What Are the Factors Influencing Customers Restaurant Choice?

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Food is our common ground, a universal experience.

James A. Beard

Introduction
This report aims to identify what are they key aspects that influence customer‘s restaurant choice. From a number of researchers (Auty, 1992; Namkung & Jang, 2007; Sulek & Hensley, 2004) it emerged that food quality was rated as the most influencing factor affecting consumer’s restaurant selection behaviour. Nevertheless, service quality was discovered to be a secondary aspect over decision, despite the fact that it is was recognize that it could guide consumer’s evaluation of the dining experience to a superior level. On the other hand, when poor service quality is provided, it could lead to high customer dissatisfaction.

In regard to Marketing, its influence over customer’s restaurant choice was assessed. Little evidence was found on its real effectiveness towards customer’s final restaurant decision;. In fact, in this research has been retrieved that finally, more importance can be given to restaurant reputation by “word of mouth”, therefore by friends and relatives, giving a minor relevance to marketing principles (Sweeney et al., 1992).

Lastly, this report will assess the impact of social status and self-esteem over the restaurant selection, as the findings illustrated that restaurateurs try hard to give their restaurants an exclusivity image which classify them such as “fancy places”, which are more direct to consumers of higher social status.

Food quality
Food quality emerged to be the utmost influencing property in customers ’restaurant decision making but also a crucial component in customer satisfaction. (Lewis, 1981; Soriano 2002; Su lek & Hensley, 2004). Food quality, however, according to Namkung & Jang (2007) is a comparatively too broad term which must be broken down into five distinctive parts to further been examined. These elements can be classified as presentation, healthy option, taste, freshness, temperature and according with Bailey & Tian (2002) a further sixth element can be add; familiar food. Presentation consists in the way food is decorated and its appeal. As presentation is the way in which food is arranged and presented, it can be considered a tangible cue in customer perception of quality (Namkung & Jang, 2007). Furthermore, a research study by Kivela, Inbakara and Reece (1999) supported how a crucial element is food preparation and appearance in customer dining satisfaction.

Secondly, healthy food is nowadays a decisive factor considering consumers being more concern on their health and interested in low-fat, low-carbohydrate and vegetarian meal options. This is therefore driving a higher growing demand for alternative healthy choice on restaurant menu (Sulek & Hensley, 2004). An early study conducted by Kivela et al., (1999) provides results on a higher patronage returns to those restaurant where healthier options were available on the menu. Thirdly, taste when selecting a restaurant plays an important role as is considered the most important as feature in numerous findings (Tunsi 2000; Josiam & Monteiro, 2004). Because of this, 1

taste can then be considered as the most incisive factor, although there are more factors which largely contribute to food taste
Freshness which is identify as the physical food state and include properties such as: crispiness, juiciness and aroma (Peneau, Brockhoff, Escher & Nuesli, 2007), clearly contributes to food taste evaluation. In fact, it is generally recognized that the fresher the food is, the superior the quality is. In addition, Johns & Tyas (1996) stayed that temperature of the food is a crucial factor that contributes to the overall enjoyment of the meal. Who ever worked in a kitchen knows how seriously chefs are concern within the dish temperature. Lastly, in regard with cultural food, Tian (2001, p.127) affirmed; “food consumption habits and patterns are components of culture that make an important contribution to the food decision consumer make”. Put...
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