Literature Review on the Role of Employees in restaurant business

Bizning Vakil By Bizning Vakil, 28th Jun 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
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Today, service industries have become important indicator of development. Even manufacturing industries involved service sectors to better meet demands of their customers. In service industry, employees have direct involvement with customers, and, therefore, play crucial role in successful operations of business. Restaurant industry, as one of service sectors, has become a fast evolving business within which employees’ role has been deeply and scholarly studied, thus evolved a literature review.


Marketing is often best applied in the service industries due to the unique characteristics of service sectors in direct association with the customers and customer – employee interrelations. Indeed, today, service industries have become an important indicator of business and economics development. Even manufacturing industries have involved service sectors to better meet the demands of their customers. However, unlike manufacturing, in service industry, employees have direct involvement with the customers, and, therefore, play a crucial role in successful operations of the business. As one of the service sectors, restaurant industry has become a fast evolving and enormously wide – spread business environment. In order to make improvements, the role of employees have been deeply and scholarly studied and continues to be so. This paper has researched those existing works, analyzed the authors findings, and produced an overall review. Thus, the literature review as presented in this paper generalizes upon the existing works on the role of employees in service industries, the case of restaurant business.

Literature Review

Unlike other businesses, service businesses have their employees in the full display where the employees directly communicate and engage into some form of relationship with the customers. Relatively large number of previous research works has documented that level of effort put by the employees has direct linkage with the successful operations and, therefore, increased sales of the organizations (Mattsson, 1994). Indeed, the service employees are enormously critical to the success of the organization they represent, because they directly impact customers’ satisfaction (Hartline et al., 2000). The attitudes and behaviors of service employees can significantly influence customers’ perceptions of the service, and therefore, service organizations must find ways by which they can effectively manage their service employees’ attitudes and behaviors so that they deliver high quality services (Chebat and Kollias, 2000).

Such a work environment where the importance of the employee role in organization’s successful operations is highly emphasized is the restaurant industry. Also, the restaurant business is where the level of competitiveness is very high and each café wants to survive and bring profit, striving to survive in business and occasionally to expand its market share. Generally, the restaurant industry can be described as a somehow complicated and unique in its environment industry. Its internal structure, management style and organizational culture are very diversified and present unique characteristics. In essence, the restaurant owners or the managers are running two critical components of business operations, which are manufacturing and sales, all under one roof (Biswas and Cassell, 1996). Therefore, restaurateurs must be concerned with both product quality and the level of service quality provided (Bojanic and Rosen, 1994).

As Davidson stated, the theory is especially indicative in the highly competitive full service restaurant industry. The application of necessary theories in management of this business is key to success. The importance of customer-employee interaction in the restaurant industry is magnified because of the high level of contact the employee has with the customer for the duration of the dining experience (Saks 2006).

Obviously, there are several factors that affect the employee and customer interaction. Again Davidson (2003) points out that organizational culture has a very significant impact on employee service delivery, which in turn could affect customers’ behavioral intentions. With organizational culture being the “glue” that allows the organization to sustain its unique identity (Cameron and Quinn, 1999; Creque, 2003), one would be led to believe that building a customer-oriented restaurant would begin with developing the appropriate culture.

Professor Geert Hofstede says that the “Culture is more often a source of conflict than of synergy. Cultural differences are a nuisance at best and often a disaster” (Emeritus Professor, Maastricht University). However, culture is only one of the factors that affect the employee efficiency. It is also argued those other factors such as the organizational internal structure, the reward system of the human resources management, and the motivation system affect the employee efficiency.

Indeed, the process of converting the employees into effectively functioning frontline assets is a very broad area to explore. Weitz et al. (1986, cited in Crook, Ketchen, & Snow, 2003) had proven that the concept of adaptability has been theorized to be associated with increased salesperson performance. Obviously, different customers expect and respond uniquely to different types of employee behaviors (Koys, 2006). Therefore, although some of the interactions between customers and service providers are routine, many are characterized by conflict and intense emotions (Crook, Ketchen, & Snow, 2003). This raises the issues of employees’ commitment to be engaged in the organization and the encouragement and reward they receive for that commitment.

Also, Goodman et al (2001) stated that to achieve the transformation in regard to optimizing the role of employees towards achieving higher levels of customer satisfaction, any organizations must first study, figure out and manage the complexities of their respective organizational cultures and build stronger levels of obligations. To have a good business, relationships within any restaurant both among the employers and the employees, the employees and the employees, and employees and the customers should be excellent and to reach that often important to do that by bypassing hierarchical line, as argued by Mead (2002).


Since employees have direct involvement with the customers in service business, the interaction between the customer and employee has gained considerable attention by both scholars and marketers (Mattsson, 1994). It is so important that in most cases this interaction can become the consumer evaluations of the entire service organization (Bitner et al., 1990). This explains why so many firms are restructuring their entire value chain by training and educating the employees (ibid). However, despite its importance, several researchers such as Brown et al. (1994) and Mattsson (1994) argue that relatively little theory exists concerning the employees’ ability to customize service delivery for individual consumers. The present paper has reviewed some of the common works and presented the key findings.


Chebat, J.C., and Kollias, P., 2000. The impact of empowerment on customer contact employees’ roles in service organizations. Journal of Service Research. 3 (1), 66-81.
Crook, T. R., Ketchen Jr., D. J., & Snow, C. C. (2003). “Competitive edge: A strategic management model.” Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly, 44: 44-55.
Davidson Michael, (2003) “Does organizational climate add to service quality in hotels?” International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 15 Iss: 4, pp.206 - 213
Hartline, M.D., Maxham J.G., and McKee, D.O., 2000. Corridors of influence in the dissemination of customer-oriented strategy to customer contact employees. Journal of Marketing. 64, 35-50.
McNamara C., (2000), Organizational Culture: Beverage and Food Industry, PhD project published by Aurhenticy Consulting LLC, Available from:
Koys, D. J. (2006). “The effects of employee satisfaction, organizational citizenship behavior and turnover on organizational effectiveness: A unit level longitudinal study.” Personal Psychology, 54 (1), pp. 101-114.
Saks, A.M. 2006 ‘Antecedents and consequences of employee engagement’, Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol 21, No 6, pp 600-619.
Sandeep Kular, Mark Gatenby, Chris Rees, Emma Soane, and Katie Truss., 2008., Employee Engagement, Working Paper Series No 19, Kingston Business School
Tracey, J. and T. Hinkin, (1994), “Leadership or effective managerial Practices?” Group and Organization Management Review. 1994, 86, 17-21
Truss, C., Soane, E., Edwards, C., Wisdom, K., Croll, A. and Burnett, J. 2006 Working Life: Employee Attitudes and Engagement 2006. London.


Employees In Restaurant, Literature Review, Restaurant, Role Of Employee

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author avatar Bizning Vakil
An economist by definition, a teacher by practice, a journalist by nature, I find it hard to find any one permanent place to settle down...

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author avatar MyShoh
14th Jul 2012 (#)

Good work,

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