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Two series of menus were prepared in the styles of quick service and fine dining restaurants, respectively. The menus in each series differed only in the number of choices offered under each menu category. Members of the public attending two university open days rated the menus using a 9-point scale, from 1 = far too little choice, 5 = about right, to 9 = far too much choice. A total of 202 and 241 respondents completed the fine dining and quick service questionnaires, respectively. Results showed significant differences in perception between number of choices, an ideal rating of 6 choices for the quick service items and of 7–10 for fine dining items. This corresponds well with what has previously been found for retail food products but opens further questions about customers' expectations and the nature of choice.
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Journal of Culinary Science & Technology, 11:275–285, 2013
Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN: 1542-8052 print/1542-8044 online
DOI: 10.1080/15428052.2013.798564
Menu Choice: Satisfaction or Overload?
1School of Management, College of Management & Technology, Walden University,
Minneapolis, Minnesota
2Foodservice and Applied Nutrition Research Group, Bournemouth University,
Poole, Dorset, England
Two series of menus were prepared in the styles of quick service
and fine dining restaurants, respectively. The menus in each series
differed only in the number of choices offered under each menu
category. Members of the public attending two university open days
rated the menus using a 9-point scale, from 1 =far too little
choice,5=about right,to9=far too much choice. A total of
202 and 241 respondents completed the fine dining and quick
service questionnaires, respectively. Results showed significant dif-
ferences in perception between number of choices, an ideal rating
of 6 choices for the quick service items and of 7–10 for fine din-
ing items. This corresponds well with what has previously been
found for retail food products but opens further questions about
customers’ expectations and the nature of choice.
KEYWORDS Restaurants, menus, choice, choice overload,
quick-service, fine dining
The menu occupies a key position in the marketing, presentation, and
operation of a restaurant business. Menus vary with different types of estab-
lishment from a relatively simple list to an extensive range of items, which
may even be drawn from several different sources. For example, English
pubs may feature a dining menu and a bar menu as well as the day’s specials
Received 21 November 2012; accepted 29 January 2013.
Address correspondence to Nick Johns, School of Management, College of Management
& Technology, Walden University, 100 Washington Ave. South, Suite 900, Minneapolis, MN
56401, USA. E-mail:
276 N. Johns et al.
written on a chalkboard and sometimes a further chalkboard or menu card
with the desserts. A prevailing belief that a greater range of choices is more
attractive to customers means that selections (including menus) offered to
consumers tend to become increasingly extensive (Schwartz, 2004). Some
restaurants in the UK and the United States offer literally hundreds of
items (Gate Nuneaton, 2011; Papagayo, 2011; Spice Kitchen Cheddar, 2011).
In contrast, British families eating at home are reported to rely on just nine
different meals (Mail on Line, 2009) and consumer surveys suggest that
though 60% of restaurant customers choose something they would not eat
every day, 40% select familiar foods (Business Link, 2009). Offering choices is
considered to bring marketing and customer satisfaction benefits, but exten-
sive menus also place a strain on restaurant operations (Ninemeier & Hayes,
2005). It is therefore desirable to know the optimum range of choices for
meals eaten outside the home. This study investigates the effects of varying
the number of choices offered on fine dining and quick-service restaurant
The idea that consumers are better off when offered more choices
is supported by choice theory through the principle of regularity, which
states that adding an item to a choice set cannot increase the probabil-
ity of choosing an item from the original set (Rieskamp, Busemeyer, &
Mellers, 2006). However, choosing typically requires activity in the form of
searching and evaluation. Searching depends upon the range of items and
their accessibility, and evaluation depends upon the availability and com-
plexity of information about the choice items. Hence, various authors hold
that selecting from a large choice set is more difficult and hence less sat-
isfying for customers (Broniarczyk, Hoyer, & McAlister, 1998; Greifeneder,
Scheibehenne, & Kleber, 2010; Hanoch, Rice, Cummings, & Wood, 2009;
Iyengar & Lepper, 2000; Norwood, 2006; Reutskaja & Hogarth, 2009; Sela,
Berger, & Liu, 2009). Schwartz (2004) went so far as to suggest that increased
affluence and consumer choice in the United States have been accompanied
by a general decrease in well-being. The proposition that too much choice is
unsatisfactory or harmful has been given various names by different authors
but has come to be called the choice overload hypothesis (Scheibehenne,
Greifeneder, & Todd, 2009, 2010; Sela et al., 2009). Reutskaja and Hogarth
(2009) proposed that there is an optimum range of choices at which sat-
isfaction peaks—that is, first rising and then subsequently falling off in an
inverted “U” or bell shape as the difficulty of evaluating the options out-
weighs the perceived benefits. Several researchers have reported a similar
relationship (Reutskaja & Hogarth, 2009; Sela et al. 2009; Shah & Wolford,
2007). Having more information about the choice items restricts and slows
the selection process, and the optimum number of options has been found
to be lower for more complex items where a larger number of parameters
have to be evaluated (Hauser & Wernerfelt, 1990; Iyengar & Lepper, 2000;
Reutskaja & Hogarth, 2009).
Menu Choice: Satisfaction or Overload? 277
The relationship between choice and satisfaction is complex. Reutskaja
and Hogarth (2009) identified two different aspects: outcome satisfaction—
that is, satisfaction with the ultimate choice—and process satisfaction—that
is, satisfaction with the way the choice was made. In addition, extensive
choice sets are known to be attractive to consumers before the pro-
cess of choosing begins, so a presentation satisfaction also seems to exist
(Greifeneder et al. 2010; Iyengar & Lepper, 2000). Individuals adopt various
strategies for the task of choosing. They may weigh up the costs of making
the decision against its expected benefits (Hauser & Wernerfelt, 1990) or,
conversely, they may satisfice—that is, opt for the best of a small group of
randomly chosen items from the larger set (Güth, 2010)—or eliminate items
that have unsatisfactory aspects. Another strategy is to decide upon the pur-
chase criteria beforehand and choose this default option. Chernev (2003)
has shown that those who adopt this strategy are more likely to be satisfied
choosing from a large set than a small one, because they are more likely
to find an item that fulfills their criteria. Strategies also include making no
choice, deferring the decision, or seeking new choice sets, which may also
bring negative consequences, such as lost opportunities (Iyengar, Jiang, &
Huberman, 2004). Satisfaction from perceived success—that is, an accept-
able choice made in an acceptable time frame—depends not only upon the
strategy used but also on the personality of the chooser (Dar-Nimrod, Rawn,
Lehman, & Schwartz, 2009).
A number of other factors affect choice. Older individuals have been
shown to prefer significantly less choice than younger adults across vari-
ous types of item, including foods (Hanoch et al., 2009; Reed, Mikels, &
Simon, 2008; Rozin, Fischler, Shields, & Masson, 2006). A variety of food
choices has been reported to be more important to females than to males
(Beatty, 1982), although no equivalent preference has been found for choice
in general. Differences have also been reported between different national
cultures. Rozin et al. (2006) found that a majority of consumers in the United
States preferred to choose from a set of 50 rather than 10 ice creams, a much
higher proportion than in the UK, Germany, France, or Switzerland. They
attributed this to differences in expectations. Consumers who are required
to justify their choice tend to select options that are easier to justify (Sela
et al., 2009). This is of special relevance to choosing from a restaurant
menu, which is frequently undertaken in a group, where justification may be
perceived to be required by peers (McFerran, Dahl, Fitzsimons, & Morales,
2010). Categorization of choice sets into smaller groups of options has been
shown to increase satisfaction because it increases the perception of a large
choice array (and hence self-determination and satisfaction) while at the
same time reducing the stress of weighing up many products together (Kahn
& Wansink, 2004; Mogilner, Rudnick, & Iyengar, 2008).
Scheibehenne et al. (2009) cautioned against an oversimplified explana-
tion of these phenomena. In a series of studies, they tested four moderating
278 N. Johns et al.
factors: well-defined preferences held prior to choosing, cultural differences
(between the United States and Germany), further increases in the choice
set, and choice justification. They were unable to demonstrate choice over-
load except where participants were required to justify their choice explicitly.
They pointed out that studies by Sela et al. (2009), Iyengar and Lepper (2000),
Mogilner et al. (2008), and others required participants to justify their choice
in some way. The same researchers (Scheibehenne et al., 2010) conducted a
meta-analysis of 5,036 published and unpublished experiments in the field,
concluding that the statistical evidence did not support the choice overload
hypothesis except where choice justification was part of the experimental
protocol. A stated objection to the choice overload hypothesis is that it vio-
lates the regularity axiom of economic choice theory (Scheibehenne et al.,
2010). Yet it has been shown that most of the consumer choice strategies
discussed above are also contrary to this principle (, 1981), and it is not clear
whether statistical distribution can in fact remove the violation, as theory
requires. In addition, the majority of the studies analyzed by Scheibehenne
et al., (2010) were comparisons of small and large choice sets, and Reutskaja
and Hogarth (2009) pointed to the danger of omitting intermediate set sizes,
which may remove the critical optimum point of their hypothesized bell
curve. The fact that older individuals prefer a smaller choice set size suggests
that the increasing range of choices has become overwhelming within rela-
tively recent years, as Schwartz (2004) suggested. Although this supports the
choice overload hypothesis, it also suggests that perceived optimum choice
and perhaps the idea of choice overload may be socially constructed; that is,
individuals regard their expected range of choices as optimum and expect
to be stressed when it is exceeded. Support for this suggestion may be seen
in the findings of Rozin et al. (2006) regarding choice preferences of people
of different nationalities.
There has been very little research on the amount of choice offered
by restaurant menus. Iyengar and Lepper (2000) suggested that restaurants
do not obey the choice overload principle: “Obviously the more items on
the menu, the more satisfied these customers will be, on average” (p. 996).
On the contrary, Rozin et al. (2006) found that more than 60% of respondents
in the United States and the UK and more than 80% in France would prefer
a menu with “a small number of suggestions from the chef” rather than “a
large choice with numerous different dishes” (p. 306). Thus, information
regarding restaurant menu choice is anecdotal at best. Broniarczyk et al.
(1998) suggested that in a retail setting, the number of items offered may be
substantially reduced without negatively affecting assortment perception, as
long as only low-preference items are eliminated. In a foodservice setting,
it is of interest to know whether menu choices could be reduced to an opti-
mum number using the same principle and, if so, what this optimum number
might be. This study tests the proposition that there may be an ideal number
of menu items from which diners are comfortable making a selection.
Menu Choice: Satisfaction or Overload? 279
Two different menu scenarios were prepared, in both cases by downloading
examples of menus published on the Internet. The first reproduced a fine
dining menu using published examples from 10 five-star hotels, which were
initially combined to form a composite menu containing 15 first courses,
15 main courses, and 15 dessert courses, each with a brief description
of ingredients and preparation. Two comparable but shorter menus were
produced by successively removing five dishes from each course, leaving
balanced selections with respectively 10 and 5 choices for each course. The
three menus were discussed with experienced chefs to ensure that in culi-
nary terms they were balanced and appropriate to the scenario and were
printed on a card to give an appearance of a fine dining scenario.
The second scenario was prepared in an analogous way; that is, by
downloading 10 menus from quick-service, chain restaurants advertised on
the Internet. These restaurants tend to group menu items by type—for
example, starters, chicken dishes, steaks, burgers, pizzas, etc.—rather than
offering discrete courses. The second scenario therefore grouped items into
the format adopted by one of the restaurants as follows:
Chicken dishes
Fish, vegetarian, and pasta dishes
Grills and classic meat dishes
Steaks and burgers
A master menu, containing 10 dishes in each of the six groups, was pre-
pared and one-line descriptions was added for each item. In order to
prepare shorter versions, two dishes were progressively deleted from each
group, providing five menus ranging from 2 to 10 dishes for each group.
These menus were discussed with the same panel of chefs to verify the
choices that had been made and were printed on card in an informal
style suggesting a quick-service scenario. A simple questionnaire was pre-
pared to accompany each menu. It set the scene in a few lines and
asked respondents to indicate their perception of the appropriateness of
the level of choices offered for each course on the fine dining menus and
for each group on the quick-service menus. A 9-point scale was used,
from 1 =far too little choice,5=about right,to9=far too much
choice. The questionnaire also asked the respondents for basic demographic
Data were collected by master’s students and members of faculty from
parents and prospective students during May–July 2010. Family groups of
two to four people were approached while drinking and eating in the
280 N. Johns et al.
university cafeteria and asked whether they would take part in the study.
Participants were told that their views on the menus (not specifically on
the number of choices) were being sought and were asked to complete a
questionnaire about one of the menu versions in terms of its content and
the number of choices available. Approval for the conduct of this research
was granted by the School Ethics Committee, who considered that consent
would assumed by subjects’ voluntary participation once they had received
an oral briefing. All but two of those approached agreed to take part,
completing the questionnaire in approximately 5 minutes. Completed ques-
tionnaires were subsequently collected from the table and respondents were
thanked. A total of 202 people completed the three fine dining question-
naires, and 242 people completed the five quick-service questionnaires. The
demographic breakdown is shown in Table 1.
Data were entered into SPSS ver. 16 (IBM, Hampshire, UK) descriptive
statistics were calculated, and the results were compared using analysis of
variance and Tukey’s honestly significant difference post hoc test. A p value
0.05 was considered significant.
Figures 1 and 2 show the relationship between mean satisfaction rating and
number of choices for the fine dining and quick-service scenarios, respec-
tively. Error bars show the standard error of each point, supporting the
analysis of variance/Tukey’s test findings that all choice levels were sig-
nificantly differentiated. The “ideal” rating (5.0) for the fine dining menus
was between 5 and 10 choices, and for the quick-service menus it was
almost exactly 6 choices. Ratings of the categories in scenario 2 were closely
grouped, with no discernible pattern of differentiation, but there was dif-
ferentiation between the courses for the fine dining, scenario 1 menus, as
TAB LE 1 Demographics of the Sample
Fine dining scenario Quick-service scenario
Male 77 94
Female 116 134
No response 9 14
Age range
<21 80 92
21–35 18 21
36–65 95 123
>65 1 0
No response 8 6
Menu Choice: Satisfaction or Overload? 281
5 Choices 10 Choices 15 Choices
Too much choiceToo little choice
FIGURE 1 Fine dining menu/overall satisfaction with number of choices.
2 Choices 4 Choices 6 Choices 8 Choices 10 Choices
Too much choiceToo little choice
FIGURE 2 Quick-service menu/overall satisfaction with number of choices.
shown in Figure 3. Between 7 and 8 choices was deemed satisfactory for
starters and desserts, but a significantly higher number of choices (10) was
indicated as desirable for main courses. There were no significant differ-
ences between the preferences for different age groups or between males
and females in either scenario.
282 N. Johns et al.
5 Choices 10 Choices 15 Choices
Main Crses
Too much choice
Too little choice
FIGURE 3 Fine dining menu/satisfaction with number of choices by course.
The results show that restaurant customers have an ideal number of menu
choices; that is, about 6 for quick service and varying between 7 for starters
and desserts to 10 for main courses in fine dining restaurants. The lack of
differences between the sexes or different age groups suggests that there
is indeed an ideal number of menu choices below which customers feel
restricted and above which the effort required to make a choice becomes
undesirable. These results support the bell curve proposition of Reutskaja
and Hogarth (2009) and are comparable with studies of various products
that have identified an ideal range of choices of about five items (Mogilner
et al., 2008; Sela et al., 2009) or six items (Iyengar & Lepper, 2000). The
fact that ideal choice sets were larger in fine dining than in quick service is
interesting and may represent a balance between information and control.
More information is offered on fine dining menus, but more responsibility is
accorded to the chef. The issue of locus of control in choice has not been
studied so far and may be a fruitful field for further work.
The fact that participants in this study were not required to jus-
tify choices contradicts the proposal by Scheibehenne et al. (2009) that
choice overload is dependent upon the need to justify choices. No men-
tion was made of satisfaction in the study, which removes another common
objection to previous choice overload experiments, namely, that different
aspects of satisfaction are associated with choice (Reutskaja & Hogarth,
2009; Scheibehenne et al., 2009). It was necessary to use different numbers
Menu Choice: Satisfaction or Overload? 283
of menu items because two different restaurant scenarios were considered,
but a consistent pattern emerged despite the different numbers. Many types
of menu categorize their items, especially in quick-service establishments.
As discussed in the Introduction, this reduces the range of choices that would
be found in a simple list of what is available and hence presumably also
reduces customers’ expectations of choice set size. This could account for
the difference in ideal choice set size between the two types of menu.
The circumstances of this and other studies admit the possibility that
respondents are selecting the midpoints of the ranges offered as ideal.
Therefore, one would hesitate to claim that the ideal number of menu
choices has been established. The possibility remains that respondents might
have given a different ideal number of choices if the range was different
or if no range was given. This suggests a need for further studies where
the expected ideal number is not close to the midpoint of what is offered.
Another possibility might be to offer an even-numbered range with no mid-
point. Alternatively, it would be worth devising a study in which no range
was given and the ideal number of choices could be elicited in a situation
that was guaranteed not to bias the result.
It should be noted that this study was limited in terms of national
culture and sample demographics. The research took place in the UK
and it is therefore possible that this affected the generalizability of the
results for two reasons. Customers in the UK are frequently exposed to
choice, in a way that those in, for example, many African countries are not
(Schwartz, 2004). From this point of view, the results should be comparable
with most Western countries. However, nations also specifically differ in
their expectations and use of restaurants; for instance, the offerings of a
generic Chinese or Indian restaurant are very different in Germany than
in the UK and similarly different in the UK than in the United States.
The sample consisted exclusively of prospective students and their par-
ents. Although these groups are likely to frequent quick-service and fine
dining restaurants, respectively, they cannot be claimed to be representa-
tive of the clientele of either; in addition their exclusive presence narrowed
down the demographics of the sample. It would also have been helpful
to know the frequency with which respondents ate in the two types of
In conclusion, this study shows that there is an optimum number of
restaurant menu items below and above which consumers say they are less
happy with the choice set size. The optimum number of menu choices is
comparable to that found in studies on item choice. The fact that consumers
were able to express this idea without using the concept of satisfaction and
arrived at the optimum number without being made to justify their choices
enhances the robustness of this finding. The study has indicated a need to
establish the extent to which expectation influences the ideal choice set and
whether the concept of choice overload is socially constructed. Locus of
284 N. Johns et al.
control, which has not been investigated as a moderator of choice, would
seem worthy of study. Overall, it is clear that optimum choice set size is an
important factor to consider when menus are compiled.
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... Note that the number of options provided may affect the decision processes (e.g., choice overload) and the effectiveness of the nudges. Related studies suggest using six items to avoid the effects of choice overload (Bollen et al., 2010;Johns et al., 2013). A picture of each recipe and additional meta-data were gathered from the website and presented in the web application for each recipe. ...
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... Future research might also seek to explore why we found that number of unique types of cuisine accessible online was not associated with online food delivery service use in the previous week. It is perhaps intuitive that having access to a greater number of unique types of cuisine facilitates choice and so might increase online food delivery service use [58]. However, it stands to reason that access to a greater number of unique types of cuisine leads to excessive choice [59], which might result in the decision not to use an online food delivery service to complete transactions. ...
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... This is due to the reason that selecting from a wide range of choices is a complicated and tiring process that may even lead to customer dissatisfaction. Further, it has been found that more that 60% of the respondents of a survey conducted in UK and USA have stated that they prefer a small number of food item suggestions from the chef over a menu comprising of a large number of options [20]. ...
Conference Paper
This paper highlights the number of contributing factors that make food decision making a difficult and timeconsuming task. The survey carried out confirms the difficulties identified through literature and establishes that the use of digital menus is a preferred alternative to restaurant’s customers. A digital menu comprising of sufficient information regarding items will be introduced, which will allow customers to make wellinformed food decisions. Further, the deep learning technique, neural networks, will be implemented to build a food item recommendation engine that offers personalized recommendations that customers are likely to enjoy.
... Starbucks showed a decline in revenue by 6% compared to Dunkin Donuts (Bollinger, Leslie, Sorensen, 2011 It was observed that on one hand where Nutritional menu labelling is proving beneficial in some extent but on another hand, providing too much nutritional information has proven to create confusion and hence to ruin the enjoyment of the customers dining at restaurants (Hwang, Lorenzen, 2008;Johns, Edwards, Hartwell, 2013). So, it becomes essential for the restaurant on how they present this information to the customer as this is the primary responsibility of the restaurant and also a source to increase their revenue. ...
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The increasing risk of obesity and heart-related diseases directly related to the consumption of food away from home (especially at restaurants) without keeping a track on nutritious or unhealthy ingredient’s intake has created an alarming concern among Ireland's customers dining at restaurants. Many types of research have shown that the impact of nutritional information present on the restaurant’ menu has a very positive impact on the consumers. However, the information loses its value when the consumer does not take a look at it. This study emphasizes on investigating how many Dublin’s population responses to the nutritional information given on the menu card before making a choice. Which ultimately means that do customers (after reading the nutritional information on the restaurant’s menu) prefer to buy the healthy and nutritious option or prefer to buy the unhealthy one? The quantitative approach using the cross-section method was adapted in this study. An anonyms survey was conducted by distributing a questionnaire set to the people in the selected location of Dublin. Cronbach alpha was used to check the reliability of the survey. Pearson correlation coefficient and Chi-Square test were performed for data analysis. The result of the study indicated that the participants were aware and also had good knowledge related to nutrition information. Among the participants, more males compare to females preferred to dine at restaurants which provides (or will provide) nutritional information on their menu cards. Thus, few respondents showed a positive attitude (i.e. showed interest and will prefer buying nutritious food). While most respondents showed a negative attitude by not selecting nutritional information while ordering food at the restaurant. Further, some recommendations were made from customers perception and their attitude towards the nutritional menu labelling law.
... However, too much choice can be overwhelming, and can lead to dissatisfaction (Chernev, 2003;Iyengar & Lepper, 2000). One study determined an ideal number of six menu choices for fast service restaurants and seven to ten menu choices for fine dining establishments (Johns, Edwards, & Hartwell, 2013) which aligns with studies in other product categories indicating an ideal range of five to six choices (Iyengar & Lepper, 2000;Mogilner et al., 2008;Sela, Berger, & Liu, 2008). Furthermore, consumers' satisfaction with dishes diminishes when there is little variety over time. ...
Institutional food service settings can deliver higher levels of support for healthy eating; yet institutional food outlets are not a customer favorite. Changing food service provisioning within institutional settings is likely to create expectations for a more enjoyable experience and improve diner satisfaction, which in turn can foster increases in attendance. This study modified the food servicescape in a military dining setting, by changing the physical setting (or servicescape), variety and presentation of foods, and examined the impact of changes on customer satisfaction. Using a cross-sectional pretest/posttest survey design with (n = 421) diners, followed by modelling with PLS-SEM, a strong relationship was found between food variety and satisfaction; and a moderate relationship between facility aesthetics and satisfaction. These predictors explained 58% of variance in satisfaction. This study shows how diner satisfaction can be improved in institutional food service outlets; providing a demonstration of the impact of food servicescape changes in a real-world institutional food setting.
Purpose The purpose of this study is to unearth antecedents of regrettable dining experiences related to the information source, action and inaction perspectives, dining companion influence and interactions among information source, the focal customer’s valence and the dining companion’s valence on regret, leading to sequential behavioral outcomes. Design/methodology/approach Using a scenario-based experimental study, 344 qualified questionnaires were collected. Univariate ANOVA and multiple linear regression analyses were implemented. Findings The results of this study reveal that action regret is more intense than inaction regret during the choice-making phase; dining companion negative feedback intensifies focal customer’s regret. The significance of the information source on regret disappeared when only one party reported negative feedback; conversely, when two parties in the co-consumption experience revealed negative feedback, the relationship between information source of choice and regret was sustained. Research limitations/implications The nature of scenario-based design may lack realism. Thus, more field experiments are encouraged to test the propositions further. This research enhances our understanding of gastronomic experiences in a negative disconfirmation context, drawing upon action/inaction regret theory, attribution theory and the expectancy disconfirmation model. Practical implications From a triad relationship perspective, this study provides valuable input on who or what will be attributed to the issues when encountering a food and wine sensory failure. Additionally, insightful recommendations are supplied on avoiding the possibility of inducing the experience of regret and how practitioners can increase the potential for a memorable dining experience. Originality/value To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study that enriched the existing knowledge of regrettable dining experiences relating to information sources and social influence.
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Owing to the vast number of choices open to customers, they can often feel paralysed in their decision-making. Offering a wide range of options can activate the effect of Decision Paralysis, which delays the client's final decision. The impact of Decision Paralysis can prevail in restaurants. This study reveals the existence of decision paralysis among customers in restaurants when placing an order. The aim is to investigate the prevalence of Decision Paralysis among customers, with particular reference to placing an order in a restaurant and the influence on consumers’ purchase decisions. A survey questionnaire was rolled out using Google forms to customers who have experienced dining in a restaurant. A total of 416 survey responses were collected for data analysis through the convenience sampling method. It was found that, customer purchase decision has been affected by the decision paralysis effect. It was also found that customers experience a dilemma due to tremendous options or choices in the food sector by the service providers. This study was limited to restaurants and in terms of cuisine, with hotels not being considered. Hence, the main limitation is not being able to generalise the findings of this study to the whole of the food catering sector. The study will benefit both scholars and marketing practitioners in understanding the difficulty a customer faces during purchase decision-making.
Mass customization in fast casual restaurants has been a growing trend to meet customers’ increasingly tailored demands. To receive customization services, however, customers are required to make several choices with limited time. Therefore, this study examines the effects of a perceived number of choices and time pressure on choice overload and the subsequent effects of choice overload on satisfaction with customization in fast casual restaurants. Path analyses with the data of 371 highly valid respondents from a nationwide consumer sample demonstrated that perceived number of choices and time pressure increased participants’ choice overload. In addition, once customers were overwhelmed by choices, they were less likely to be satisfied with the customization process. Notably, when customers had high hedonic or utilitarian restaurant values, there was no negative effect of choice overload on satisfaction. This study provides better insights into the current restaurant trend of mass customization for both scholars and practitioners.
Conference Paper
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Concept of sustainable gastronomy whose importance has globally increased, become a tool of differentiation and competitiveness for many sectors took place in tourism industry, notably food&beverage sector in recent years. At this point, Fine-dining restaurants which provide unique and eccentrical cuisine experience are the businesses coming into one of the most apparent example of sustainable gas-tronomy through their distinctive menus. In the service literature, Fine-dining restaurants have been mostly handled within the context of consumer attitudes and behaviors; however, menu analysis regard-ing sustainable gastronomic diversity has been overlooked to the best of our knowledge. Hence, with the practical and theoretical aim, menus of 10 Fine-dining restaurants operating in Antalya, Istanbul and Izmir have been investigated in terms of sustainable gastronomy criteria. As a result, most of the restaurant claim in their menus that they mostly prefer to purchase local and fresh products with geo-graphical indication from organic public market or directly from the seller such as fisher, farmer or home-made stores. In addition to pur-chasing it has been understood that the restaurants combine sustaina-bility with creative applications in preparing, cooking and presenta-tion process. The last but not the least, significant number of restau-rants are rich in diversity of wines from all over the world and even some of them have their own wine cellar.
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The wide range of 401(k) plans offered to employees has raised the question of whether there is such as thing as too much choice. The 401(k) participation rates among clients of the Vanguard Group were studied to verify the assumption that more choice is more desirable and intrinsically motivating. It was found that 401(k) plans that offered more funds had lower probability of employee participation. © Pension Research Council, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, 2004. All rights reserved.
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Contrary to the common belief that more options lead to better decisions, recent research has demonstrated that choosing from a large number of options can have detrimental psychological effects. We investigated whether people were willing to sacrifice resources for more options, and whether choice-making orientation moderated such willingness. As predicted, people who were motivated to make the best choice possible—“maximizers”—were more willing to sacrifice resources such as time to attain a larger choice array than were people who tend to search for a satisfactory choice (i.e., “satisficers”). Additionally, maximizers who sacrificed to attain more options were ultimately less satisfied with their choice relative to maximizers who chose from a small assortment, and to satisficers (Studies 2 and 3). We term the pattern in which maximizers tend to sacrifice resources to attain more options that ultimately reduce their satisfaction, the “Maximization Paradox”.
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The choice overload hypothesis states that an increase in the number of options to choose from may lead to adverse consequences such as a decrease in the motivation to choose or the satisfaction with the finally chosen option. A number of studies found strong instances of choice overload in the lab and in the field, but others found no such effects or found that more choices may instead facilitate choice and increase satisfaction. In a meta-analysis of 63 conditions from 50 published and unpublished experiments (N = 5,036), we found a mean effect size of virtually zero but considerable variance between studies. While further analyses indicated several potentially important preconditions for choice overload, no sufficient conditions could be identified. However, some idiosyncratic moderators proposed in single studies may still explain when and why choice overload reliably occurs; we review these studies and identify possible directions for future research. (c) 2010 by JOURNAL OF CONSUMER RESEARCH, Inc..
Male and female college students ate as much as they wished of either one or three of their favorite ice cream flavors. Females who were allowed to consume three flavors ate more ice cream than those who could only eat one flavor. By contrast, ice cream consumption by males was unaffected by the number of flavors available. Human females have stronger inhibitions about eating than males, but these inhibitions can be overridden by presentation of a variety of palatable foods, especially when satiety mechanisms are already operating, as at the end of a meal.
Grocery retailers have been informed that, to remain competitive, they must reduce the number of stockkeeping units (SKUs) offered, in line with consumer demand, or, in other words, adopt "Efficient Assortment." Retailers have resisted this principle on the basis of a fear that eliminating items would lower consumer assortment perceptions and decrease the likelihood of store choice. In two studies, the authors examine how consumers form assortment perceptions in the face of SKU reduction with a particular emphasis on two heuristic cues: the availability of a favorite product and the amount of shelf space devoted to the category. Results indicate that retailers might be able to make substantive reductions in the number of items carried without negatively affecting assortment perceptions and store choice, as long as only low-preference items are eliminated and category space is held constant. Thus, the potential risk inherent in item reduction might be more limited than initially thought. The authors then discuss the implications of these findings for retailers, as well as additional measurement considerations.
People are typically thought to be better off with more choices, yet often prefer to choose from few alternatives. By considering the perceived benefits and costs of choice, it is proposed that satisfaction from choice is an inverted U-shaped function of the number of alternatives. This proposition is verified experimentally. It is further hypothesized that differences in cognitive costs affect the relative location of the function's peak. Specifically, since—in large sets—perceptual costs of processing alternatives varying in shape are greater than for alternatives varying in color, the peak of the satisfaction function for the latter will lie to the right of the former. This prediction is also validated. The paper emphasizes the need for an explicit rationale for knowing how much choice is “enough.” © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Psychological experiments have revealed that more choice does not always make one better off. For example, consumers are sometimes more likely to purchase a product from a small variety than a large variety. Some have suggested that this excessive-choice effect may have implications for how well markets serve society. This paper constructs an economic model where the excessive-choice effect results from search costs. The model shows that it is possible for markets to produce too much variety, but there are also incentives inducing markets to provide an optimal variety. Advertising, retailer market power, and slotting fees are not just signs of imperfect competition, but mechanisms of ensuring consumers are presented with an ideal choice set.