Annotated Bibliography 7 & 8

Mayflower Chinese in Tenleytown would NOT pass most of Lin et al’s qualifications very easily (though this may be personal bias). Image by Odele Oyewole.

7. Lin, Yann-Jou, et al. “The Effect of Experiential Providers on Restaurant Patronage Decisions.” Social Behavior and Personality, vol. 40, no. 7, 2012, pp. 1065-1066.

In researchers Lin, Liu, and Chiang’s brief journal article “The Effect of Experiential Providers on Restaurant Patronage Decisions,” the three analyze the results of a survey to examine something often overlooked in regards to restaurant service- namely, the fact that service can be as much of a quality factor as food. They cite a theory of “experiential providers-” namely things that are experienced by consumers through intentional and unintentional acts of businesses, divided into several categories: “communication, verbal identity and signage, product presence, cobranding, spatial environment, electronic media, and people” (Lin et al. 1066). In particular, these researchers examine data collected by a survey asking individuals in Taiwan of either male or female gender how they rated these seven categories (Lin et al. 1065). In the end, their data revealed that the three most important of these factors were, for both genders, people, spatial environment, and product presence (Lin et al. 1065-1066). While these terms are not fully defined, they evidently relate to staff, design, and quality of the product respectively. The researchers note that men care more about the quality of the goods themselves rather than the environment of the restaurant, and vice versa (Lin et al. 1066). The article concludes with a call for further research to formalize the field of empirical food service.

As we approach the final paper, it becomes increasingly evident that I should examine how interiors are not only shaped from a perspective of rhetoric, but also from a perspective of business. While the two intertwine quite a bit, it’s quite necessary to remember that most intentions made with these places are intentional- chain restaurants are a fundamentally inorganic phenomena with lots of intentional attempts at cultivating brand loyalty or specific feelings. Having said that, it becomes apparent that having sources which describe not only methodology for analyzing marketing vis a vis restaurant design, but also useful data, is quite helpful. I plan to look further into the concepts of “experiential providers” as we approach this final paper.

8. Kotler, Phillip. “Atmospherics as a Marketing Tool.” Journal of Retailing, vol. 49, no. 4, 1974, pp. 48-64.

In Phillip Kotler’s academic paper “Atmospheric as a Marketing Tool,” he examines what he considers an underused tool by businesses throughout most fields: atmospherics, or, more plainly, cultivated atmospheres (Kotler 50). To begin, Kotler explains his historical understanding of his theories, stating that atmosphere in a building came as a byproduct of the evolution beyond functional buildings, which was followed by the evolution of atmosphere as an intentional tool (Kotler 49-50). To explain more fully, his argument rests on the idea that these cultivated atmospheres constitute an added value for a product, which helps sweeten the proposition to the consumer (Kotler 48). Furthermore, Kotler argues that the reason why this is worth discussing is the fact that a cultivated environment is increasingly relevant to businessmen if products are purchased on location, if competition is high without major price differences, and if social status is a factor- all of which make the psychological effect of the environment on the product that much more acute (52-53). He goes on to cite numerous examples of how atmosphere can be cultivated in everything from shoe stores (Kotler 55) to airlines (Kotler 59), before setting up a framework for formalizing the creation of a cultivated atmosphere (Kotler 63). Kotler notes that further research and reflection is needed, noting many instances where businesses failed to fully consider the ramifications of an atmosphere and damaged their business in the process (Kotler 63-64). In the end, he reiterates his point that it’s an important tool in the competitive businesses’ playbook.

Kotler’s work, as well as being an interesting read in its own right, is another framework for analysis of the interiors of the fast casual chains I will be examining. While I can also examine Lin’s framework for a breakdown of specific elements, Kotler provides a much better generalized look at how and why decisions are made in these contexts, which will hopefully benefit me in my research. Furthermore, my need for examination of interior design is particularly acute, as the businesses I’m examining share a building, which means that differentiating themselves must occur at the local level. In any case, Kotler’s work will be a major springboard for my future investigations.

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