Blog 4 – Relish Burger Bistro (Seattle)
Cost of Service: $65 for meal and drinks for two
Date: March 11, 2013 at 9 pm
Relating to Chapter 10
Physical Evidence (pg 278-279)
Ambient Conditions (pg 296)
Spatial Layout and Functionality (pg 297)
Signs Symbols, and Artifacts (pg 297)
Recognize the Strategic Impact of Physical Evidence (pg 298)
Variations in Individual Responses (pg 295)
Strategic Roles of Servicescape (pg 283)
While wandering downtown Seattle searching for a place to get dinner a large sign caught my attention. The sign was advertising a new specialty burger restaurant called Relish that had just opened on March 1st. The sign promised that Relish would be the end of my “search for the perfect burger”. Although I was not currently on any burger quests, I felt that my life would feel unfulfilled if I did not give this place a chance. The concept of eating in a brand new restaurant was intriguing and the burger places I had eaten at in the past usually provided a fun, upbeat dining experience. My exhausted legs were the final decision making factor in my selection of Relish. Within the first ten minutes of my experience I had clearly determined that Relish did not have it figured out.
Application to Text
Physical Evidence: My main issues were with the restaurant’s physical evidence. Although some parts of Relish’s physical evidence were very nice, there were many aspects that did not fit, were non-existent and overall provided an inconsistent physical servicescape that took away from my dining experience. According to the text, “effective design of physical, tangible evidence is important for closing provider gap 2” (Zeithaml, 2012. Pg 278).
Ambient Conditions: “Ambient conditions include background characteristics of the environment such as temperature, lighting, noise, scent and colour” (Zeithaml, 2012. Pg 296). Throughout the restaurant somewhat undesirable kitchen cooking smells were apparent. These scents did not really live up to what I expected when going to a restaurant that had been open for eleven days. On top of that, the section we were seated in did not have any music playing which when combined with the scents provided a stale, unpleasant experience.
Spatial Layout and Functionality: When we arrived to the restaurant, the hostess or any of the servers were nowhere to be seen as they were in different sections of the restaurant that had no view of the front. As a result there was a lineup of people waiting to be seated. The functionality of the spatial layout of the restaurant did not facilitate accomplishment of employee and customer goals as it should (Zeithaml, 2012. Pg 297).
Signs, Symbols & Artifacts: One thing that Relish had effectively mastered on the physical evidence aspect of service was signs. What attracted us to the restaurant was the signage and that promised an enjoyable burger. Exterior signage is an example of an explicit communicator to reduce crowding and stress. (Zeithaml, 2012. Pg 297). The sign indicated that the restaurant would be open as of March 1st which gave me the impression that the restaurant was open and running at the when I saw the sign.
Recognize Strategic Impact of Physical Evidence: It was clearly evident that Relish had not recognized the strategic impact physical evidence could have on their business. According to the text, “for physical evidence strategy to be effective, it must be linked clearly to the organization’s overall goals and vision” (Zeithaml, 2012. Pg 299). The inconsistency of the décor, ambient evidence and some other physical evidence indicated that it was possible the owners had not connected their vision of a great burger place to physical evidence.
Variations in Individual Responses: Being from out of town and looking for a fun and exciting dining experience, I would have considered myself an arousal seeker. “Arousal seekers enjoy and look for high levels of stimulation” (Zeithaml, 2012. Pg 295). This could be why I was not impressed with the unexciting atmosphere that I had not expected from Relish.
Package: Another thing Relish had successfully accomplished was packaging. From the physical evidence they provided me (the potential customer) before entering the restaurant, they were able to convince me that this was the restaurant I was searching for. Although it did not accurately portray what was inside, it did draw me in by causing me to create my own perception of what was inside. The text explains “product packages are designed to portray a particular image as well as to evoke a particular sensory emotional reaction.
Physical Evidence in Casinos
One industry that I believe physical evidence plays a critical role in profitability is the Casino industry. If a customer is not winning money at a casino, they need to forget that fact quickly if they are going to stay at the Casino or return in the future. Physical servicescape can provide the customer with a memorable experience that will make the gambler feel like they are there to enjoy more than just gambling (even if they are only there to gamble). A study conducted for the Research Gaming and Review Journal indicated that customers defined casino atmosphere in five key elements: theme, floor layout, ceiling height, employee uniforms, and noise level. The study concluded that customer satisfaction of these elements lead to a more positive experience. (Johnson, L., Mayer, K. J., & Champaner, E. 2004) The casino industry, although providing different services than a restaurant, is equally reliant as on physical servicescape’s role in providing customer satisfaction.
Physical Evidence in Skiing
Ski resorts also rely heavily on physical evidence to provide customer satisfaction. A study done for the Journal of Park & Recreation Administration concluded that “the provision of quality facilities was shown to be a significant driver of satisfaction and, ultimately, their use of the resorts” (Kyle, G. T., Theodorakis, N. D., Karageorgiou, A., & Lafazani, M. 2010) This example also solidifies the point of the important role physical evidence plays in customer satisfaction.
My overall satisfaction with this experience would be a 3 out of 7 and I am not likely to return. Although the final product (he burger) exceeded my expectations. The physical servicescape of Relish nearly caused me to leave before even being served. They have a great product and a great package but in order for Relish to succeed, they need to recognize the importance of having a consistent and thoughtful physical servicescape.