Date of Conferral

2016

Degree

Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)

School

Management

Advisor

Karin Mae

Abstract

Inappropriate managerial responses to critical service events (CSEs) in restaurants contribute to an increased rate of customer defection and restaurant failure. Some restaurant managers lack employee-training strategies that may enhance service recovery from CSEs. This case study explored what employee-training strategies participants deemed essential to enhance service recovery to CSEs. The population for this study was restaurant managers from a U.S. regional chain in South Carolina with at least 3 years of employee-training experience. Organizational learning theory was the conceptual framework for this study. Data collection included semistructured face-to-face interviews with restaurant managers and an exploration of company archival documents related to CSEs. Using Yin's 5 step data analysis method (i.e. compiling, disassembling, reassembling, interpreting, and concluding), 3 major themes emerged: customer needs and requests, which included the importance of listening to customers and affirming their requests; employee actions and attitudes, which included opinions about the ideal employee demonstrating a great attitude when correcting mistakes; and training, which included multiple methods to improve employee performance through continuous training. Recommendations for action included how to instruct employees to listen, apologize, solve problems, and thank customers. Restaurant managers may apply these results to improve service quality and customer experiences. Social implications include strategies to create positive experiences for employees and customers enhancing community employment and business sustainability.