Does comfort in a restaurant influence people's experienced hospitality? Effects of seating comfort and acoustic comfort on the experience of hospitality were examined by means of a 2 x 2 between subjects experiment among 262 customers of a self-service restaurant, using the EH-scale measuring the experiential factors care, comfort and inviting. In line with theory on embodiment, MANOVA and mediation analysis showed that comfortable seating positively influences mental comfort, which subsequently increases the experience of hospitality (comfort factor). Extra ambient sound (acoustic discomfort) cancels out this effect. Also, people's desire to sit matters: people with a low desire to sit interpret comfortable seats as more caring instead of comfort. Regarding the discussion on (dis)comfort: seating comfort, not discomfort, accounted for the effects. Altogether, the hospitality experienced in a restaurant may be enhanced by offering comfortable seats, making customers feel more comfortable, physically and mentally.
- Service environment