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The Perceived Fairness of Waitlist- Management Techniques for Restaurants By: Kelly A. McGuire & Sheryl E. Kimes Presentation By: Lauree Francis.

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Presentation on theme: "The Perceived Fairness of Waitlist- Management Techniques for Restaurants By: Kelly A. McGuire & Sheryl E. Kimes Presentation By: Lauree Francis."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Perceived Fairness of Waitlist- Management Techniques for Restaurants By: Kelly A. McGuire & Sheryl E. Kimes Presentation By: Lauree Francis

2 Objective Determine how customers of restaurants that do not take reservations react to common waitlist management techniques that can violate first- come, first-served expectations

3 Party-Size Seating Seats parties at right sized tables More seats are filled, increases both seat utilization and revenue VIP Seating Seating priority in loyal customers in hopes of continued revenue Seating priority to well known customers (Celebrities) to add a higher status to restaurants reputation The Four Waitlist Management Policies

4 Large-party Reservations Only allows reservations for parties of 6/8 or more Helps plan ahead for table use Walk In large parties can interrupt service, by causing restaurants to hold tables and may end in loss of revenue Call-ahead Seating Allows customers to call before arrival but does not promise a table immediately upon arrival (no reservation) Shorter wait times for customers who call ahead Restaurants can spread demand to less busy times, maybe even negotiate arrival time

5 Issues to Consider Reference Transaction (Past Experiences) Violations occur when the restaurant behaves differently than the customers past experience, even if they are following an existing policy Social Justice Customers evaluating the fairness of a transaction Procedural Justice Policy is viewed as fair Distributive Justice After customer experiences the policy they decide the outcome is unfair

6 Issues to Consider Familiarity More familiar the customer is with the transaction the greater the chance they will view the transaction as being fair If customers has complete information on a company policy, his or her fairness ratings tend to be higher than if the information has been withheld Can be provided to customers by hostess or by a marketing campaign about call ahead seating or large party reservations

7 The Study Tested customer-fairness perceptions of the four waitlist management policies Used Scenario based survey Two different scenarios for each policy Advantage of shorter wait Disadvantage of shorter wait Scenarios were identical except in one they were with the a party that was seated right away and the other they had to wait Scenarios were designed so customers knew the reason the restaurant made the choice of whom to seat first

8 Methodology Questions were ranked on a 7 point scale Included questions about Age Gender frequency of dining out Analysis showed that none of those demographic factors influenced the responses Convenience sample of 268 Majority (58%) female Most customers had eaten out 5 to 10 time during the previous month

9 Key F i n d i n g s

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12 Customers rated seating by party size and call ahead policies as relatively fair Taking large party reservations only was viewed as neutral to slightly unfair Giving priority to VIP customers was viewed as unfair Some differences in fairness rating between customers who did not have to wait and those who did, but they were not statistically significant. Indicating that customers felt the same about the policies whether they were seated first or not

13 Key Findings

14 Means for Fairness Ratings Customers ranked fairness of outcome similarly to the fairness of the policy Call Ahead seating was still considered fair VIP seating was still considered unfair Seating by party size and large party reservations were rated Neutral Large-party reservations customers with shorter wait time ranked the outcome significantly fairer than those who had to wait longer Compared procedural and distributive justice ratings Call ahead and VIP scenarios No difference between fairness of policy and fairness of outcome Party size and large party reservations Some difference between fairness of policy and fairness of outcome

15 Means for Fairness Ratings Customers judged the policy of seating by party size to be slightly fairer than the outcome of the policy (regardless of wait) Customers judged the policy of seating by large party reservations to be slightly less fair than the outcome of the policy Results indicate that customers felt it was fair for the party to be seated ahead of them because they had a reservation But customers felt that the policy of restricting reservations to large parties only was unfair

16 Impact of Familiarity of Fairness Impact of customers familiarity with each waitlist policy on fairness perceptions to the policy Restricted analysis to customers that stated they were familiar with waitlist policies (scored 6 or 7) and those that werent (scored 1 or 2) Customers with high familiarity ranked the waitlist policies as being more fair than those that were not familiar with policies (all except for large party reservations) Accepting large-party reservations was considered slightly unfair regardless of being familiar with policies or not

17 Implementation for Management Party Size Customers respond better to policies when they are aware of them and suggested phrase: There is a wait for tables right now. But well put you on the list for the next available table for two VIP Customers Strong negative ratings, should handle with care Managers should attempt to mask special treatment Customers wait in an area away from hostess table Bring VIPs through a separate entrance Use pagers, so customer cannot track place in line

18 Implementation for Management Reservations for Large Parties Only Being familiar with policy does not influence fairness outcome Restaurants should allow reservations for all party size Call ahead Seating Most fair policy in study Restaurants should promote use of this policy and the rules of the policy

19 Conclusion Waitlist management helps managers to make important decisions of seating the right customer at the right time VIP and large party reservations were considered most unfair Party Size and Call ahead seating were considered most fair


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