Indiana State University Newsroom

Project investigates global views on quality dining services and impact of cultural values

December 11, 2014

One size doesn't fit all when it comes to dining experiences, but research at Indiana State University could provide companies that operate internationally with a standard operating procedure for global dining service delivery.

Kuntal Bhattacharyya, assistant professor of operations and supply chain management and director of Indiana State's Center for Supply Management Research, is spearheading the meta-analysis with help from student collaborator Ashley Borhart, a junior operations and supply chain management major from Marengo, Ill.

"The idea is to create a setup where you can seamlessly choose a region and it creates a customize set of steps that tells you from what area you want to provide service," Bhattacharyya said. "I'm a big fan of research that is actually used in practice. If we can create a protocol that can be used by global dining service providers, I'll think of this as a success."

The research analyzes differences in customer perceptions of quality dining services by comparing case studies from five continents and investigating the impact of national cultural values on dining experiences in a cross-cultural setting.

"We looked at different aspects of service quality and looked at it through the lens of different forms of cultural markers, like if people were driven by collectivism or individualism, whether they were more masculine or feminine," said Borhart, who will graduate in May 2016. "We want people to see that these differences in perception exist, so you can't expect to give the same type of service to everybody and have it be perceived the same way because we all have different backgrounds. If people acknowledge that from the beginning and understand that people will perceive things differently, then they can make attention more individualized and customized."

Bhattacharyya and Borhart reviewed a half-dozen research papers on dining experiences in Brazil, Spain, Romania, Pakistan and the Middle East.

"Today's dining workforce seeks diversity as people from all around the world come to work in the U.S., and they have to cater to the host country's culture in some form and invite that into the dining experience they want to perceive," Bhattacharyya said. "We want to create a standard procedure for this cross-cultural workforce that can be applied at the minimal level to dining guests across the globe that greatly eradicates the necessity of multiple operating procedures in different countries. The idea is to try and look at different parts of the world, identify commonalities and provide deliverables back to companies that operate globally."

Bhattacharyya and Borhart have established a model to test-run and plans are to continue looking at more papers with the expectation of publishing it in a service-driven journal. There is also an opportunity to showcase the completed work at an international conference next year.

Their conceptual model and hypotheses were well-received during a presentation at the annual meeting for the Decision Sciences Institute - the largest governing-body of operations and supply chain management - which took place Nov. 22-25 in Tampa, Fla. and was attended by 2,500 professors and PhD students from around the world.

"Our research was well-accepted and we had very nice feedback on multiple areas, and we'll build on that feedback to complete our research," Bhattacharyya said. "(Borhart) was probably one of the only undergraduate students in that group of people at the Tampa conference, which shows that you can produce quality research, no matter what level of education you're in."

Writer: Betsy Simon, media relations assistant director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-7972 or

Contact: Kuntal Bhattacharyya, director of the Center for Supply Management Research and assistant professor of operations and supply chain management,