Lessons learned: a qualitative case study of restaurant success in Auckland, New Zealand
Chen, Beverly (Shih-Yun)
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The aim of this study is to identify factors influencing the success of independent restaurants, as these restaurants appear to be an attractive entrepreneur investment option. However, these independent restaurants suffer a higher failure rate when compared to chain/franchised restaurants. A qualitative case study research methodology was adopted to explore the factors affecting the performance of independent restaurants. The research was conducted through semi-structured interviews in Auckland, New Zealand, with 11 independent restaurant owner-operators. Findings from the study revealed that restaurateurs have different perceptions of restaurant success, with most relating success to feelings of achievement rather than financial gain. In addition, participants show a clear difference between ‘knowing’ (having the knowledge) and ‘doing’ (applying the knowledge in practice). This behaviour could be caused by limited access to the kind of information needed in the planning stages and a lack of support from the restaurant industry. The study also suggests that the three main categories controlling the success of independent restaurants are the operational environment, stakeholders, and management factors. These factors are similar to Camillo et al.’s (2005) study that was applied as the research framework for this thesis. The researcher argues that the development of management system that consists of a standard operation manual and an extensive training programme could lead to a more efficient and sustainable restaurant operation.