Importance of relationship quality and communication on foodservice for the elderly

  • Seo, Sun-Hee (Department of Nutritional Sciences & Food Management, Ewha Womans University) ;
  • Back, Ki-Joon (University of Houston) ;
  • Carol, W. Shanklin (Department of Hospitality Management and Dietetics, Kansas State University)
  • Received : 2010.07.08
  • Accepted : 2011.02.12
  • Published : 2011.02.28


In order to promote foodservice for the elderly, foodservice managers in Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) must identify the main factors to enhance the satisfaction and behavioral intentions with food service. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationships between relationship quality (consisting of trust, commitment, and satisfaction) and communication in the formation of elderly's behavioral intentions with food services at CCRCs. A survey was administered to residents in two CCRCs and a total of 327 residents participated. A tested structural equation model exhibited good model fit and explanatory power of the study construct. Satisfaction directly influenced word-of-mouth and service quality has an influence on commitment. Commitment was a significant determinant of behavioral intentions to eat more often in the dining room. Also, communication showed positive association with trust. The results provided strong evidence for the importance of satisfaction and communication as a consequence of relationship marketing efforts. Suggestions for future research to better understand the elderly' behavioral intention judgments were given.


  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [Internet]. USA: Continuing care retirement communities; c1997 [cited 2001 March 12]. Available from: ccrcrpt.htm.
  2. Administration on Aging [Internet]. USA: Housing with services: CCRC; c2003 [cited 2009 July 13]. Available from: http://www.aoa.
  3. Amarantos E, Martinez A, Dwyer J. Nutrition and quality of life in older adults. J Gerontol 2001;56:54-64.
  4. Garbarino E, Johnson M. The difference roles of satisfaction, trust, and commitment in customer relationships. J Mark 1999; 63:70-87.
  5. Smith JB. Buyer-seller relationships: Bonds, relationship management, and sex-type. Can J Adm Sci 1998;15:76-92.
  6. Scotti DJ, Stinerock RN. Cognitive predictors of satisfaction with hospital inpatient service encounters among the elderly: A matter of trust. J Hosp Mark 2003;14:3-22.
  7. Johnson DW, Johnson RT. Cooperation and competition: Theory and research. Edina: Interaction Book Co.; 1989.
  8. Lewicki RJ, Bunker BB. Developing and maintaining trust in work relationships. In Kramer RM, Tyler TR. (Eds.): Frontiers of Theory and Research, Sage, Thousand Oaks.; 1996. p.114-39.
  9. Moore JR, Gilbert DA. Elderly residents: Perceptions of nurses' comforting touch. J Gerontol Nurs 1995;21:6-13.
  10. Morgan RM, Hunt SD. The commitment-trust theory of relationship marketing. J Mark 1994;58:20-38.
  11. Dai Y. Overall Customer satisfaction, trust, and commitment in customer voluntary performance behaviors with travelers in lodging services. [doctor's thesis] Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University; 2002.
  12. Singh J, Sirdeshmukh D. Agency and trust mechanisms in consumer satisfaction and loyalty judgments. J Academy Marks Science 2000;28:150-67.
  13. Tax SS, Brown SW, Chandrashekaran M. Customer evaluations of service complaint experiences: Implications for relationship marketing. J Mark 1998;62:60-76.
  14. Hennig-Thurau T, Klee A. The impact of customer satisfaction and relationship quality on customer retention: A critical reassessment and model development. Psychology & Marks 1997;14:737-65.<737::AID-MAR2>3.0.CO;2-F
  15. Spreng RA, Mackoy RD. An empirical examination of a model of perceived service quality and satisfaction. J Retailing 1996; 72:201-14.
  16. Gotlieb JB, Grewal D, Brown SW. Consumer satisfaction and perceived quality: complementary or divergent construct?. J Appl Psychol 1994;79:875-85.
  17. Dabholkar PA, Shepherd CD, Thorpe DI. A comprehensive framework for service quality: an investigation of critical conceptual and measurement issues through a longitudinal study. J Retailing 2000;76:139-73.
  18. Reynolds KE, Beatty SE. Customer benefits and company consequences of customer salesperson relationships in retailing. J Retailing 1999;75:11-32.
  19. Moorman C, Zaltman G, Deshpande R. Relationship between providers and users of market research: The dynamics of trust within and between organization. J Mark Res 1992;29:314-28.
  20. Bolton RN. A dynamic model of the duration of the customer's relationship with a continuous service provider: The role of satisfaction. Marks Science 1998;17:45-65.
  21. Cronin Jr, Taylor SA. Measuring service quality: A reexamination and extension. J Mark 1992;56:55-68.
  22. Crosby LA, Evans RE, Cowles D. Relationship quality in services selling: An integrative influence perspective. J Mark 1990;54: 68-81.
  23. Anderson E, Lodish LM, Weitz BA. Resource allocation behavior in conventional channels. J Mark Res 1987;24:85-97.
  24. de Wulf K, Odekerken-Schröder G, Iacobucci D. Investments in consumer relationships: A cross-country and cross-industry exploration. J Mark 2001;65:33-50.
  25. Fu Y, Parks SC. The relationship between restaurant service quality and consumer loyalty among the elderly. J Hospitality & Tourism Res 2001;25:320-36.
  26. Allen NJ, Meyer JP. The measurement and antecedents of affective, continuance and normative commitment to the organization. J Occup Organ Psychol 1990;63:1-18.
  27. Anderson E, Lodish LM, Weitz BA. Resource allocation behavior in conventional channels. J Mark Res 1987;4:85-97.
  28. Seo SH, Shanklin CW. Food and service quality attributes important to residents living in continuing care retirement communities. J Am Diet Assoc 2003;103:200.
  29. Nunnually, JC. Psychometric Theory (2nd ed.). New York: Mc Grow-Hill.; 1987.
  30. Fornell C, Larcker DF. Evaluating structural equation models with unobservable variables and measurement error. J Mark Res 1981;18:39-50.
  31. Anderson JC, Gerbing DW. Structural equation modeling in practice: a review and recommended two-step approach. Psychol Bull 1988;103:411-23.
  32. Caceres RC, Paparoidamis NG. Service quality, relationship satisfaction, trust, commitment and business-to-business loyalty. Eur J Mark 2007;41:836-67.
  33. Chen ZX, Shi Y, Dong DH. An empirical study of relationship quality in a service setting: a Chinese case. Marks Intelligence & Plan 2008;26:11-25.
  34. Um S, Chon K, Ro YH. Antecedents of revisit intention. Annals Tourism Res 2006;33:1141-58.
  35. Babin BJ, Lee YK, Kim E, Griffin M. Modeling consumer satisfaction and word-of-mouth: restaurant patronage in Korea. J Serv Mark 2005;19:133-9.
  36. Kau A, Loh EW. The effects of service recovery on consumer satisfaction: a comparison between complainants and non-complainants. J Serv Mark 2006;20:101-11.
  37. Calhoun RE, Hutchinson SL. Decision-making in old age: Cautiousness and rigidity. Int J Aging Hum Dev 1981;13:89-98.

Cited by

  1. Importance of satisfaction with food for older adults’ quality of life vol.116, pp.8, 2014,