Demand of customers from full service formal restaurants depends on several factors of customer choices. Customers in different restaurants come from different background with different characteristics. Consequently, they possess different choices in availing the service of restaurants. This research mainly focuses on a literature review of that determines the different factors that can affect the choice of customers in their decision making process of availing service of restaurants of their choices. Importance of this research lies in the fact that on identifying and acknowledging the factors that impact the choice of customers in availing restaurant service, it will be helpful for the restaurant owners to modify their business strategies as per customer demand.
What factors affect the consumer behavior?
What is the relationship between consumer choice and restaurant industry?
What are the impacts of consumer choice and buying behavior on restaurant industry?
What recommendations can be produced to widen customer base?
The literature review is conducted on the basis of secondary research. Various journals articles and books were studied in determining the parameters of consumer behavior and their impact on decision making about availing the restaurant service of their choices. Cantallops, A.S. and Salvi (2014, p.45) opined that with the help of secondary research, arguments and counter arguments can be obtained on a specific topic that helps in analyzing the research topic. Various theories and concepts were studied from the journals that had helped the researcher in understanding the consumer buying process and factors that affect such processes. Information from government websites are also gathered in identifying key concepts about customer demand and the type of service they expect from the restaurants.
Background of research
Studies from various journal articles have resulted in acknowledgement of specific consumer behavior models and theories that contributes in comprehending the factors that assist customers in making choice of restaurants. The research is specifically focused on the factors that affect the customer's choice of availing a restaurant service. It has been studied previously that quality of food has a significant role in retaining customers in a restaurant. Theory of reasoned action is included in the study for analysis of customer attitudes in their decision making process. On counting the motivation need theory in depicting a customer behavior, it is possible to priorities the needs of customers, once they avail the service of a restaurant.
Figure 1: Conceptual Framework
Theory of consumer behavior
Theory of consumer behavior affects the most crucial role in identifying the activities of customers, when they avail any particular service of organizations. Lu et al. (2015, p.40) has shed light on the fact that, shifting from the traditional concept of buying behavior, modern theory of consumer behavior focus on analysis of consumption of a particular service by customers.
Figure 2: Factors of theory of consumer behavior
(Source: Mart?nez-Ruiz and G?mez-Cant?, 2017, p.63)
Restaurants on strategically implementing theory of consumer behavior in their business can successfully retain their customers by prior analysis of their demands and expectations. Five factors have been identified that influence customers to avail the service of a full time restaurant. These are variation in menu, quality of food, atmosphere, price and convenience factors. These five factors are extremely important in decision-making process of customers in their availing of the service of full time restaurants. As mentioned by Solomon (2014, p.5), people living in urban areas of developing countries are adhering towards eating outside their homes for the past recent years. Surveying these people, it has been analyzed that restaurants that have incorporated the five factors of consumer behavior in their management, are most preferred and visited by the customers. On the contrary Amos et al. (2014, p.90), denied this fact stating that the fast changing lifestyle of people, trends, needs rise in incomes and demographics are the primary reasons behind availing the service of full time restaurants.(Refer to appendix 1)
Quality of food in a restaurant is assessed by the comparison of customer expectation and against their perception of actual experience of food quality in a restaurant. According to Bucher et al. (2016, p.2260), customers are nevertheless unwilling in paying an extra amount if a higher level of service as well as quality of is provided. Thus, restaurant managers prolong an acceptable level of service keeping the price of food as low as possible keeping a high standard of food quality.
There are two crucial aspects influencing customer behavior and restaurants focus on identifying the categories of their target customs according to these two aspects. Boo (2017, p.70) has shed light on the fact that therefore of decision developing, customers either responses with non-action or action that is purchase. Assael’s model of consumer behavior is applicable in this context of customer's choice of restaurant. (Refer to appendix 2)
Assael’s model of consumer behavior states that a number of parameters are prevalent that influence the ultimate customer's choice and decision-making process in visiting restaurants. These factors range from the lifestyle, perceptions, characteristics, attitudes, cultural values, personality and demographics of customers. For example, a teenager, whose parents are working are adapted in such a lifestyle, where there is a minimal scope of availability of home cooked food. Naturally, he/she will be dependent on restaurant service irrespective of quality of food. Steg et al. (2014, p.170), opposed this fact stating that the most influential factor working in the mind of customer in availing restaurant service is perception and perceived risk. Perception is regarded as the approximation of reality, where quality of the food in a particular restaurant is judged by the perceived interest of customers in availing that restaurant. For example, when a many customers visit a particular restaurant, automatically a positive impact is generated among the customers that the restaurant services good quality of food.
Theory of Reasoned action
Pre-existing attitudes of a customer regarding a particular service affects the decision making processes in visiting the restaurants. Applying the theory of reasoned action Kim et al. (2013, p.210) stated that specificity is a major factor that allows a customer in adhering to a particular system or enjoying a specific service. A customer if not satisfied with the quality of food in a restaurant or do not get equivalent output as per the given input such as cost, then he/she tends to change mind in going to that particular restaurant. For example, if a restaurant maintains a high range of price, however do not provide equal sufficient quality food, customers will change their mind in retaining the service of that restaurant. Bilgihan et al. (2014, p.355) in his journal informed that restaurant managers can identify their backlogs if the theory of reasoned action imparts a negative impact on their business. They must indulge in provision of service in such a way that customers are retained and their business flourishes.
On the contrary, some researches reveal that compared to the psychological factors of customers, demographic factor is more prominent regarding the customer's choice in visiting restaurants. Ackermann and Palmer (2014, p.540) proposed that customers having an age range from 18-34 years are more likely to visit full time restaurants and possess an exploring attitude of trying new cuisines where taste fetches attention. Whereas people who are above 55 years, tends to consume home cooked food in order to maintain a healthy living. It can be seen that in some cases, demographic factors of customers overpowers psychological factors in visiting restaurants.
Engel, Kollet, Blackwell Model
A wider extension of theory of reasoned action, EKB model analyses the thought process of a customer prior to visiting a restaurant. The first step is associated with the incorporation of information, where customers gather knowledge about the quality of food served in a specific restaurant via word of mouth promotion, online marketing or newspaper article. The next step is followed by the comparison of data gathered with another customer, who has availed the service of that restaurant and acknowledged the quality of food being served or the customer's own analysis on visiting another restaurant that is a rival of the former one. This is followed by a rational insight of the customer comprising price, quality and physical evidence. He/she will tend to compare the price of that specific restaurant with its rival companies and gather information about the quality of the food delivered in them. The next step involves analysis of external influences and process variables.
Intrinsic and Extrinsic factors
Customer satisfaction in restaurant service is associated with the degree to which performance of the restaurant meets or exceeds the expectation of customers. Previous researches have revealed that according to consumer decision-making model, prior to visiting a restaurant, a customer conducts search for information. Depending on the cues of information, a customer evaluates restaurant service and its food quality. These cues can be intrinsic like atmosphere of a restaurant, quality of food, taste, and service as well as extrinsic like brand name, promotion and reviews of people. On the other hand, Wee et al. (2014, p.451) stated that customer retention is the future prosperity of a customer in staying with a particular service provider. Quality of food plays as a crucial intrinsic factor in retaining customers in adhering to a particular restaurant and preventing customer in switching to another competitor in market.
However, there is a contradiction available in this context. Ackermann and Palmer (2014, p.545) opined that rather than quality, taste of a specific cuisine acts as a significant factor in retaining customers to a restaurant. For example, Chinese cuisine is most famous among the youngsters because of its taste. In this context, taste has played as an intrinsic cue for the restaurants serving Chinese food. Rate of consumption of Chinese food has reached considerably in the past few years and restaurants serving this cuisine in their menu have gained sustainability in market (Food.gov.uk). (Refer to appendix 2)
However, brand names, ambience of restaurant, interpersonal skills of employees of restaurants and effective promotion impose a significant impact on customer’s visit to a restaurant. Lu et al. (2015, p.40) has shed light on the fact that the tangible resources of a restaurants are included in the physical environment.
Impact of quality of food on customer retention
There is a significant impact on the customers regarding the quality of food resulting in visit to the restaurants. Research report reveals that 38.2% customers states that they do not mind in paying more for obtaining high quality of food, which portrays 92% higher than the average level. In addition to this, 55% of customers have their favourite restaurant, where they visit at a regular interval irrespective of the food quality (Food.gov.uk, 2017). Perception and loyalty acts as the main driver in this context. However, detailed market research reveals that restaurant managers must maintain a good effort in improving the environment, ambience and most importantly, the quality of food focusing on the health of customers.
Evolution of technology has boosted the restaurant business to a peak level. Rani (2014, p.55) stated that 96.62% people in a survey has agreed to the fact that restaurants have impacted an affirmative effect on their lifestyle. Customers are able to avail the service of restaurants on a single click. Tech savvy attitude in this sector has attracted more customers in availing the service of restaurants on application of technology.
On the contrary, a debate has arisen in this context, where, customers argue about the fact that visiting restaurants at a regular basis or consumption of restaurant food daily can cause degradation of one’s health. Nagle et al. (2016, p.11) proposed that 16% of kids in US are exposed to the consumption of outside food that is allowing the growth of several diseases that can even be fatal at a later age. However, demand for restaurant food is nowhere decreasing as restaurant managers have successfully analysed the factors that affect customers choice in visiting a restaurant and according implement those in their business strategies.
Factors affecting the visit of customers in restaurants are being discussed in this paper focussing mainly on the quality of food. However, customer perceptions regarding this business sector have changed massively in the past 20 years and till now is on the mode of changing. Thus, researches that have been done earlier, for example during 1970s and 1980s are not at all applicable in the modern days. In addition to this, not much research is provided on the impact of restaurant food on the health of customers. More research is needed to be conducted on this factor and its consequences.
This project deals with the literature review on identifying the different factors that affect the choice of customers in availing the service of restaurants. Several theories and models have been illustrated portraying a definite image of the factors affecting customers in visiting restaurants. Contradictions are also provided, where there are opposition of theories and evidences. A literature gap is provided showing the backlogs of the research and need of further research is discussed
Ackermann, C.L. and Palmer, A., (2014). The contribution of implicit cognition to the Theory of Reasoned Action Model: A study of food preferences. Journal of Marketing Management, 30(6), pp.529-550.
Amos, C., Holmes, G.R. and Keneson, W.C., (2014). A meta-analysis of consumer impulse buying. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 21(2), pp.86-97.
Bilgihan, A., Peng, C. and Kandampully, J., (2014). Generation Y's dining information seeking and sharing behavior on social networking sites: An exploratory study. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 26(3), pp.349-366.
Boo, H.V., (2017). Service Environment of Restaurants: Findings from the youth customers. Journal of ASIAN behavioural studies, 2(2), pp.67-77.
Bucher, T., Collins, C., Rollo, M.E., McCaffrey, T.A., De Vlieger, N., Van der Bend, D., Truby, H. and Perez-Cueto, F.J., (2016). Nudging consumers towards healthier choices: a systematic review of positional influences on food choice. British Journal of Nutrition, 115(12), pp.2252-2263.
Cantallops, A.S. and Salvi, F., (2014). New consumer behavior: A review of research on eWOM and hotels. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 36(9), pp.41-51.
Chou, Y.H. and Pai, C.H., (2014). A study the effect of brand innovation on consumer decision in catering industry. Anthropologist, 17(3), pp.743-750.
Food.gov.uk. (2017). Food Standards Agency - Homepage. Available from: [Accessed on 15 Aug. 2017].
Husen, S. (2015). Study on Community-based Peripheral Attribute Attractiveness and Product Attractiveness Advantage: Bridging Product Innovation and Consumer Purchase Intention. Journal of Research in Marketing, 4(1), pp.297-303.
Kim, E., Ham, S., Yang, I.S. and Choi, J.G., (2013). The roles of attitude, subjective norm, and perceived behavioral control in the formation of consumers’ behavioral intentions to read menu labels in the restaurant industry. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 35(3), pp.203-213.
Kim, Y.J., Njite, D. and Hancer, M., (2013). Anticipated emotion in consumers’ intentions to select eco-friendly restaurants: Augmenting the theory of planned behavior. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 34(3), pp.255-262.
Li, H., Jiang, J. and Wu, M., (2014). The effects of trust assurances on consumers’ initial online trust: A two-stage decision-making process perspective. International Journal of Information Management, 34(3), pp.395-405.
Lu, A.C.C., Gursoy, D. and Lu, C.Y., (2015). Authenticity perceptions, brand equity and brand choice intention: The case of ethnic restaurants. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 50(1), pp.36-45.
Mart?nez-Ruiz, M. and G?mez-Cant?, C. (2017). Key External Influences Affecting Consumers’ Decisions Regarding Food. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Available from: [Accessed on 11 Aug. 2017].
Nagle, T.T., Hogan, J. and Zale, J., (2016). The Strategy and Tactics of Pricing: New International Edition. Abingdon: Routledge.
Rani, P., (2014). Factors influencing consumer behaviour. International journal of current research and academic review, 2(9), pp.52-61.
Solomon, M.R., (2014). Consumer behavior: Buying, having, and being, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Steg, L., Perlaviciute, G., Van der Werff, E. and Lurvink, J., (2014). The significance of hedonic values for environmentally relevant attitudes, preferences, and actions. Environment and behavior, 46(2), pp.163-192.
Wales, M. (2017). Understanding the role of convenience in consumer food choices: a review article. Journal.lib.uoguelph.ca. Available from: [Accessed on12 Aug. 2017].
Wee, C.S., Ariff, M.S.B.M., Zakuan, N., Tajudin, M.N.M., Ismail, K. and Ishak, N., (2014). Consumers perception, purchase intention and actual purchase behavior of organic food products. Review of Integrative Business and Economics Research, 3(2), pp.378-532