Date of Award

2020

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)

Advisor(s)

Dr. Tracy Kizer

Second Advisor

Dr. Greg Marshall

Third Advisor

Dr. Mary Conway Dato-on

Abstract

Food consumption and the choices made in restaurants are not matters of simple utility. As research and industry practice has revealed, consumer choices may be influenced by any number of factors. Not least of these is the menu. While individual restaurants will research their menu strategies, such research is necessarily proprietary. This dissertation seeks to deepen the understanding of the influence of menu verbiage and add to the body of academic knowledge of the influence of the menu on consumers. Additionally, while academic research has assessed the influence of social identity on consumer's purchase intention in many industries, this has only rarely been reviewed in the context of restaurants. This dissertation investigated whether political identity as an aspect of social identity influences purchase intention.

Political identity as a moderator of menu quality and price fairness were found to be significant toward purchase intention under the overall model, as was price fairness for respondents asserting a liberal political identity. Menu quality was found to be significant in influencing purchase intention under all conditions and to have a large effect. Price fairness was also found to be significant in influencing purchase intention in the broader model and was specifically influential among the liberal group identity. These findings are important as they inform the operator as to two critical needs of the consumer (i.e., menu quality and price fairness), which must be met to influence consumer purchase behavior. They also suggest a path for additional research to be undertaken under real restaurant conditions. The scales used to assess purchase intention, price fairness, and menu quality demonstrated high reliability and may suggest their use in industry analysis versus current methods.

This study provides an additional contribution to the literature on the relationship between menu quality and purchase intention as well as indicating where additional, robust research may be warranted on the influence of political identity in consumer choice.

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