A study that explains how to increase a restaurant’s table turns by adjusting the pace of a meal is the featured article in the August 2007 issue of the Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly (CQ). In this study, researchers Breffni Noone, Sheryl Kimes, Anna S. Mattila, and Jochen Wirtz determined that guests can be rushed through certain parts of the meal, while other sections of the meal must proceed at the guests' pace. Noone is an assistant professor at Pennsylvania State University; Kimes is a professor at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration; Mattila is an associate professor at Pennsylvania State University; and Wirtz is an associate professor at the National University of Singapore.
“By dividing the meal into three parts, we were able to determine where a restaurant may pick up the pace and where it must not rush,” said Kimes. “The first stage, which we call pre-process, can be relatively brisk, including greeting and ordering food. However, once the drinks are on the table and the meal is in progress, we found that diners are unhappy when they feel rushed.”
By contrast, the researchers found that diners had a much greater tolerance for speed in what they called the post-process stage, which occurs with check settlement and departure after the meal is consumed. One exception to this observation occurred in fine-dining restaurants, where guests prefer not to be rushed at any point of the meal.
About the Center for Hospitality Research A unit of the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, The Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) sponsors research designed to improve practices in the hospitality industry. Under the lead of the Center’s 57 corporate affiliates, experienced scholars work closely with business executives to discover new insights into strategic, managerial and operating practices. The center also publishes the award-winning hospitality journal, the Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly. To learn more about the center and its projects, visit www.chr.cornell.edu.