This paper will research the psychology of how people interpret the length of a queue, specifically for a food truck, and determine if the wait equates to a better product instead of a lack of planning and organization. The research involves basic queuing theory, field theory and the anticipatory model in an effort to understand what drives the customers to make the decision delay gratification for what they assume will be a superior product.
When approaching an unfamiliar group of food trucks at the same location, all of which have different queue lengths, what drives the consumer to select a specific food truck? Beyond the mathematics and models of queuing theory (Chih-Chin & Fang-Yu, 2018), when given options, how do people decide that waiting in a queue that is longer for a similar product (food) equates to a superior product? What makes the difference when waiting is frustrating vs. anticipatory and how can this information be applied advantageously to food truck operations? This study will explore the correlation between longer food truck queues and the perception of a higher quality product.
In one article, the authors go a step further by stating “It may be that long lines for GFT’s are interpreted as a sign of quality, reinforcing the GFT consumers’ level of satisfaction. Essentially, a GFT consumer might ask herself, ‘how could I not be satisfied with having dined at this GFT given everyone else seemed to suffer long waits just to eat there?’” (McNeil & Young, 2019, pp. 345-346)
There is a difference in the customer perception of a quality service from a “gourmet” food truck verses a standard food truck that makes reaching a conclusion difficult. The anticipatory model shows that there is a willingness to wait for a quality product if the customer selected the item they are waiting for. The customer will most likely appreciate the food item more after delaying the gratification, resulting in a higher rating and customer loyalty. This seems to be the case with the gourmet food trucks where service time is not a real factor in the overall service experience.
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Campbell, Brian, "Why Wait? The Fine Line between Anticipation and Despair in Food Truck Choices" (2021). Hospitality Graduate Student Scholarship. 16.