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International Journal of Applied Research and Studies (iJARS)

ISSN: 2278-9480 Volume 2, Issue 7 (July- 2013)


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Manuscript Id: iJARS/ 545 1
Review Paper

Service Quality in International Fast Food Chains in Chandigarh
Perceptions of Customers


Author:
Manpreet Kaur *



Address For correspondence:


Assistant Professor, Guru Gobind Singh College for Women, Sector 26, Chandigarh

Abstract:
Services are the activities which involve producing intangible products as education,
entertainment, food, transportation, insurance, trade, real estate, consultancy, repair and
maintenance like occupation. Quality has become a strategic tool for obtaining efficiency in
operations and improved business performance. This study measures the service quality
perceptions undertaken in international fast food chains in Chandigarh. Service quality model
was used as conceptual framework for understanding service quality perception in fast food
services. An analysis covering a sample of 100 respondents revealed that tangibility was the
most insignificant amongst the service quality dimensions and reliability and responsiveness
the most significant.
Keywords: Quality, services, fast food chain.

Introduction:
High quality goods and service are favored in the marketplace and high service quality
performance does produce measurable benefits in profits, cost savings, and market share
(Anderson, Fornell, & Lehmam, 1994). Service quality has been increasingly recognized as a
critical factor in the success of any business (Parasuraman, Zeithaml & Berry, 1988). The
topic of measuring service quality has been studied extensively in the past fifteen years. New
ways to conceive of and measure quality in service industry is needed--and alternate
approaches emerge in the business sector where organizations are increasingly evaluated in
terms of their service quality. In 1988, marketing research team Parasuraman, Zeithaml and
Berry developed a multiple-attribute scale called SERVQUAL for measuring service quality.
The SERVQUAL scale operates and measures service quality along five distinct dimensions
that can be viewed as indicators of the construct of perceived service quality.
manpreetkaurleo@yahoo.co.in * Corresponding Author Email-Id
International Journal of Applied Research and Studies (iJARS)
ISSN: 2278-9480 Volume 2, Issue 7 (July- 2013)
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Tangibles (Physical evidence of the service: appearance of physical facilities, tools and
equipments used to provide the service, appearance of personnel and communication
materials)
Reliability (The ability to perform the promised service dependably and accurately:
consistency of performance and dependability, service is performed right at the first time,
the company keeps its promises in accuracy in billing and keeping records correctly,
performing the services at the designated time)
Responsiveness (The willingness and/ or readiness of employees to help customers and
to provide prompt service, timeliness of service: mailing a transaction slip immediately,
setting up appointments quickly)
Assurance (The knowledge and courtesy of employees and their ability to convey trust
and confidence: competence (possession of the required skills and knowledge to perform
the service), courtesy (consideration for the customer's property, clean and neat
appearance of public contact personnel), trustworthiness, security (safety and
confidentiality))
Empathy (The provision of caring, individualized attention to customers: informing the
customers in a language they can understand, Understanding customer's specific needs,
Providing individualized attention)
Over the years SERVQUAL has emerged as the most popular assessments tools of service
quality. The SERVQUAL instrument has been verified and tested in assessing service quality
in restaurant business (Bojanic & Rosen, 1994; Fu, 1999; Fu, Cho, & Parks, 2000) as well as
in the tourism industry (Riemer & Reichel, 2000).

Fast Food Industry Introduction

Fast food is the term given to food that can be prepared and served very quickly. While any
meal with low preparation time can be considered to be fast food, typically the term refers to
food sold in a restaurant or store with low quality preparation and served to the customer in a
packaged form for take-out/take-away. Outlets may be stands or kiosks, which may provide
no shelter or seating, or fast food restaurants (also known as quick service restaurants).
Franchise operations which are part of restaurant chains have standardized foodstuffs shipped
to each restaurant from central locations.

The Start of Fast Food Culture

The concept of fast food came up during 1920s.The 1950s first witnessed their rapid
proliferation. Several factors that contributed to this explosive growth in 50s were:

(1) Americas love affair with the automobiles.
(2) The construction of a major new highway system.
(3) The development of sub-urban communities.
(4) The baby boom subsequent to world war second.

Fast-food chains initially catered to automobile owners in suburbia.
International Journal of Applied Research and Studies (iJARS)
ISSN: 2278-9480 Volume 2, Issue 7 (July- 2013)
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Variants

Although fast food often brings to mind traditional American fast food such as hamburgers
and fries, there are many other forms of fast food that enjoy widespread popularity in the
West. Chinese takeaways/takeout restaurants are particularly popular. They normally offer a
wide variety of Asian food which has normally been fried. Most options are some form of
noodles, rice, or meat. Sushi has seen rapidly rising popularity in recent times. A form of fast
food created in Japan. sushi is normally cold sticky rice served with raw fish. Pizza is a
common fast food category in the United States, with chains such as Domino's Pizza, Sbarro
and Pizza Hut. Menus are more limited and standardized than in traditional pizzerias, and
pizza delivery, often with a time commitment, is offered.
Globalization:

In 2006, the global fast food market grew by 4.8% and reached a value of 102.4 billion and a
volume of 80.3 billion transactions. In India alone the fast food industry is growing by 40% a
year. McDonald's is located in 120 countries and on 6 continents and operates over 31,000
restaurants worldwide. KFC is located in 25 countries. Subway has 29,186 restaurants located
in 86 countries, Pizza Hut is located in 26 countries, Taco Bell has 278 restaurants located in
12 countries besides the United States.

Fast Food Industry in India
India Emerging Market for Global Players
The percentage share held by foodservice of total consumer expenditure on food has
increased from a very low base to stand at 2.6% in 2001. Eating at home remains very much
ingrained in Indian culture and changes in eating habits are very slow moving with barriers to
eating out entrenched in certain sectors of Indian society. The growth in nuclear families,
particularly in urban India, exposure to global media and Western cuisine and an increasing
number of women joining the workforce have had an impact on eating out trends.
Fast food is one of the worlds largest growing food type. Indias fast food industry is
growing by 40% a year Because of the availability of raw material for fast food, Global
chains are flooding into the country.

Major players in fast food are:
MCDONALDS
KFC
PIZZA HUT
DOMINOS PIZZA.
SUBWAY

The main reason behind the success of the multinational chains is their expertise in product
development, sourcing practices, quality standards, service levels and standardized operating
International Journal of Applied Research and Studies (iJARS)
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procedures in their restaurants, a strength that they have developed over years of experience
around the world. The home grown chains have in the past few years of competition with the
MNCs, learnt a few things but there is still a lot of scope for improvement.
The success of fast foods has arisen from the changes in our living conditions:
Many women or both parents now work
There are increased numbers of single-parent households
Long distances to school and work are common
Usually, lunch times are short
There's often not enough time or opportunity to shop carefully for groceries, or to cook
and eat with one's family. Especially on weekdays, fast food outside the home is the only
solution.

Besides the fast food chains have adopted strategies like targeting children as their major
customers. They introduce varieties of things that will attract the childs attention thereby
automatically targeting their parents. Moreover Fast food outlets are introducing varieties of
products in order to cater the demands of each and every segment of the market. They are
introducing all categories of product so that people of all age, sex, class, income group etc
can come and become a customer of their food line.

History Brief of Major International Fast Food Players

Mc doanlds
McDonald's is the leading global foodservice retailer with more than 31,000 local restaurants
serving more than 58 million people in 118 countries each day. More than 75% of
McDonald's restaurants worldwide are owned and operated by independent local men and
women.
In India, McDonald's is a joint-venture company managed by two Indians. Amit Jatia, M.D.
Hardcastle Restaurants Pvt. Ltd. owns and spearheads McDonalds in west & south India;
McDonald's restaurants in North & East India are owned and managed by Vikram Bakshi's
Connaught Plaza Restaurants Private Limited. In India, McDonald now has a network of over
160 restaurants since its launch in 1996.

Kentucky Fried Chicken
KFC also known as Kentucky Fried Chicken is a chain of fast food restaurants based in
Louisville, Kentucky. KFC is a brand of Yum; brands since 1997 when that company was
spun off from PepsiCo as Tricon Global Restaurants Inc. KFC founded by Colonel Harland
Sanders in the year 1938.now stretches worldwide with more than 13,000 restaurants in more
than 80 countries and territories around the world serving up the Colonels Original Recipe.
KFC is the worlds No.1 Chicken QSR and has industry leading stature across many
countries like UK, Australia, South Africa, China, USA, Malaysia and many more. KFC
International Journal of Applied Research and Studies (iJARS)
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offers its signature products in India too In India; KFC is growing rapidly and today has
presence in 21 cities with close to 107 restaurants.

Pizza hut
Pizza Hut is one of the flagship brands of Yum! Brands, Inc., which also has KFC, Taco Bell,
A&W and Long John Silvers under its umbrella. Pizza Hut is the worlds largest pizza chain
with over 12,500 restaurants across 91 countries. In India, Pizza Hut has 140 restaurants
across 34 cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Pune,
and Chandigarh amongst others.

Subway
The first Fred and Petes submarine shop was opened in1965. From that day on the company
continued to grow. By 1974, Fred and Pete decided franchising was the key to achieving
higher growth. Brian Dixon was the very first SUBWAY franchisee. Today, entering their
46th year of operation, SUBWAY restaurants is the worlds largest submarine sandwich
chain with its main office located in Milford, Connecticut. In India Subway Systems India
Pvt Ltd opened its very first restaurant in 2001 in New Delhi and has swiftly grown its
operations to 183 operating restaurants in 26 cities across India.

Literature Review
Many researchers have conducted studies in measuring service quality in the past twenty
years. In 1982, McCleary and Weaver indicated that good service is defined on the basis of
identification of measurement behaviors that are important to customers. Zemke and
Albrecht (1985) suggested that service plays an important role in defining a restaurants
competitive strategies and identified systems and strategies for managing service. In 1988,
Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry developed a multiple-item scale for measuring service
quality called SERVQUAL. SERVQUAL is a generic instrument for measuring perceived
service quality that is viewed as the degree and direction of discrepancy between consumers
perceptions and expectations. Thus, service quality, as perceived by consumers, stems from a
comparison of what they feel service providers should offer with their perceptions of the
performance of service provided by service providers (Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry,
1988). The researchers also identified that there are five dimensions to service quality. The
following is a list of the five dimensions and a brief description of each:

1. Tangibles: (physical facilities, equipment, and appearance of personnel).
2. Reliability: (ability to perform the promised service dependably and accurately).
3. Responsiveness (willingness to help customers and provide prompt service).
4. Assurance (knowledge and courtesy of employees and their ability to inspire trust and
confidence).
5. Empathy (caring, individualized attention the firm provides its customers).

International Journal of Applied Research and Studies (iJARS)
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The SERVQUAL scale was employed to measure the service quality in an electric and gas
utility company (Babakus and Boller, 1992) as well as restaurants (Bojanic and Rosen, 1994;
Fu, 1999). In 1990, Knuston, Wullaert, Patton & Yokoyama drafted LODGSERV to improve
on what a generic instrument might do in defining and measuring service quality, specifically
for lodging properties. Among the five dimensions, reliability was found to be the most
important of the five dimensions for lodging consumers followed, in ranking, by assurance,
responsiveness, tangibles, and empathy (Knutson, Stevens, Wullaert, Patton and Yokoyama,
1990). Subsequently, Knutson, Yokoyama, Patton, and Thompson (1990) analyzed the
statistical methodology itself, comparing the uses of confirmatory analysis versus factor
analysis in index testing and refinement.

Then, in 1992, Knuston, Stevens, Patton, and Thompson studied consumer expectations for
service quality in economy, mid-price, and luxury hotels. Across the three segments, they
found that the five dimensions maintained their same ranking positions and that the higher the
price category, the higher the consumer expectations of service quality. As a next step,
Patton, Stevens and Knutson (1994) translated the instrument into other languages and pilot-
tested LODGSERV in five other cultures. The instrument worked equally well, retaining its
high validity level across each of the five pilot tests.

In 1995, Stevens, Knutson, and Patton drafted DINSERV after adapting the instrument
SERVQUAL to the restaurant industry and using the lessons learned in developing and
refining LODGSERV. The instrument was used to measure consumer expectations for
service quality in three restaurant segments: quick service, casual/theme, and fine dining
(Stevens, Knutson, and Patton, 1995). Like LODGSERV, DINESERV was found to have a
high degree of reliability. The alpha for the total index is .95, while the reliability
coefficients (alpha levels) for the five dimensions range from .89 to .92 (Stevens, Knutson,
and Patton, 1995). Results show that DINESERV is a valid and reliable index by which
consumer expectations for service quality in a restaurant experience can be measured.
In 1999, Wu, Goh, Lin and Chen conducted a study in measuring service quality in a mid-
price multi-unit Chinese restaurant using the DINESERVE instrument. The authors
evaluated the customer perceptions of service quality and identified the differences in
customer perceived service quality between lunch and dinner and between new customers
and regular customers (Wu, Goh, Lin, and Chen, 1999). Kim, McCahon, and Miller (1999)
also conducted a study to validate five dimensions of the DINESERV instrument in Korean
casual dining restaurants and explored the differences in perceived service quality by
restaurant. It is also hypothesized that perceived service quality differs based upon
characteristics of the patrons. The present study attempts to evaluate customers perceptions
of service quality in a chain-operated steakhouse using modified DINESERV instrument.
Results can be compared to the results of previous studies.



International Journal of Applied Research and Studies (iJARS)
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Purpose and Objectives of the Study

Fast food is one of the worlds largest growing food type. Indias fast food industry is
growing by 40% a year. It has caught on as a trendy thing amongst youngsters to visit the fast
food outlets and spend leisure time there. This is apparently is due to modern look offered by
the outlets. The purpose of this study is to ascertain the service quality offered by
International fast food outlets in Chandigarh as perceived by experience of the respondents.
The study is conducted with the following objectives:

1. To determine the perception of customers regarding the service quality offered by
International fast food chains.
2. To analyze and compare the service quality perceptions of customer in different
International fast food chains.
3. To determine the relevant dimensions of service quality.

Research Methodology

In the present study the service quality model developed Zeithamal , Parsuraman and Berry
(1988) has been used with underlying assumption that service quality model is multi-
dimensional. These dimensions contribute to assessment of service quality in any setting. A
construct SERVQUAL based upon service quality model has been used to determine
service quality in different fast foods with minor changes.
Four well known International Fast food chains namely Mc Donald, KFC, PizzaHut and
Subway were selected for the study. A fifth category of others was created to cover any
varied choice of the respondent. A sample of 100 respondents was chosen from city of
Chandigarh. Primary data was collected through questionnaire.
In the questionnaire, 21 statements were grouped under 5 dimensions (Tangibility,
Reliability, Responsiveness, Assurance and Empathy). To ascertain the perceptions of service
quality, 5-point scale was used so that variations in the perceptions can be estimated. The 5-
point scale represents 1 as Strongly Disagree and 5 as Strongly Agree.












International Journal of Applied Research and Studies (iJARS)
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Data Analysis

Sample Classification
Analysis of Frequency of choice of Fast food most frequently visited by respondents reflects
that most of the respondents had chosen Mc Donald as the most visited fast food.
Table-1
Fast Food Frequency Percentage
MCDonald 38 (38)
KFC 18 (18)
Pizzahut 24 (24)
Subway 11 (11)
Other 9 (9)
TOTAL 100

Demographics of Respondents
Table-2 shows demographics of respondents. It shows that 48 percent of the respondents are
male and 52 percent are females. Majority (i.e.60 percent) of the respondents are employed
followed by students (23 percent), homemaker (11 percent) and business (6 percent).
Table-2
Number of
Respondents
Percentage
GENDER MALE 48 (48)
FEMALE 52 (52)
TOTAL 100
PROFESSION EMPLOYED 60 (60)
BUSINESS 6 (6)
HOMEMAKER 11 (11)
STUDENT 23 (23)
TOTAL 100
INCOME LESS THAN
20,000
5 (5)
20-40,000 22 (22)
40-60,000 16 (16)
60-80,000 31 (31)
80,000 AND
MORE
26 (26)
TOTAL 100



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Reliability of Construct

The reliability has been calculated for different dimensions using Cronbach Alpha. Table 1
show that the value of Alpha ranges from .534 to .749. The dimensions are therefore
considered as reliable.
Table-3: Descriptive Statistics and Reliability of the Scale
Dimensions Items in the scale

Means.d.
Cronb
alch
alpha
Tangibility

The fast food has modern-looking furniture, floor design
and dcor.
4.10
0.54
.534
The overall ambience was visually appealing (well lit ,
spacious and clean)
4.07
0.70
Staff was neat-appearing and smartly dressed. 4.19 0
.67
Availability of sauces, cutlery, trays, napkins, utensils etc.
was good
4.19
0.73
The menu was easy to read 4.25
0.65
Parking was adequate 3.34
0.91
Fast food had a Kids Play area 2.90
1.11
Reliability
When a customer has a problem, the fast food shows a
sincere interest in solving it
3.64
0.87
.683
The fast food performs the service right the first time 3.94
0.74
Services are provided at the time the fast food promises to
do
3.91
0.77
Billing was accurate 4.25
0.65
Responsiveness
Staff tell customers when services will be performed 3.88
0.78
.599
Staff give prompt service to customers - I was served
promptly
3.87
0.78
Staff is never too busy to respond to customers requests 3.64
0.95
Staff is patient while taking my order 3.99
0.70
Assurance
Staff is friendly and courteous 4.12
0.60
.616
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Staff has the knowledge to answer customers question 4.07
0.76
Empathy
Staff give personal attention to customers 3.63
0.76
.749
Fast food understands specifics needs of its customers 3.73
0.84
Fast food has customers interest at heart 3.79
0.94
Operating hours are convenient to all customers 4.03
0.74

Table further shows Mean score and standard deviation of each item used in the construct to
present the better picture of data collected from respondents. The item The menu was easy to
read and Billing was accurate has highest mean score (4.25 0.65) and item Fast food had
a Kids Play area has lowest mean score (2.90 1.11).
Normality of Data
The data was checked for normality with the help of One -Sample Kolmogorov-Smirnov test.
P values were more then .05, indicating that data was normally distributed.
Table-4: One -Sample Kolmogorov-Smirnov Test
One -Sample Kolmogorov-
Smirnov Test
Dimensions
Tangibility Reliability Responsiveness Assurance Empathy
Kolmogorov-Smirnov Z
1.347 1.370 1.295 2.837 1.087
Asymp. Sig.(2-tailed)
.053 .047 .070 .000 .188

Service Quality Dimensions Comparison

The average scores of the 4 International Fast Food chains considered in the study were
compared for all the five dimensions of service quality (as per table below).
Table-5: Average Scores for Five Service Quality Dimensions

From this analysis it can be seen that the dimension of Tangibility is not significant in the
analysis. The average scores given by respondents for this dimension appear to be very close
Fast Food\
Dimension
MCDonald KFC Pizzahut Subway Other F Sig.
Tangibility
3.9511 3.6825 3.9524 3.9221 3.7143 2.080 0.089
Reliability
4.1118 3.5556 4.0313 4.1136 3.4722 6.302 0.000
Responsiveness
4.0421 3.6778 3.9917 4.0182 3.3556 5.579 0.000
Assurance
4.0263 4.4444 4.0000 4.2727 3.4444 3.065 0.020
Empathy
3.7237 4.0417 3.7292 4.2500 3.2222 4.927 0.001
Total
3.9710 3.8804 3.9409 4.1153 3.4417 4.378 0.003
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to each other, thus confirming the insignificance indicated above. This indicates that the
respondents are neutral as far as Tangibility dimension is concerned, that is the respondents
find the tangible features at all the 4 fast food chains equivalent.
The dimensions of Reliability and Responsiveness are most significant closely followed by
Empathy dimension and then by Assurance dimension. This finding is confirmed by
reviewing the average scores on these dimensions between the 4 fast food chains. The
average scores reflect variations between the 4 chosen Fast food chains on the 4 dimensions
(other than Tangibility) indicating varied perceptions of the respondents on these dimensions
based on their service quality experience at the outlets.

Table-6: One Way ANOVA of Profession vs. Total Service Quality
Employed Business Homemaker Student F Sig.
Tangibility 3.8381 3.8810 4.1169 3.8696 1.521 .214
Reliability 3.9792 4.1250 4.2727 3.6087 4.985 .003
Responsiveness 3.9067 4.1000 4.1636 3.7043 2.660 .053
Assurance 4.1000 4.1667 4.5455 3.7931 3.065 .032
Empathy 3.7792 4.2500 4.0909 3.5761 3.018 .034

The table shows that the dimension of Tangibility is not significant in the analyses. This
means people of all the profession are indifferent with regards to tangibility of various
restaurants. This is shown by the high significance value (i.e. more than .05) in tangibility
dimension. The significance value in dimension of Responsiveness is close to .05, while it is
less than .05 in other dimensions. This shows that there is significant difference between
theses dimensions and different professions.

Findings of the Study

Present study included five dimensions of the service quality perceptions namely, tangibility,
reliability, responsiveness, assurance and empathy. The analysis of these dimensions
identified that between international fast food chains there is no significant difference on
account of tangible features like ambience, modern look, staff smartness etc. This implies that
respondents are satisfied with all the four fast food chains on this dimension of service
quality. This is confirmed in the case of people of different professions also.
The analysis further revealed that reliability and responsiveness dimension is most significant
amongst the five dimensions. Out of the four chosen fast food chains the average scores for
Mc Donald and Subway, on these two dimensions is highest. This implies that both Mc
Donald and Subway are perceived by respondents to be focusing on the reliability and
responsiveness aspect of service quality.
The analysis also reflects that scores on the assurance dimension, particularly for Mc Donald
and Subway are high. This is correlated with high scores on the reliability dimension for the
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two fast food chains as reliability leads to trust and support. This finding is confirmed from
the correlation analysis where assurance has emerged as the most relevant dimension.
On the dimension of empathy the highest score is for Subway followed by KFC. Score for
Mc Donald on this dimension is lowest. This indicates that the aspect of personal attention to
customer is not present in case of Mc Donald which confirmed in view of the self service
model followed at Mc Donald.
Conclusion

In the study both Mc Donald and Subway have scored highest on the most significant
dimensions of reliability and responsiveness and scored on the higher end for tangibility and
assurance dimension as well. Between the two maximum numbers of respondents had chosen
Mc Donald as the most frequently visited fast food against minimum number in case of
Subway.
The study concludes that Mc Donald meets highest satisfaction level on the service quality
dimensions as perceived by highest number of respondents.
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