnow, 1966).

Further, for the music to create a “pleasant companion” amongst employees rather than a source of stress, repetition must be avoided (Skandrani et al, 2011). The restaurant will therefore have a variety of playlists depending upon the season with numerous number of tracks to ensure employee satisfaction (Appendix 8).

Scent

Matilla and Wirtz (2001) findings were that when the arousal levels of ambient scent and background music acted together to provide a coherent atmosphere, consumers evaluations of the dining experience were enhanced and the consumer will react more positively. Therefore, the scent of Lavender will be used in the restaurant to match the low arousal music.

Lavender aroma results in a longer dining duration and increases expenditure. It is suggested that the positive effect that the lavender scent has on dining duration is caused by its relaxing effect (Diego et al, 1998). Studies found that lavender increased drowsiness (Buchbauer et al., 1993) and induced sleep (Van Toller, 1988). The lavender will relax the diners in the restaurant and as a result the diners will stay longer, and in return influence the expenditure: when people are relaxed and content they will order additional drinks and spend more. In a study on a Pizzeria in Brittany, France the relaxing scent of lavender increased spending per person by 20% (Spring.org.uk, 2007). In contrast to lavender, rosemary is usually used in restaurants to stimulate the appetite and focus the senses, but this scent is quite strong therefore causes high arousal (Thorn, 2002). Therefore the use of rosemary would lead to a mismatch of arousal as the slow music used in the restaurant results in low arousal and the rosemary results in high arousal, and this would lead to lower level of customer satisfaction, reducing the dining time and thus reducing expenditure (Matilla and Wirtz, 2001).

Temperature

The temperature of the restaurant is important as it not only affects the consumers’ satisfaction level but also impacts on employees’ performance. Comfortable ambient temperatures can influence consumer preferences and enhance employee performance (Bitner, 1992). Extremely hot or cold environments will result in customers either shivering or sweating and will have a negative impact on the consumers’ experience resulting in potential loss of customers (Quickservant.com, 2017). Customers want to eat in comfort in a suitable temperature. The temperature of the restaurant and waiting area will be 23 degrees which is a comfortable room temperature for diners and will also ensure maximum employees productivity (Perkins, 2013). The restaurant will benefit from having the kitchen in the centre of the restaurant, as naturally the grills and wood ovens will provide heat to the restaurant. The fact that the kitchen is in the middle of the restaurant will mean that the restaurant will require a high quality ventilation system to minimise the smoke in the restaurant and improve the air quality (Durpetti,2002)

Lighting

Lighting is one of the most powerful stimuli in fine dining evening restaurants as lighting helps to create an atmosphere and ambience. The use of lighting in a restaurant has a significant impact on the quality perception of customers (Bhardwaj et al, 2008). The lighting in Le Viande et Vin will be elegant and delicate (Appendix 9) with subdued warm lighting which symbolizes high food and drinks prices and excellent full service as opposed to bright lighting which symbolizes relatively low food and drinks prices and quick service (Baker et al, 1994 and Sharma and Stafford, 2000). The soft warm lighting makes the diners feel relaxed and induces low levels of arousal which the target clientele tend to prefer. In addition to the warm background lighting the tables will contain Jo Malone candles. Restaurants are recommended to employ soft lightning to reduce customer stimulation (such as arousal), and thus, slow the pace at which they consume the food and drinks. Also soft warm lighting generally tempts people to linger and enjoy an unplanned dessert or an extra drink. Therefore the lighting can be manipulated in order to influence the time that customers spend dining in a restaurant (cited in Areni & Kim, 1994).

Colour

The dining area will consist of a featured dark red wall with the remaining three walls a neutral colour of cream (Appendix 10). The walls in the waiting area will all be cream (Appendix 11). The red colour on the featured wall will help create a warm romantic feeling for the customers and as the colour red in the western world symbolises blood this enhances the theme of the restaurant which specialises in steak, a red meat. Red is a warm colour that promotes positive feelings and more stimulating colours haves been proven to increase appetites. In contrast, cool colours e.g. green and blue have been associated with toxins and thus decrease appetites. Neutral colours e.g. cream is a great colour because it helps the diners feel calm, and compliments the theme with different artwork, flowers and other furnishings. Although cool colours e.g. violet, green and in particular blue are consistently preferred over warm colours e.g. red, orange and yellow (Silver and McCulley, 1988). Similarly, Mehrabian and Russell (1974) found that maximal pleasure associated with colors was reported in the green to blue region of the visible spectrum.

 

 

Spatial Layout and Design

The layout is an important factor for restaurant success for a fine dining restaurant the layout must have an upscale furnishing and design elements, layout must be spacious and clean. The layout of the dining area and waiting area of the restaurant focuses on practicality to give a smooth and efficient flow and manage personal space (Appendix 12, 13). The layout will ensure that customers can easily travel between tables to access public areas without disturbing other diners and employees can easily travel between tables and the kitchen. Job satisfaction and productivity will be increased with an appropriate layout (Parish et al, 2008). It increases the capacity of service facility and hence reduces the customer waiting and service time. The design of the restaurant must quickly and clearly communicate to a prospective customer what can be expected from the dining experience.

The waiting area consists of comfortable sofa seats and a mirrored bar. It has been noted that waiting time is an important factor in quality of the service, which strongly influences customer satisfaction. The spatial layout and interior architecture as well as occupying customers can be used as a mechanism to create a “lower perception of waiting time” (Baker and Cameron, 1996). In a restaurant environment a pre process wait occurs before the customer is seated at a table, customers feel pre process waits to be more unpleasant than wait during any other points in the process. Offering a menu during this wait has positive effects on reducing perceived waiting time compared to regular waits (Harnack & French, 2008). The restaurant will have a waiting area that functions around a bar with comfy seats (Appendix 14), this allows customers to have a drink whilst they wait and have a look at the menu, by occupying customers during the wait will cause them to lose track of the passage of time (Zakay, 1989) and feel as though their wait was shorter which should lead to increased satisfaction (Maister, 1985; Larson, 1987). Also the bar will be mirrored in the waiting area as this will act as a distraction to the guests waiting resulting in shorter perceived waiting time (Baker and Cameron, 1996).

The layout of the dining area of the restaurant focuses on practicality to give a smooth and efficient flow and manage personal space (www.thebalance.com). The open kitchen in the dining area is the focal point with tables featuring around the open kitchen. This allows customers to satisfy their curiosity and find out what’s cooking in the kitchen, as well as being reassured as to the hygiene conditions. It also improves the productivity of the chefs as they perform better when they see the diners enjoying their food. According to the Harvard Business School, better food would seem to be served in those restaurants where chefs and customers can see eye to eye.

As a result of the kitchen in the middle of the restaurant, this allows the restaurant to have tables mainly around the outside of the restaurant and this is beneficial as individuals and groups often choose to seat near architectural features to help define their personal territory and regulate privacy. There are less tables in the middle of the restaurant as consumers seated at tables in the middle of the restaurant are exposed to more disturbances therefore feel more uncomfortable and as a result will eat faster which reduces the dining duration (LeTrent,2010).

Dining duration can be partly attributed to how comfortable customers are at a table in terms of table shape and size, positioning and comfort of chairs (Ciani, 2010). The restaurant will consist of a mixture of comfortable booth seating and comfortable chairs in a range of silver fabrics (Appendix 15, 16). The booth seating is popular amongst families because it provides privacy and intimacy, protecting customers from everyone around them (Rockwell, 2010). Comfortable chairs are also vital in a fine dining restaurant as they indicates a high quality restaurant as well as encouraging consumers to dine for longer as they are comfy, whereas uncomfortable chairs results in quick turnover for restaurants (LeTrent,2010).

The tables will be made from wood surfaces, as this is attractive to many consumers for aesthetics and ecological reasons, visual attractiveness can be decisive for high added value, it also adds to the contemporary feel to the restaurant (Appendix 17).

Spacing between tables is important to customers. Diners seated at tables spaced closely together are significantly more dissatisfied than those seated at generously spaced tables.  Guests appear to prefer restaurants that have other guests but not so close that conversations cannot be conducted easily or that personal boundaries are violated (Andersson and Mossberg 2004). Customers prefer tables that offer the most control over personal space, generally through the provision of some kind of physical feature that separates tables from others (Robson 2008). The tables will be 25 inches apart giving the diners a generous amount of space between other diners, as 18 inches or less, reduces privacy and increases stress if the diners nearby are not intimate (Altman, 1975) and the resulting discomfort can generally only be alleviated by either increasing inter- personal distance when conditions allow (Argyle and Dean 1965; Bailenson et al. 2001) or by leaving the environment (Baum and Valins 1977).

All areas of the restaurant will have high ceilings as the height of the ceilings can influence the spatial perception. High ceilings are associated with a feeling of spaciousness while low ceilings convey ceilings of cosines and intimacy (Ching, 1996).

Signs, Symbols and Artefacts

 

The signs, symbols and artefacts dimension refers to the physical signals that managers employ in servicescapes to communicate general meaning about the place to consumers (Bitner 1992). In a restaurant context this would include generic signs (e.g. bar, kitchen, dining area), directions (e.g. fire exits), toilets, caution (e.g. wet floor) and rules of behaviour (e.g. no smoking, staff only) assisting customers in the restaurant.

The restaurant will use a number of signs to make the environment user friendly and help to direct customers through the service experience. A service setting with clear signage arrangements may result in positive consumer experiences, thus impacting on the dining duration and expenditure (Suresh, 2013). Whereas services that lack user friendliness due to poor and bad signage have a negative impact on consumer experience (Lovelock and Wirtz, 2011)

The exterior of the restaurant encounters the first and foremost impression of the restaurant. The exterior of the restaurant clearly communicates to potential customers what experience the guests are likely to have in the restaurant as a restaurant’s external appearance can offer dozens of clues about what is happening on the inside. The exterior of the restaurant will be aesthetically pleasing, relying on the neutral colours of the stone and natural wood and potted plants as this was considered more up-scale, and more welcoming to customers (Appendix 19).

Firms also use symbols and artefacts that are an important element for restaurants as they create aesthetic impressions and  help consumers understand the place’s meaning (Zeithaml et al, 2009). The quality of materials, decorations, artwork, mirrors all create symbolic meaning and create an overall aesthetic impression of the service environment.

Viande et Vin is a fine dining contemporary restaurant that aims to deliver a prestigious image to attract upper-middle class customers. To create a prestigious environment the table will be decorated in a sophisticated manner with high quality tableware including crockery, cutlery, and glassware (Appendix 20). The tableware offers timeless elegance; the classic cream china pieces are lifted with 1950s inspired lace panels in glistening gold. The table will also have candles, as they are a beautiful way to create a romantic atmosphere at a table (Appendix 21).

 

Rosenbaum and Massiah (2011) Expanded Servicescape Framework add a further two elements of servicescape environments to include symbolism dimension and natural dimension (Appendix 18). The natural dimension includes nature such as trees and plants.The restaurant will include delicate trees decorated with fairy lights (Appendix 22). The trees add to the appearance of the restaurant as well as help to improve employee productivity. A study showed that employees were 15% more productive when workplaces are filled with plants (www.thetimes.co.uk).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Social Factors

Bitner’s (1992) servicescape framework focuses on the physical environment that affects both consumers and employees in service organizations. Whereas Tombs and McColl-Kennedy (2003) framework (Appendix 23) includes an account for the other social entities e.g. the other customers and like the physical servicescape, the social servicescape can also significantly affect consumer behaviour.

Social factors refer to the people (i.e., employees and their customers) in the service setting (Ryu and Han, 2010). Service quality and customer satisfaction in the restaurant industry depends considerably on employees. The social variables include employee appearance, number of employees, gender of employees, and dress or physical appearance of other customers. A professional employee uniform may effectively convey an organization’s image and core values in a very up-close-and-personal way (Ryu and Han, 2010). Tombs and McColl-Kennedy (2003) further claimed that service staff are related to the desired social density, which affects customer affective and cognitive responses as well as repurchase intentions. Similarly, Ryu and Jang (2007) supported the strong influence of employees on customers’ pleasure and arousal states.

Le Viande et Vin will have an equal number of both female and male employees to ensure high quality service to the diners. The employees will be distributed across the different areas of the restaurant including the dining area, waiting area, entrance, bar and kitchen. There will be an employee at the entrance of the restaurant welcoming the guests into the restaurant indicating a high quality restaurant. In the dining area there will be a waiter in charge of a maximum of 5 tables each, this will allow the waiters to provide excellent service to all their tables resulting in high customer satisfaction. More members of staff are present in a prestige image social environment (Baker and Parasuraman, 1994).

The waiters will be extremely well-trained, the customer receives knowledgeable and personalized service, and the guest- server relationship is formalized and well-delineated. The waiters will be well-educated on wine and food offerings and are thus able to provide the customer with a refined, personalized, high-quality experience (Muller and Woods, 1994).

The uniform of the employees will be in keeping with the fine dining contemporary restaurant therefore employees will look smart, sophisticated and clean. The uniform of the employees must have a distinctive style so that they are highly visible and recognizable to diners (Ryu and Han, 2010).

It is also vital to manage the interaction between customers. There should not be too many customer interactions as the restaurant has been designed to allow customers to have privacy and not necessarily come into contact with other customers. However it is impossible to avoid customer interaction altogether, but due to the type of service environment and due to the layout of the restaurant this has been minimized. In a restaurant environment, there is usually little interaction with other customers due to the reasons for dining out.

The restaurant will have a dress code of smart meaning that men have to come in full-length smart trousers and a smart top. This will give the restaurant some control of what their customers will look like and the behaviors associated with the appearance and dress code.

Le Viande et Vin has been designed to maximise satisfaction for both the employees and customers by providing a sophisticated, efficient environment where the guests can experience a unique fine dining experience. The environmental dimensions in Bitner’s framework have an impact on the overall impression of the environment and service experience (Bitner, 2012).

Appendices

 

Appendix 1: A picture of the location for Le Viande et Vin – The Old Town, Beaconsfield

 

(www.pinterest.com)

 

 

Appendix 2: Le Viande et Vin Restaurant Logo

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Appendix 3:  Current restaurants in Beaconsfield Old Town

Type of Cuisine Type of restaurant

Fast food, casual dining, fine dining

Name of Restaurant
Indian Casual dining The Old Bengal
Chinese Casual dining Leigh House
Thai/British Fine dining The Crazy Bear
Pub Casual dining The Saracens Head
British Fine dining No 5
Italian Casual dining Pizza Express
Indian Fine dining Spice Merchant
French Fine dining Brassiere Blanc
Seafood Casual dining Loche Fyne Seafood and Grill
Pub Casual dining The Swan
Indian Casual dining Basmati
Italian Casual dining Zizzi
Pub Casual dining The Apple Tree
Pub Casual dining The White Hart
Pub Casual dining The Greyhound Enoteca

Appendix 4:  Bitner’s (1992) Servicescape Framework

 

Untitled-1

M. J. Bitner, “Servicescapes: The Impact of Physical Surroundings on Customers and Employees,” Journal of Marketing 56 (April 1992), 57–71.

Appendix 5:  The Mehrabian-Russell (1974) Stimulus Response Model

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Mehrabian, Albert and James A. Russell (1974). An Approach to Environmental Psychology, MIT Press.

 

Appendix 6:  The Russell (1980) Model of Affect

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Russell, James A. (1980). ‘A Circumplex Model of Affect’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 3, 6, 1161-1178.

Appendix 7:  Le Viande et Vin desired position on Russell’s Model of Affect

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Le Viande et Vin

 

(Levenswerken.eu, 2014)

Appendix 8: Example classical music playlist for Le Viande et Vin

 

Name of Piece Composer
Gymnopedie No. 1 Erik Satie
Moonlight Sonata Beethoven
Clair De Lune Debussy
Turkish March Mozart
Bolero Ravel
Arabesque No.1 Debussy
The Lark Ascending Vaughan Williams
War Requiem Brittan

Appendix 9: Photograph of the lighting used throughout the restaurant

 

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(www.next.co.uk)

Appendix 10: Colour swabs for the Interior walls of the dining area

Feature Wall

Other Walls

 

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(www.dulux.co.uk)

 

 

Appendix 11: Colour swabs for the Interior walls of waiting area

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(www.dulux.co.uk)

Appendix 12: Detailed floor plan of the dining area in Le Viande et Vin

Appendix 13: Detailed floor plan of the waiting area in Le Viande et Vin

Appendix 14: The seating used in the waiting area

 

Sofas                                                                                                                                  Bar Stools

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(www.atlanticshopping.co.uk)

(www.next.co.uk)

Appendix 15: The seating used in the dining area

 

Booth Seating

Type 1                                                  Type 2

(www.pinterest.com)

 

Dining chairs                                     

Type 1

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(www.next.co.uk)

 

Appendix 16: Mixture of fabrics used on all seating in the restaurant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(www.next.co.uk)

 

 

Appendix 17: The timber used on the table tops throughout the restaurant

 

 

 

(www.timberdeal.co.uk)

 

 

Appendix 18: Rosenbaum and Massiah (2011) Expanded Servicescape Framework

 

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Rosenbaum and Massiah (2011). ‘An expanded servicescape perspective’

 

Appendix 19:  The desired appearance of the exterior of the restaurant

 

 

Potted plants used outside the entrance

 

 

 

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Exterior Sign

Natural coloured stone

 

Appendix 20: The dining apparatus used

 

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(www.monsoon.co.uk)

 

Appendix 21: Candles used on the dinner tables

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(www.jomalone.co.uk)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix 22: Nature trees used in the restaurant

 

 

(www.pinterest.com)

 

Appendix 23: Tombs and McColl-Kennedy (2003) The Social Servicescape

 

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Tombs and McColl-Kennedy (2003). ‘The social servicescape: A conceptual model’

 

Appendix 24: Blueprint of social interactions for diners that have booked a table at ‘Le Viande et Vin’

 

 

 

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