Impact of Hygiene and Safety Training Programmes on Food Vendors
Satisfied customers are considered as vital to the long-term success of a business, and the connection between customer satisfaction and customer behavior has been the focused of different marketing literature for a long time. Tinker, (1997) stated that high consumer will help to motivate great customer loyalty, which will result to future revenue (Vapnek, 2007). According to Michigan Food Law, (2000) service and food quality is considered as reliant on a chain of subsystems that are connected to the behaviors of the consumer, together with profitability. This relationship is called the service profit chain (Vapnek, 2007), which indicated that increased in the satisfaction of the customer will help to decrease customer complaints and will eventually lead to the loyalty of customer.
The quality of services is critical and vital success factor for food businesses especially those small food businesses. The quality of food products and service is close conceptual and empirical connection to the satisfaction of the customers turned it into the primary marketing instrument, by making it the most researched area in the field of services marketing (Vapnek, 2007). The quality and excellence of food products and service helps to enhance the inclination of the customer to avail, and buy more, to buy other services and to become less price sensitive, at the same time, tell other people about their positive experiences (Vapnek, 2007). The activities of employees within a service company enable the company to be connected to their customers. The main aim of these activities focuses on maintaining good consumer relationship with the customers. Therefore, these activities are considered as a critical aspect in developing effective working relationships with the customers (Vapnek, 2007). As a result, the vendors, particularly in the food industry are vital in ensuring success in the said areas because of the fact that they are the person that are ultimately accountable or in charge in providing a quality service which will meet the expectations of the customers. Therefore, vendors’ skills, attitudes as well as equipment, hygiene and safety food preparation practices and other support that can help them will be considered as a determinant precursor towards the satisfaction of the customers (Powitz, 2008).
On the other hand, it is important to consider the different factors that are connected with satisfaction of the customers including expectations and service encounter and hygiene and safety food preparation practices.
Statement of the Problem
The food industry is considered as one of the most vulnerable industries because it can be affected by most of the changes in the preferences, demands and needs of the customers, particularly regarding the cultural and social aspect. This is greatly applied in the food service industry; where in the quality of service is considered as vital. Quality of food and service is connected or related with the satisfaction of the customers which will help to drive customer satisfaction and retention then help to improve financial performance and market share.
In Ghana, the need for hygiene and safety food preparation training was needed by vendors to promote not only increase in profits but also safeness for consumers. However, just like what have mentioned, the vendors is being affected by the different factors which affect the demands and needs of the customers, particularly in the aspect of product and service offerings. This is aside from that fact that vendors had already established strong bond with their loyal and long-termed customers.
Thus, this study will focus on the different problematic areas in food vending by focusing on the different factors and attributes that are connected to the performance of the vendors in terms of hygiene and safety food preparation practices. Thus, it will focus on the examining and analyzing the relationship between the satisfaction of the customers and the perceived quality towards the products and services offered by vendors.
Objectives of the Study
The objective of this study is to explore the case of food vendors in Ghana focusing the evaluation on the importance of hygiene and safety food preparation trainings and its influence on the customer loyalty. In lieu with this, the following research objectives will be addressed:
- analyze the importance of the hygiene and safety food preparation practices for a small food business;
- identify and monitor how do service quality and service experiences of customers’ affect the stronger customer relationship in order to help raise the customer loyalty;
- find out which issues play the most important roles in service quality and how those issues working and explore to maintain and improve the customer loyalty and the food business running;
- recommend strategies on how vendors will improve customer satisfaction.
The key questions that will be answered in this study are:
- what are the important factors which influence the satisfaction of customers in food vending in Ghana?;
- how the customers perceived the quality of food products and service in food vending in Ghana?;
- how important hygiene and safety food preparation training is for food vendors in Ghana?;
- how satisfactions of the customers towards the hygiene and safety food preparation, influence their loyalty in buying food products?
Both primary and secondary resources were analyzed and investigated in order to evaluate the past research that have been conducted regarding the perception and satisfaction of customers in food business industry. This enables the researchers to focus on the different variables and factors that will be considered in the study. The next stage engaged on the process of gathering information by using qualitative methods from the customers of small food businesses in Ghana. This procedure enables the researchers to recognize and reduce the key factors and the related elements which comprise the factors that are expected in order to explain the satisfaction of the customers. The next stage involved the process of designing and pre-testing of the questionnaire that was disseminated by using the convenience sampling or the sampling method that is used for convenience rather than representing the larger population. The pre-testing process was done in order to evaluate and review the strengths and weaknesses of the questionnaire, and ensure that all of the important variables will be included. During this stage, different alterations were made to the instrument in order to remove vagueness, at the same time, remove those items that seems out of place to the context (e.g. location or position of the food business). In addition, it had also helped in order to improve the flow of the question in order to maintain the interest of the respondents.
This study is a descriptive research, which is a research that aims to show facts that concerns with the current status and situation, as it exists at the time of the study (Creswell, 1994). It also helps to focus on the relationship and practices that exist, together with the beliefs and processes that are going on, thus affects things that are in demand or in trend. Furthermore, it can help to describe the current situation based on the impression and reactions of the respondents of the study (Creswell, 1994).
Fundamentally, a descriptive research utilizes observations and surveys. That is the reason this approach was chosen by the researcher, whose intention is gather first hand data from respondents. Furthermore, it also allows flexible approach that when new issues arise during the study, a further investigation can be conducted in order to fill the gap. Apart from this, the research will also be allowed to drop different unproductive areas of research from the original plan of the study. Above all, it will be fast and cost-effective.
Primary data was collected directly from conveniently selected customers in food business in Ghana. A set of questionnaire was used in order to get the perceived and expected values of the customers. The questionnaire was designed in a way that was straightforward enough that respondents only needed to spend minimal time in the process (Creswell, 1994).
Creswell, J.W. (1994) Research design. Qualitative and quantitative approaches. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage.
Michigan Food Law, (2000) “Proper Food Handling, Food Safety, and Sanitation Practices”, Accessed 28 July 2010, from http://www.dining.mtu.edu/docs/food_handling.pdf
Powitz, R.W., (2008) “SSOPs for the Retail Food Industry? An Idea Whose Time has come”, The Sanitarian’s File, Accessed 28 July 2010, from http://www.extension.iastate.edu/NR/rdonlyres/9B821C2E-CCD3-4C7B-B96F-53D20D16D703/88132/SSOP_Food_Safety.pdf
Tinker, I., (1997) “Street Foods: Urban Food and Employment in Developing Countries”, Oxford University Press
Vapnek, J., (2007) “Legislative Implementation of the Food Chain Approach”, Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, 40