The main goal of any business is profitability. Food service companies, the coffee shops, in particular, can sustain or increase profit by attracting and retaining more customers. “High satisfaction leads to high customer loyalty” (Alex & Thomas 2011). The impeccable service, friendly environment and well-elaborated design contribute a lot to the customer loyalty development. Moreover, these aspects constitute a significant part of the advantages in the extremely competitive market of coffee shop industry (Heide, Lærdal & Grønhaug 2007).
Coffee is one of the most popular beverages. Nowadays, over “400 billion cups are consumed each year” (Suter 2005). Nevertheless, a coffee shop is a place where people come not merely for drinking beverages but for socializing, communicating, and leisure. The overall environment of a place is thus of great importance, and can easily compensate the flaws in taste and quality of the coffee.
The modern customers make high demands, and it is in the company’s interests to make a good showing, especially for those who visit a coffee shop for a first time (Zomerdijk & Voss 2010). In case a coffee shop fails to provide an excellent impression, it leads to the visitors’ number reduction and low incomes (Waxman 2006). Therefore, the service improvement, as well as the advancement of coffee shop design, must be regarded as the primarily objective because it assists the customers’ appreciation that leads to positive outcomes in the maintaining of constant customer flow.
Many researchers have made a contribution to the investigation of connections between services quality and the levels of customer flows. The previous research addressed the issues of the design prevalence over the products quality as well (Hara, Arai & Shimomura 2009). However, the controversial findings made from the different perspectives make it hard to form a full comprehension of the extent to which the designs impact the customer attraction and can replace the quality of coffee products.
Coffee shop design and quality of offered services are the first to impress visitors, and the quality of products can be regarded as of secondary priority (Chen & Hu 2010). Since good impression supports customer attraction, the personnel must strive to provide high standards. It is important to understand the policies, implement the appropriate approaches, and have the right perceptions regarding high standards in design and service provision (Luiz Corrêa et al. 2007; Scott 2006).
Although the previous research achieved some success in the investigation of relations between service, design, and customers’ sense of value, there is still a lack of understanding of the extent of their impacts on the creation of the company’s competitive advantage.
For achievement of the competitive advantages, the management needs to comprehend the impacts of the coffee shop environment on the flow of clients (Yu & Fang 2009). Attractive designs and pleasant services in a coffee shop give the customers a feeling of relaxation and create positive impressions. It was observed that the customers’ loyalty is “mediated through emotions” (Walsh et al. 2010). The sense of pleasure provokes the sense of value. But different people have distinct purposes for visiting a coffee shop, and it must be taken into consideration. The staff members need to understand how to meet the needs of each person with the appropriate service and design (Mattila & Wirtz 2006).
For instance, for those who seek leisure, the hospitality, friendliness, and warm environment are of greatest importance (Akasaka et al. 2012).
Merely a good design and perfect service are not sufficient for the satisfaction of the leisure customer. On the contrary, those who came to coffee shop for a business meeting or a coffee-break, the impeccable service and the contemporary design are more attractive (Orth, Heinrich & Malkewitz 2012). It is important to be able to meet the requirements of the diverse types of customers by providing a high range of designs and services because it helps to increase the level of customers’ appreciation (Nunes & Drèze 2006).
The most prominent coffee shop companies in the United Kingdom applied different approaches in the wide customer base development (Walsh et al. 2011). For example, Costa is one of the most efficiently performing UK coffee shops, and nowadays it operates over 1000 stores. For raising its competitiveness, the coffee shop adopted the pre-pay, loyalty, and discount cards that encourage the customers to make more purchases (Patterson 2007).
It is observed by many researchers in marketing that implementation of loyalty cards can be regarded “as a mechanism for customer bonding” (Peck et al. 2004). Costa also offers the diverse range of products targeting a wider number of customers. For instance, Costa offers de-caffeine drinks and low-fat products to meet the needs of and attract new consumers who watch over their weight and well-being (Fournier & Lee 2009). Costa’s coffee shops are usually located in the convenient locations, and this factor is considered as vital in both attraction of the customers and the level of their satisfaction (Chase & Apte 2007).
Starbucks is another example of the successful and prominent representative of the coffee shop industry (Rosenbaum & Massiah 2011). In was founded in Washington in 1971 and has spread all over the world since then. There are over 550 Starbucks stores in the UK nowadays. The company developed a recognizable brand and is very popular because of its “overwhelming presence and convenience” (Moon & Quelsh 2004). The Starbuck’s strategy includes both excellent quality of products and services (Humphreys & Grayson 2008). The coffee shop personnel are required to follow the high standards of service provision. Starbuck’s products are diverse, and the effective advertising and the decision to use social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook made the company’s promotion widespread and helped to attract more customers from the internet users.
The data shows that consideration of the customers’ needs, a good promotion, and the overall environment in the coffee shops influence the customer attraction. However, the results do not demonstrate the extents of the service quality and interior designs’ ability to substitute the quality and taste of coffee products.
Research Questions and Objectives
The research will be conducted with the purpose of the relations establishment between the coffee shops design and service quality and the development of the customer satisfaction and loyalty. The main questions of the research are:
- How can a coffee shop ensure the loyalty of customers?
- Can design, layout, or services provided by a coffee shop substitute the coffee quality and taste for the consumers, and to what extent?
The main objectives that will be followed in answering these questions include the establishment of factors that ensure the customer loyalty, and to prove whether the high-quality services and design can substitute the quality and taste of coffee.
Based on the described objectives, the research model provides the analysis and evaluation of the relations between the quality of provided services, the design of a coffee house, quality and taste of coffee, customers’ experience, and the level of their satisfaction. The methods of both qualitative and quantitative research will be implemented to answer the formulated questions (Creswell 2014). The customer loyalty is regarded as a dependent variable while design, layout, and the provided services are the independent variables. The differences in age, social status, gender, and ethnicity are regarded as the demographic variables
The research will be based on the investigation and evaluation of the statistic data, surveys and interviews. Data will be collected on the variety of the coffee shops represented in London: Costa Coffee, Starbucks, FreeState Coffee, Caribou Coffee, Bewley’s, Tim Hortons, and Coffee Beanery. The data are collected to indicate the overall quality of the coffee houses environment, quality of products, the customers’ sense of value, and satisfaction.
The methods used in the research study include the analysis of information collected by surveys, personal interviews, and the previous literature evaluation. The data collected by interviewing customers and staff members of London’s coffee houses is subjective in its nature. However, the in-depth analysis will allow observing the extent of connections between the product and service qualities and the customers’ level of loyalty. The findings provided by the analysis will help to generate the theoretical conclusion (Creswell 2014).
The survey and interview participants are the customers of Costa Coffee, Starbucks, FreeState Coffee, Caribou Coffee, and other coffee stores located in London. The research participants will be involved in personal conversations with the open-ended questions (Baxter & Jack 2008). They also will be asked to answer the questions regarding the quality of products, services, and the coffee shops’ design in a survey.
The sample of the research is random, and “each individual in the population has an equal probability of being selected” (Creswell 2014). First of all, the conversation with the directors of the mentioned coffee houses will be arranged. The coffee shops’ 105 clients of different gender and social status will be inquired to participate in interviews and surveys. 105 inquiries will constitute the data basis for the analysis and evaluation conduction. The participants will constitute the culturally and socially diverse population. The social diversity will allow observation of the current research issues from the vaster perspective.
Data Collection Plan
The open-ended interviews requiring participants to give the opinions based on their experience and estimations will be combined with the multiple-choice survey questions. The survey will have a purpose the establishment of the connections between the aspects of customers’ evaluation of design, layout, quality of service, and products. The analysis of the collected information will help to investigate and determine the extent of the design and service quality substitution of the products’ quality that will provide the eventual findings of the study.
Before allowing every interviewee to begin answering the questions, the interviewer will clarify every detail of the process, talk about the background of the research, explain what kind of questions will be included, affirm the confidentiality of the information received during the interview, and emphasize the autonomy of participation (Creswell 2014). After this, the actual process of interviewing will take place and will continue for about an hour. The interview conversation will be recorded, and the participant will be informed about it beforehand. The recording is required for the provision of the data accuracy and lack of informational loss (Baxter & Jack 2008). The records and notes made during the interviews will be a solid reference during the analysis conduction.
The survey is answered in written form, and the participants need to rate their relations to the factors that are investigated: design, coffee products, and services. They also will need to answer multiple-choice questions about the purposes of visiting coffee shops, the reasons for their choice of a particular coffee shop, and circumstances of visiting it, etc. The data collected with a survey is more precise than collected in interviews. Surveys’ data is an important statistic basis that will make the analysis more grounded and strict.
The main analysis techniques include “pattern matching, linking data to propositions, explanation building” (Baxter & Jack 2008). The collected data will form a certain pattern that will be displayed after some examinations, assessments, and calculations. The statistic information of the survey and the open-ended answers of the interviews will be contrasted to the theoretical framework provided by the previous research, as well as to the objectives and expectations of this research.
Quality Considerations and Potential Limitations
The context of the coffee house industry doesn’t give a comprehensive understanding of the issues in the relations between customer services, design, layouts, and the level of the customer satisfaction. The cross-environmental investigation would lead to more profound results. Nevertheless, it is expected that the research will answer the question about the extent to which the quality of coffee can be substituted by the coffee shop environment. The current context allows being specific regarding this issue and will make the conclusion more detailed and elaborated.
The lack of precise information about the design and relativity of its perceptions are the potential limitations that can affect the results of the study. Since people can have different perceptions of the good or bad quality in services, the collected data cannot be considered completely objective (Creswell 2014). However, the demographic variables that include all the social, ethnic, educational differences of the research population are meant to balance the results and make them more grounded.
Interviewing of the staff members doesn’t provide the objective information as well. The data thus can be misleading and come to incorrect outcomes and will decrease the level of the findings’ liability (Kang et al. 2012). The relative amount of capability to ensure the high level of honesty and objectivity can be regarded as the greatest limitation of the current research.
The anticipated ethical issues related to the research conduct are mainly related to the provision of the confidentiality of the interview participants’ personal information. However, the interviewer is obligated to implement “normative and care-oriented approaches to ethical conduct” (Creswell 2014). In case a respondent will be under the age of 18, it is the interviewer’s responsibility to ask permission for interview conduction from his or her parents.
|Food and accommodation||$300|
|Printing and photocopying||$20|
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