Defining a Good Restaurant: More Than Just Good Food Essay

Defining a Good Restaurant: More Than Just Good FoodIn our current lifestyle, restaurants play significant roles in our lifestyle, especially when dining out is a favorite social activity.

This is because everyone needs to eat. In this regard, enjoying good food or wine in the company of friends and in pleasant surroundings is one of life’s simple pleasures. Not just for friends, eating out has become a way of life for families. In fact, studies show that more meals are being eaten away from home.According to the latest marketing report by Euromonitor International (1 September 2005), the market for full service restaurants (café and restaurants) is forecast to grow by 4% from 2004 to 2009, to reach a value of US$222.3 billion (See Table 1).

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Growth is expected to be steady, but not extremely dynamic for the full service restaurant as a whole.US$ billionMarket size2004213.7952005204.92006209.


3Source: EuromonitorTable 1. Marketing forecast for Restaurants/Cafes in the US.As famous Washington Post food critic Phyllis Richman said, “Restaurants are one of the primary ways we fill our bodies, occupy our social lives, spend our money, learn about the world and conduct our business” (Panitz 199, p.

26). In this regard, the importance of choosing a good restaurant is vital when eating out, whether for business or pleasure. For consumers, a good restaurant may mean having the right location, menu, atmosphere, and management. For restaurant owners, a good restaurant could mean providing what the customers want, plus a high return on investment (Walker & Lundberg 2005, p.

5). According to a study of Sulek and Hensley (2004), they determined the preferences of 239 diners at a full-service, Irish-pub-style restaurant in the southeastern United States.  Their study sought to isolate the specific attributes that have a high influence on diners’ decisions to return to a restaurant. Respondents were asked to rate their satisfaction on nine characteristics of the restaurant, as well as their satisfaction with the overall dining experience and their future patronage intentions. Their analysis determined that three attributes–namely, food quality, atmosphere of the dining area, and fairness of seating order (in descending order of importance)–were significant predictors of satisfaction with the overall dining experience. These three factors explained more than half the variability in satisfaction, making them substantial factors. Only food quality was a significant predictor of customers’ intentions to return to the restaurant.

Moreover, this factor explained just 17 percent of the variability in repeat-patronage intentions, meaning that other factors contributed that were not captured by this survey. The implication of these findings is that restaurateurs must get the food right to encourage guests to return. However, the other two significant factors, the restaurant’s atmosphere and unfairness in seating, can interfere with guests’ satisfaction with their dining experiences.

In determining food quality, a customer is really judging three general food characteristics–namely, safety, appeal, and dietary acceptability. While food-safety defects are not always immediately apparent, customers do tend to notice undercooked food, food with an off taste, or foreign material in their food. Food appeal involves such issues as taste, presentation, textures, colors, temperature, size of the portions, and entree complexity. Dietary issues are playing an increasingly important role in food quality–whether that means meals that are low in fat, low in carbohydrates, or vegetarian or vegan (Sulek and Hensley 2004, p. 237).

Using the research made by Sulek and Hensley (2004), I could conclude that good food determines what a good restaurant should be. Sitting in a good restaurant can be a fascinating experience. Food servers move deftly up and down aisles and around booths; guests are greeted and seated, orders are placed and picked up. Of course, good food is an essential component of a “satisfying meal” and would definitely attract customers to return.

However, good service and a pleasant setting are also important in a full-service restaurant. That’s why I also agree that in defining a good restaurant, good atmosphere and good service comes next in line to a good menu.ReferencesEuromonitor International. (2005). Restaurants and Cafes in the USA, Global Market Information Database (September 1). Retrieved 21 July 2006 at http://www., B.  (1999).Year of the Restaurant: Unwrapping What the Industry Has to Offer, Restaurants USA 19.2 (February): 26.Sulek, J.

M. and Hensley, R.L. (2004). The relative importance of food, atmosphere, and fairness of wait: the case of a full-service restaurant (Customer Loyalty and Satisfaction). Cornell Hotel ; Restaurant Administration Quarterly 45.3 (August): 235-254.Walker, J.

R. and Lundberg, D.E.

(2005). Chapter 1: Introduction. The Restaurant: From Concept to Operation, 4th ed. NY: John Wiley ; Sons, Inc. ISBN: 0471450286.;


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