Macau faces challenges from Zhuhai’s restaurants

Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Issue 755, Page 1 & 3
Word count: 663
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

A consumer survey found that more Macau residents could be attracted to dine in Zhuhai owing to the improved food and service quality, but Macau remained their shopping paradise for clothes and shoes.

The finding was disclosed in the Macao Consumer Satisfaction Index 2009 – an annual project launched in 2007 by the Marketing Research Centre of the Institute for Sustainable Development at the Macau University of Science and Technology.

The survey, between May 5 and May 12 this year, interviewed 1,274 Macau residents who were asked over the phone to rate, from “0” being the most dissatisfied to “100” being the most satisfied, their consumption experiences in Macau or Zhuhai.

This year’s Consumer Satisfaction Index looked into six areas which were shopping (only for clothes and shoes) in Macau and in Zhuhai, restaurants in Macau and in Zhuhai, as well as Macau’s fast food shops and Macau’s banks.

Each of the indices was constituted by three factors: product/food quality, service quality and worthiness.

According to the results, among the six consumption items, the respondents were most satisfied with shopping in Macau, which scored 71.3 out of 100, mainly thanks to the product and service quality.

In contrast, the respondents rated shopping in Zhuhai as the worst consumption experience (64.5) because of the inferior service and clothes and shoes’ quality there.

However, in regards to dining in restaurants, Macau and Zhuhai scored the same satisfaction level at 67.9 for the first time.

The result was mainly attributable to the “worthiness” factor, in which the respondents gave the highest rating to Zhuhai’s restaurants as they deemed the food and services there had been greatly upgraded while the prices remained cheaper than Macau.

In addition, the satisfaction level of Macau’s fast food shops (68.4) was above that of Macau’s restaurants.

The difference was mainly caused by service quality, the survey indicated.

As for Macau’s banks, the rating (71.0) just followed that of the shopping experience in Macau, representing the second best consumption experience among the six areas.

The respondents were most satisfied with local banks’ service quality, but they hoped that waiting time could be reduced.

Meanwhile, the survey highlighted the phenomenon that over the past three years, the gap of the consumer satisfaction levels between shopping in Macau and in Zhuhai was getting wider.

While residents were getting happier and happier with local salespeople’s services and the quality of the clothes and shoes that were sold in Macau, they found that Zhuhai could not offer the same service and product quality or even getting worse.

Yet, restaurants in the neighbouring Chinese city had shown improvement in recent years particularly in terms of food and service quality.

The satisfaction index had been on a rise from 65.3 in 2007, to 65.4 in 2008 and 67.9 this year.

In contrast, the satisfaction index of Macau’s restaurants dropped by 2.9 percent to 66.6 in 2008, and then rose two percent to 67.9 this year.

According to project co-ordinator Ieong Iat Fo, in order to maintain its competitiveness, Macau’s food and beverage industry has to keep improving dishes’ appearance and tastes, as well as creating new menus by using different combinations of ingredients.

Mr Ieong also stressed the importance of preserving and promoting Macau’s own dishes influenced by both China and Portugal, so that it will fit the taste and cooking style of Macau people better and also attract tourists to come savour this unique cuisine.

Moreover, Mr Ieong said that local restaurants should retain “friendliness” or “a human touch” in their services especially in a small city like Macau in a bid to increase customers’ loyalty.

Hence, he said that having some long-serving staff could build up a restaurant’s competitiveness and an operator should be cautious when laying off employees.

Due to the H1N1 influenza and the impact of the global financial crisis, Mr Ieong said local industries should take advantage of the opportunity as more residents are expected to stay in Macau during the summer vacation.

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