Negotiation of Selves in Initial Service Encounters: Conversation Analysis of Sushi Restaurants



This study analyzes the very first service encounters in two sushi restaurants in Tokyo. Actual interactions were videotaped and analyzed using conversation analysis. The detailed analysis reveals that although highly routinized, the encounters involve presentation and negotiation of selves, that is, who the customer is and what the restaurant is like. It is argued that the service at sushi restaurants is personalized to the extent that participants’ selves are at issue, contrary to common notions of personalization that refer to interacting with customers with friendliness, warmth, and empathy or tailoring services to meet individual customers’ needs.


Interaction ritual Personalization Restaurant services Role theory Service encounters 

Copyright information

© Springer Japan 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Kyoto University Graduate School of ManagementKyotoJapan

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