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Implementing a Delight Strategy in a Restaurant Setting: The Power of Unsolicited Recommendations

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Cornell Hospitality Quarterly

Published online on


Identifying specific initiatives that can be undertaken by frontline employees to enhance customer delight is of great interest to service firms. In the hopes of contributing to this objective, the current research evaluates the impact of server recommendations on customer delight. Findings indicate that unsolicited server recommendations have a significant positive impact on customer delight. Moreover, the research provides no evidence to suggest that repercussions will result for the service provider even if the provision of an unsolicited recommendation leads to a negative outcome. The mediating role of expectations is examined to gain a better understanding of these recommendation effects. Consistent with self-fulfilling prophecy, the results reveal that customers are capable of experiencing delight even in heightened pre-experience expectation situations. These results provide evidence that the pursuance of customer delight as a strategic objective may warrant additional consideration.