All abilities trek to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko - Australia's highest peak

All abilities trek to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko - Australia's highest peak
All abilities trek to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko - Australia's highest peak - © Jennifer Johnson 2008

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Not just "are you being served?" But being served by who? Consumer Hospitality Research Examines the Link Between Hospitality Purchase Intention and Service Staff with Disabilities

As Photo 1 demonstrates, lot can be read into service encounters whether they be people with disability as consumers or as employees serving others. The servicescape's physical and sensory dimensions create enabling or disabling environments for consumers and employees alike. The servicescape may dominate a person's experience or be overcome by well-trained staff who welcome people with disability and seek solutions to environmental barriers. However, what are consumer reactions to being served by people with disability?

This study out of the USA explored several types of interactions in restaurants between customers and service staff with and without disabilities. The findings were relatively surprising and led to the conclusion that service staff with disabilities should be employed in restaurants that target families rather than business or romantic clientele. As this study suggests, it is not just whether you "are you being served?" but some groups of consumers may have a negative disposition towards people with disability in a service context.

this picture shows a manual wheelchair user at an inappropriately designed counter trying to get service from a blonde headed men and a brunette headed women
Photo 1: Service Encounters ©PhotoAbility 2014é

Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.

Consumers' perspectives on service staff with disabilities in the hospitality industry

Pei-Jou Kuo
Valentini Kalargyrou

Purpose – This exploratory study aims to investigate consumers' perceptions, attitudes, and purchase intention for restaurants that employ a significant amount of service staff with disabilities. The influences of consumers' characteristics and dining occasions on purchase intention were also examined.

Design/methodology/approach – The authors employed a single-factor (dining occasion) experimental design. A convenient sample was used and a total of 192 consumers participated in this study.

Findings – Consumers demonstrated a moderately positive purchase intention for a restaurant that employs a significant amount of service staff with disabilities; however, the purchase intention varied by dining occasions. The likelihood of choosing this type of restaurant was higher in a family/friends occasion than in business or romantic occasions.

Research limitations/implications – This study employed a convenient sample and the findings might be limited to the casual dining restaurant context. Future research should examine the relationship between purchase intention and perceived social responsibility, restaurant image, or specific disabilities.

Practical implications – This study suggests that hiring a significant amount of service staff with disabilities might be a better strategy for restaurants that target family/friends gatherings. Meanwhile, managers need to be more strategic when they assign employees with disabilities to serve guests who are in a business or romantic dining situation.

Originality/value – This is the first study that empirically investigates consumers' perspectives on restaurant service staff with disabilities in the USA.

Keywords: Dinning occasion, Hospitality industry, People with disabilities, Purchase intention, Restaurant, Service staff

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