Service Quality in Restaurants Operating in a Rural Area: The Case of Slovenian Istria

Marko Kukanja, Tanja Planinc

Abstract


The purpose of this paper was to investigate service quality in restaurants operating in the rural area of Slovenian Istria. The dineserv tool was used as a research instrument. The research sample consisted of 25 restaurant facilities and 250 valid questionnaires completed by domestic guests. Based on results of the exploratory factor analysis, twomain factor groups that best explain domestic guests’ quality perceptions in rural restaurant facilities were identified: (1) Empathy, Responsiveness, and Assurance (era) and (2) Tangibles. The results of our study are significantly different from those obtained in a previous study performed in the coastal area of Slovenian Istria (Kukanja & Planinc, 2015), as they indicate a relatively bipolar and homogeneous service quality structure. This study is of great managerial interest at the micro (restaurant) and macro (destination) levels. Research results indicate that restaurant managers should emphasise the importance of the two identified quality dimensions (era and Tangibles) and continuously measure the level of their offerings. Accordingly, research results may also be implemented in future destination quality and development strategies. In terms of future research, it would be of great interest to see if similarities in guests’ quality perceptions exist between Slovenian Istria and other competitive rural destinations.


Keywords: restaurant industry, service quality, dineserv, rural areas, Slovenian
Istria


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