The term “fast food” was recognized in a dictionary by Merriam–Webster in 1951. Outletsmay be stands or kiosks, which may provide no shelter or seating (Jakle and John, 1999) orfast food restaurants (also known as quick service restaurants).
Originated at USA in 1916,fast food restaurants are now dominating the world (Bareham, 1995). Today fast foodrestaurant industry is a highly growing sector in Bangladesh (Islam & Ullah, 2010).The Bangladesh service industry has gained greater attention in today’s businessenvironment. Despite the growth of fast food industry is facing numerous new challengesdue to external an internal factors in its business environment which affect itsorganizational performance. The external factors include stiff competition from peers in the hospitality industry.
Besides the external factors, fast food restaurantshave to deal with internal challenges which are related to hospitality management. Thisinternal factor may contribute to their poor performance in terms of low level of servicequality (Lau, Akbar, & Fie, 2005).An “attitude” is defined as a kind of psychological tendency that is articulated by assessinga particular entity with some degree of favour or disfavour (Eagly and Chaiken, 1993). Theaffective, cognitive or behavioural responses resulting from the attitude relate to theprocess of evaluation (Frewer, 2003). 5 Evaluative responses are those which expressapproval or disapproval, liking or disliking, attraction or aversion. Attitudes exist towardsprice or value of a food product, health or nutrition.
They cannot directly be observed, butcan be inferred from observable responses to questionnaires or interviewers (MacCorqualand Meehl, 1948).When consumers visit fast food restaurants, how they feel about those restaurants dependsupon a lot of factors. For example, Campbell-Smith (1967) introduced in their research thepattern of experience, which explains the elements of a restaurant’s offer. Cousins, Foskettet al. (2002) classified the factors in five categories, according to their importance, as foodand beverage, serving, cleaning-hygiene, value and ambience.Kivela, Inbakaran et al. (2000) considered some attributes, like the variety of the menu,taste and the consistency of food products, in order to examine their effect on customers.Mattila (2001) used the quality of products in restaurants as a way of prediction formeasuring the customers’ loyalty.
On the other hand, Soriano (2002) realized that thequality of products is not the most important thing that determine young people to eat atfast food restaurants.According to Edwards and Gustafsson (2008), the most important connection between therestaurant and the consumers is achieved due to the front-office employees and theirperformance, which can easily influence the consumers’ mood.Another important element in a restaurant is the physical environment. From this point ofview, the restaurant has to be large enough to serve and prepare the food (Carlback, 2008).Bitner (1992) named the physical environment of a restaurant as “servicescape”. It wasdefined, according to its dimensions, as: physical conditions (for example, the temperature,the noise), the space (for example, the equipment), signs, symbols and artifacts (forexample, direction signs or the decoration style). Moreover, some studies show the factthat the physical environment can be used to influence the consumers’ expectationsregarding the qualities of the restaurant (Baker, Grewal et al., 1994; Wall and Berry,2007), as all these factors are part of this catering experience.
Besides this, some studies show the fact that the atmosphere of a restaurant plays a specialrole in defining customer’s mood, even before they deliver the service. (Mattila and Wirtz,2001; Namasivayam and Mattila, 2007).In a recent research, Voon (2012) analyzed the importance of the environment where theservices are offered (the “servicescape” and the contact employees), the food quality andthe prices, from the young people’s perspective, in three types of restaurants.
On one hand,the price is considered as the most important factor in determining the young people’sloyalty, it being followed by contact employees. On the other hand, the physicalenvironment “servicescape” and the food quality are not so important in influencing youngpeople’s loyalty regarding a catering place.Qin and Prybutok (2008) investigated the role of the price when talking about fast-foodconsumers and they discovered that the price didn’t play such an important role.
This isbecause fast-food products are cheaper compared to other restaurants’ products.Nevertheless, the price plays an important role in attracting young people, as they havelower income.The factors that helped to decide upon a restaurant form an aspect that both the researchersand the managers should keep in mind. Surprisingly, there are only a few studies whichanalyze the criteria people think about, when they choose a place to eat (Kim and Chung,2011).
According to Martin Fishbein, attitude is an independent measure of affect for or againstthe attitude object, which is a function of belief strength and evaluative aspect associatedwith each attribute (Fishbein, 1967). Here belief (expectancy) refers to the perceived probability which an object possesses regarding a particular attribute or a behavior that hasa particular consequence. And evaluation refers to the degree of affect, positive ornegative, towards an attribute or behavioral outcome. Fishbein’s debate, in a nutshell, isabout an attitude towards an object is more or less automatically learned as one learnsabout the object itself. That is, when one learns about a new product, that learning occursin the form of beliefs about product characteristics or attributes.
The key proposition in Fishbein’s theory is that people tend to like objects that areassociated with “good” characteristics and dislike objects they believe have “bad”attributes. In Fishbein’s multi-attribute model, overall attitude towards an object is afunction of two factors: the strengths of the salient beliefs associated with the object andthe evaluations of those beliefs.