The first impression in a fine-dining restaurant. A study of C Restaurant in Tampere, Finland

Open access


Food business has become a popular trend for entrepreneurs these days. However, it seems that many entrepreneurs do not know how important is the first impression and the services offered to their guests. Consequently, many restaurants have a generally poor service, and therefore, many are closed as soon as they are opened. This study concerns more on how the first impression works in a fine-dining restaurant; hence, restaurateurs will able to know how to build on a customer’s good first impression. Previous studies, experts’ opinions, and the theories related to the topic of this study were referred and used in this study. The study was carried out in restaurant ‘C’, located in Tampere, Finland. Samples were collected from the guests who visited the restaurant ‘C’. This study contributes new knowledge regarding the first impression, and how it affects the customers’ decision behaviour as well as three different types of service clues (mechanic, humanic, and functional clues) and how they influence the customers’ perception.

[1] Agarwal, B. (2009). Sequence Of Service-Restaurants. Retrieved from Slide Share:

[2] Ambady, N. & Rosenthal, R. (1993). Half a minute: Predicting teacher evaluations from thin slices of nonverbal behavior and physical attractiveness. Journal Of Personality And Social Psychology, 64(3), pp. 431-441. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.64.3.431

[3] Ambady, N., Bernieri, F. J. & Richeson, J. A. (2000). Toward a histology of social behavior: Judgmental accuracy from thin slices of the behavioral stream. In M. Zanna, Advances in experimental social psychology, 32, pp. 201-271. San Diego, CA: Academic Press

[4] Amick, D. J. & Walbery, H. J. (1975). Introductory Multivariate Analysis. California: McCutchan Publishing Corporation.

[5] Angeline, T. (2011). Managing generational diversity at the workplace: expectations and perceptions of different generations of employees. African Journal of Business Management, 5(2), pp. 249-255. doi:10.5897/AJBM10.335

[6] Asghar, R. (2014). Gen X Is From Mars, Gen Y Is From Venus: A Primer On How To Motivate A Millennial. Retrieved from

[7] Aubert-Gamet, V. (1997). Twisting servicescapes: diversion of the physical environment in a re-appropriation process. International Journal Of Service Industry Management, 8(1), pp. 26-41. doi:10.1108/09564239710161060

[8] Bar, M., Neta, M. & Linz, H. (2006). Very First Impressions. Emotion, 6(2), pp. 269-278. doi: 10.1037/1528-3542.6.2.269

[9] Bitner, M. (1992). Servicescapes: The Impact of Physical Surroundings on Customers and Employees. Journal Of Marketing, 56(2), pp. 57-71. doi:10.2307/125204

[10] Churchill, A. G. (1995). Marketing Research: Methodological Foundations (6 ed.). New York: Dryden Press.

[11] Cousins, J., Foskett, D. & Gillespie, C. (2002). Food and beverage management. Harlow: Prentice Hall

[12] Davis, L. (2014). Why Perception Means Everything To Generation-Y. Retrieved from

[13] Develop More Capable Staff. (2011). Retrieved from

[14] Developing a Human Resource strategy - A Tarmac case study. (n.d.). Retrieved from Business Case Studies:

[15] Dye, L. (2004). Study: First Impressions Really Matter. Retrieved from ABC NEWS:

[16] Evans, N. (2011). Square Meal’s 2011 restaurant survey. Retrieved from Square Meal:

[17] Foderaro, L. W. (1985). First Impressions Can Have a Lasting Effect. New York Times, p. 42

[18] Gladwell, M. (2007). Blink: the power of thinking without thinking. Little, Brown

[19] Grandey, A., Fisk, G., Mattila, A., Jansen, K. & Sideman, L. (2005). Is “service with a smile” enough? The authenticity of positive displays during service encounters. Organizational Behavior And Human Decision Processes, 96(1), pp. 38-55. doi:10.1016/j.obhdp.2004.08.002

[20] Jamal, A. & Naser, K. (2002). Customer satisfaction and retail banking: an assessment of some of the key antecedents of customer satisfaction in retail banking. International Journal of Bank Marketing, 20(4), pp. 146-160. doi:10.1108/02652320210432936

[21] Keaveney, S. (1995). Customer Switching Behavior in Service Industries: An Exploratory Study. Journal Of Marketing, 59(2), pp. 71-82. doi:10.2307/1252074

[22] Kennedy, P. (1998). A Guide to Econometrics (4 ed.). Oxford: Blackwell Publishers

[23] Kim, W. & Moon, Y. (2009). Customers’ cognitive, emotional, and actionable response to the servicescape: A test of the moderating effect of the restaurant type. International Journal Of Hospitality Management, 28(1), pp. 144-156. doi:10.1016/j.ijhm.2008.06.0

[24] Kumar, M., Chengappa, S. & Pandya, S. (2013). Capability Development: Enhancing Employee Potential through Strategic Competency Building and People Development. International Journal Of Management And Social Sciences Research, 2(2), pp. 27-28

[25] Kumar, S. (2013). The sequence of Service. Retrieved from Slide Share:

[26] Lin, I. (2004). Evaluating a servicescape: the effect of cognition and emotion. International Journal Of Hospitality Management, 23(2), pp. 163-178. doi:10.1016/j.ijhm.2003.01.001

[27] Lipsman, H. (2010). Teach Your Staff Members about The Consequences of Their Actions. Retrieved from Club Industry:

[28] Mack, S. (n.d.). The concept of Consumer-Switching Behavior. Retrieved from Chron:

[29] Mealey, L. (2008). Ten Reasons Restaurants Fail. Retrieved from

[30] Miller, R. K. & Kelli, W. (2013). The 2013 Restaurant, Food & Beverage Market Research Handbook. Richard K Miller & Associates

[31] Mittal, V. & Kamakura, W. (2001). Satisfaction, Repurchase Intent, and Repurchase Behavior: Investigating the Moderating Effect of Customer Characteristics. Journal Of Marketing Research, 38(1), pp. 131-142. doi:10.1509/jmkr.

[32] Mohr, L. & Bitner, M. (1995). The role of employee effort in satisfaction with service transactions. Journal Of Business Research, 32(3), pp. 239-252. doi:10.1016/0148-2963(94)00049-k

[33] Morley, M. (2014). What Are Examples of Good Service in the Restaurant Industry? Retrieved from Small Business –

[34] Mosahab, R., Mahamad, O. & Ramayah, T. (2010). Service Quality, Customer Satisfaction, and Loyalty: A Test of Mediation. International Business Research, 3(4), pp. 72-80. doi:10.5539/ibr.v3n4p72

[35] Nauert, R. (2011). First Impressions Influence Later Behavior. Retrieved from PsychCentral:

[36] Nicholson, C. (2011). First Impressions Can Be Quite Accurate. Retrieved from SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN:

[37] Nowlin, F. L. (2010). Getting Beyond a Negative First Impression: Thin-Slice Judgments of Teacher Personality. Bachelor’s Thesis, University of Michigan

[38] Nunnally, J. (1978). Psychometric theory (2 ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill

[39] Parasuraman, A., Berry, L. L. & Zeithaml, V. A. (1991). Refinement and Reassessment of the SERVQUAL scale. Journal of Retailing, 67(4), pp. 420-450

[40] Parsa, H., Self, J., Njite, D. & King, T. (2005). Why restaurants fail? Cornell Hotel And Restaurant Administration Quarterly, 46(3), pp. 304-322

[41] Porter, A. (2009). First Impressions and Greeting Customers. Retrieved from Word of Mouth Marketing Weblog:

[42] Robertson, K. (2008). How to make a powerful First Impression. Burlington, Ontario: The Robertson Training Group.

[43] Rosenzweig, P. (2007). The halo effect ... and the eight other business delusions that deceive managers. New York: Free Press

[44] Rule, N. O. & Ambady, N. (2008). First impressions: Peeking at the neural correlates. In N. Ambady, & J. Skowronski, First Impressions (pp. 35-56). New York: Guilford

[45] Ryu, K. & Jang, S. (2008). DINESCAPE: A Scale for Customers’ Perception of Dining Environments. Journal Of Foodservice Business Research, 11(1), pp. 2-22. doi:10.1080/15378020801926551

[46] Santos, J. (2002). From intangibility to tangibility on service quality perceptions: a comparison study between consumers and service providers in four service industries. Managing Service Quality: An International Journal, 12(5), pp. 292-302. doi:10.1108/09604520210442083

[47] Smith, E., Simpson, J. & King, L. (2011). Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 80(2), pp. 325-339

[48] Sulek, J. & Hensley, R. (2004). The Relative Importance of Food, Atmosphere, and Fairness of Wait: The Case of a Full-service Restaurant. Cornell Hotel And Restaurant Administration Quarterly, 45(3), pp. 235-247. doi:10.1177/0010880404265345

[49] Sureshchandar, G. S., Rajendran, C. & Anantharaman, R. N. (2002). The relationship between service quality and customer satisfaction – a factor approach. Journal of Services Marketing, 14(4), pp. 363-379. doi: 10.1108/08876040210433248

[50] Sweeney, J., Johnson, L. & Armstrong, R. (1992). The Effect of Cues on Service Quality Expectations and Service Selection in a Restaurant Setting. Journal Of Services Marketing, 6(4), pp. 15-22. doi:10.1108/08876049210037122

[51] (2010). The importance of food quality. Retrieved from Tcmwell:

[52] Thompson, J. (2012). Thin Slices & First Impressions. Retrieved from Psychology Today:

[53] Thorndike, E. (1927). The Law of Effect. The American Journal Of Psychology, 39, pp. 212-222

[54] Ting, D. (2004). Service quality and satisfaction perceptions: curvilinear and interaction effect. International Journal of Bank Marketing, 26(6), pp. 407-420. doi:10.1108/02652320410559330

[55] Tolbize, A. (2008). Generational differences in the workplace. Minneapolis, MN: Research and Training Center on Community Living, University of Minnesota. Retrieved from

[56] Tracy, B. (2013). The Importance of a First Impression. Retrieved from Brian Tracy:

[57] Trahan, R. (2014). Your staff is your best publicity asset. Retrieved from BedTimes:

[58] Wiley. (2000). The Nine Basic Principles of Hospitality. In Remarkable Service. John Wiley and Sons

[59] Willis, J. & Todorov, A. (2006). First Impressions: Making Up Your Mind After a 100-Ms Exposure to a Face. Psychological Science, 17(7), pp. 592-598. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9280.2006.01750.x

[60] Zeithaml, V., Berry, L. & Parasuraman, A. (1990). Delivering quality service: balancing customer perceptions and expectations. New York: Free Press

[61] Zeithaml, V., Berry, L., & Parasuraman, A. (1996). The Behavioral Consequences of Service Quality. Journal of Marketing, 60(2), pp. 31-46. doi:10.2307/1251929

European Journal of Tourism, Hospitality and Recreation

The Journal of CiTUR Centre of Tourism Research, Development and Innovation

Journal Information


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 3504 3275 164
PDF Downloads 1027 961 75