Restaurants that have ‘authenticity’ in common may want to cooperate to achieve economies of scale through standardization. However, the latter contradicts with the principle of authenticity. This paper explores this paradox by developing and then discussing a common standard for the case of a Dutch group of top-restaurants. The researchers seek to achieve the above purpose through an extensive literature review, interviews with restaurant entrepreneurs and a survey among customers. This is done to gain an understanding of the perceived image of the essential features that render selected members of the alliance of restaurants capable of staging an authentic meal experience. This way, image perception is matched with identity, in an effort to contribute to the process of reinforcing the alliance’s brand essence.
The present research shows that the literature focuses more on the physical features that may contribute to a sense of restaurant authenticity while the businesses render an authentic service delivery most important and the customers appreciate authentic food and authentic food preparation the most. By combining these features into an authenticity-based set of features that can be specified in a common standard, restaurants can align their business to the core of the association, but still be an individual restaurant within the association. This way they can stay authentic while standardizing the most important features of the association and thus cope with the paradox of standardizing authenticity. Furthermore, the research findings offer evidence that customers appreciate the features of a restaurant, these render it in their perception to be authentic. This implies that restaurant authenticity plays an important role in the process of attracting customers.
|Title of host publication||EURAS Proceedings 2010 - Services standardisation|
|Editors||J.-C. Graz, K. Jakobs|
|Place of Publication||Aachen, Germany|
|Number of pages||21|
|Publication status||Published - 2010|
|Series||EURAS contributions to standardisation research|