Young Adult Consumers’ Motivations Understanding

Introduction

Background information

The results of the previous studies have revealed the growing trends in increased interests to dine away from homes. The increase in these interests translates to the diverse nature of today’s generation. Food and beverage outlets in most cases are frequented by young and sophisticated individuals. In addition, the level of competition among the outlets has increased within the industry. The customers who choose to dine in high-end food outlets usually prefer to experience a total dining fantasy. Understanding the expectations of the customers by the restaurant proprietors is valuable enough to help in making decisions to attract and retain different personalities of the customers.

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Nonetheless, the available literature mainly focusing on what motivates young adults to frequent food and beverage outlets is very limited. This study, therefore, aims to advance the limited research in this field and generate new perceptions in regards to the choice and preferences of the consumers.

Fast food restaurants

Fast food restaurants are popular among young adults. These restaurants sell foodstuffs which are cheaper and are served quickly. Many of these young adults are bachelors or spinsters with limited dependents and commitments; therefore, they prefer a quicker fix. The kinds of food here are fries, chicken and pizza among others, and they are normally prepared faster and served quickly. Fast food business is gaining much popularity internationally due to the fact that it is much different from the normal restaurant business; the foods are easier and faster to prepare. Furthermore, a customer can eat and work or engage in another different activity simultaneously when using fast food outlets (Keller, 1993, p. 108).

Globally, the pace of living has escalated; this has called for shorter dining hours. The rapid expansion of fast food business has been supported by this fact. Eating out in food outlets not only satisfies the diners’ hunger, it also adds to the diners’ pleasure, entertainment, socializing, and personal convenience. A proper business strategy for the fast food outlets is so beneficial to understand the plan for the evolving needs of the customers. The strategy is in terms of the restaurant’s image, high quality service, proper planning, etc. The restaurant’s image is very beneficial in contributing to the success of the fast food business due to the fact that it creates customer loyalty and trust. Many young adults prefer to be associated to a specific outlet where they get a high quality service (Aaker, 1991, p. 26).

Due to the fact that there is increased competition and fast paced changes in the global market, many food outlets have regarded the management of their image as the top most objective. In a real sense, the restaurant proprietors find it impossible to manage their image because of the fact that the fast food outlets provide similar products. They therefore resort to lower pricing as the top most means of attracting customers. Providing discounts to customers is regarded as the most convenient way of attracting and retaining customers; but at the same time it frustrates the business in regards to low profits (Aaker, 1991, p. 27).

Existing literature suggests that proper management of restaurants is economically beneficial. In regards to this, many firms have resorted to proper restaurant business management to create an appealing awareness to young adults who are the main catch. When awareness has been created, the customers will be loyal to a particular food outlet in order to have a sense of recognition or image. This study, therefore, explores on what food outlets do to capture the interests of the young adults and make them visit the outlets on a regular and constant basis and enhance their loyalty.

There are four dimensions that determine the level of re-visits by a customer. These dimensions are: level of awareness created by the food outlet, the quality of service/food, the loyalty to the food outlet, and the image of the food outlet. These four dimensions will be explored in this study. The perceptions of the customers regarding a food outlet will be tied to the four dimensions. Each dimension has a diverse influence on the customer’s ability to revisit the food outlet over and over again.

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Problem Statement

Many people have lately preferred eating away from home rather than eating at home. Various studies have revealed that households’ spending on eating out has gone up. With the increase in demand for food away from home, many eating outlets have come up. With the increased number of eating outlets, competition in regards to the quality of food service has gone up, resulting to improved quality standards (Jones & Slater, 2003, p. 163).

The restaurant proprietors have an uphill task to satisfy the surge in demand by the consumers. They have to be innovative and add value to the quality that they already have. The many restaurants make these kinds of decisions differently, and these decisions influence the consumer’s motivation to come back and visit the eating outlets again and again. The kinds of decisions that are made are in regards to the quality of food, the ambiance of the restaurant, the quality of the service, and the varieties of the foods that are served. These normally vary from one restaurant to the other. Diners normally regard the first impression/experience highly and they use their judgment to make dining decisions (Doyle, 2002, p. 122).

There is an urgent need for the restaurant proprietors to categorize the needs of the diners since these needs are important in decision making. They use this information to plan adequately for the supplies of their offerings and execution of their strategies. Information about consumer behaviour is also very relevant to the restaurant operators as it guides them to understand the nature of the target market (Doyle, 2002, p. 123).

Justification of the study

This study is very important due to the fact that it adds to the available body of knowledge regarding the factors that motivate the young adults to visit the food outlets regularly. The results of this study are very relevant to the hotel proprietors because they can use it for strategic and planning purposes so that they can come up with clear-cut objectives to attract and retain a large customer base.

CHAPTER TWO

Literature Review

Introduction

This chapter reviews the theories both empirical and theoretical that are closely linked with understanding why young adults are motivated to visit a particular food outlet over and over again.

Theoretical framework

Behaviour of the consumers

Having an elaborate insight in regards to the behaviour of the consumers is very useful in planning for the consumer based services. In line with this it is easier to point out the perception of the consumers toward a particular product. Consumer behaviour can therefore be explained as the procedures that consumers pursue when seeking to buy or examine a product or a service that is meant to live up to their desires (Belch & Belch, 2004, p. 123).

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Turley and Moore (1995, p. 47), in their study categorised the behaviour of the consumers into two, for instance, cognitive consumer behaviour, and consumer behaviour tied to the consumer’s experience (experience-oriented). The difference between the two is that cognitive consumers are rational while experienced consumers have a personal relationship with the product or the service. Consequently, Turley and Moore (1995, p. 47), in their study described four vivid characteristics of a consumer. The characteristics are: logical, educated, innocent, and social.

Logical consumers will want to have a good knowledge about the product or service plus the added features before taking the step to buy it. By digging into the information about the product, an association or attitude between the consumer and the product/service is developed. It is this association/attitude that will determine whether the consumer will buy the product/service or not (McDonald & Sharp, 2000, p. 10). In the context of this study, many young adults are explorers; they would wish to know more about a restaurant and develop an attitude/attachment to the restaurant before going to eat out. Logical consumers can therefore be summarised in three steps, for instance, KNOWLEDGE→ATTUTUDE→ACTION.

Innocent consumers, on the other hand, first develop an attitude/association towards the product/service. It is the attitude that will drive them to seek for more knowledge or information regarding the product. After getting the knowledge, they make a decision as to whether to buy the product or not (Ladhari, Brun & Morales, 2008, p. 569). In the context of this study, young adults tend to be influenced by their friends or colleagues to develop an attitude about a particular restaurant. After that they become curious to know more about the products and services in that restaurant before moving on to make the purchase. Innocent consumers can therefore be summarised in three steps, for instance, ATTITUDE→KNOWLEDGE→ACTION.

Educated consumers derive their behaviour from regular habits. Their purchase of a product is spontaneous; they do not plan to make a purchase of a product of their choice. A perfect example is a consumer who purchases a newspaper. He will first purchase the newspaper, get to know the information about it and then develops an attitude/association with the newspaper. Their behaviour can be summarised into three steps, for instance, ACTION→KNOWLEDGE→ATTITUDE.

The last category is consumers who are influenced by the social surroundings in which they operate in. They normally make a decision to purchase a product/service as a result of the kind of lifestyle that they live in, or as a result of their social status. Their behaviour can also be summarised into three steps, for instance, ACTION→ATTITUDE→KNOWLEDGE.

The motivation of the consumers/customer is influenced by a number of factors, for instance, the culture in which the consumer is associated with, the status of the consumer in the society, the age, economic status and the occupation of the consumer, and finally the attitude, perception and beliefs of the consumer (Kotler et al. 1999).

Purchasing habits of the consumers

Turley and Moore (1995, p. 46), in their study explained that the purchasing habit of a consumer is tied to his taste of the product, perception of the product, and his lifestyle. The buying behaviour of the consumer is influenced by a number of internal and external factors; this makes it a complex phenomenon altogether (Kotler et al. 1999). The purchasing habit of the consumer is broken down into five stages as represented below:

Stages of consumer purchasing habits
Figure 2.1 Stages of consumer purchasing habits. Source: Kotler et al. (1999, p. 254).

The above diagram illustrates the stages involved in the purchasing habits of the consumer. It appreciates the fact that the consumers make decisions in a five stage model.

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Relationship between quality of service and customers’ choice

It is important for food outlets must have a clear picture of what the customer expects from them (Josiam & Monteiro, 2004, p. 22). The consumers’ choice on the quality of a service is very different from their choices in regards to choosing goods or products. This is because services are much more different from commodities. Goods are tangible and can be touched, while services are not tangible. Goods are perishable, service is not, and so on (Kotler et al. 1999; Josiam & Monteiro, 2004, p. 22). Therefore, this challenges the customers when comparing services and products.

Intangibility of service

Unlike goods or products, service cannot be felt, or touched, or tasted, or seen (Aaker, 1991, p. 67). Customers are known to make choices based on both tangible and intangible factors. Dimensions like the quality of the food or service, and the price of the product in relation to the service are some examples of intangible factors that influence the decision making process of the consumers (Asp, 1999, p. 290). The restaurant proprietors normally opt to concentrate on tangible factors that are aimed at influencing the customers’ decision making. The tangible dimensions that they adopt are: good ambiance of the restaurant, choice of music and sound level, improved facilities, and so on (Auty, 1992, p. 330; Bailey & Tian, 2002, p. 60).

Variability of the service

Service varies from a service provider to another and also from a customer to another (Bailey & Earle, 1993, p. 262). Due to this variability, consumers have an uphill task to make decisions to choose one service provider over another (Bailey & Tian, 2002, p. 60). The restaurant proprietors also have an uphill task of maintaining a steady level of operation in terms of the quality of the food or service (Belch & Belch, 2004, p. 43). For instance, if a restaurant waiter/waitress gets a complaint from a customer, the complaint will influence him/her to provide low quality services consequently (Kotler et al. 1999).

Inseparability of the service

A restaurant proprietor will gauge the efficiency of the service only after he/she has sold the service. On the other hand, a customer will gauge the efficiency of the service only after he/she has bought it (Kivela, Inbakaran & Reece, 2000, p. 22; Kivela, 1997, p. 120). The level of professionalism of the restaurant employees will give the customers an insight in regards to the service quality. In the same context, the feedback or responses received from customers will give the restaurant proprietors a perception in regards to the customers’ satisfaction regarding the restaurant’s service (Kotler et al. 1999).

Perishability of the service

Customers can purchase physical products at any given time due to the fact that they can be stored and sold at any time the customer asks about their availability. On the other hand, it is not possible to store a service. When a service is not sold, it translates to the fact that the service does not exist in the first place (Kotler, Bowen & Makens, 1998, p. 253). One way of illustrating this is to take, for instance, a customer who has made a reservation and fails to show up. The restaurant will fail to serve other customers when the restaurant becomes full because they are anticipating the arrival of the customer who reserved the table. Due to the fact that the nature of the customers is uncertain, the restaurant proprietors find it challenging to find the balance between the supply and demand for their services (Kotler, Bowen & Makens, 1998, p. 253).

The model of decision making by the consumers

Very many scholars have come up with different interpretations of the model of decision making by the consumers. This model gives an explanation of the steps that any consumer takes just immediately after seeing the product up to the time he/she makes the decision to purchase the product. Due to the fact that services vary from one restaurant to another, the process by which consumers make their decisions when it comes to using a service is far much different from the process by which they make their decisions when purchasing a physical product.

Ladhari, Brun and Morales (2008, p. 570), in their study, came up with a five-stage model of the consumer decision making process. These stages are discussed in the section below.

Acknowledging the need

The process starts with the need recognition whereby the consumers define their needs. The needs can be created due to both internal and external factors. An example of an internal factor is when the consumer decides to eat because he/she is hungry. An example of an external factor is when the need of the consumer is created when he sees an advert about a product. It is important for restaurant owners to be familiar with the factors that capture the interests of young adults. These needs can be related to a setup of a restaurant. The physiological needs of the customers will motivate them to use a particular restaurant. The restaurant owner or workers then treat the customers with a good quality service which gives them a sense of belongingness and safety. In addition, customers prefer to choose a particular restaurant that is in line with their esteem; thus, giving them a status in the society (Miller, 1993, p. 48).

The consumer acknowledges the fact that indeed there is a need that exists. To the consumers, the need is the problem that drives them to find solutions for the same (Johns & Pine, 2002, p. 132; Josiam & Monteiro, 2004, p. 22). According to Maslow (1970, p. 47), there is a hierarchy of human needs which includes: the physiological needs, the need for safety, the need for belongingness, the need for self-esteem, and finally the need for self-actualization. These needs were ranked by Maslow (1970, p. 47) in regards to the order of importance.

The search for information

In this stage the consumer is motivated to know more about the product/service of interest. After that the consumer evaluates the available existing alternatives whereby he can compare prices and quality. The consumer then makes the decision to make the purchase. In the final stage, the post-purchase decision, the consumer will gauge their prospects about the product/service against the performance of the product (Kotler et al. 1999).

The information can be sought from friends, colleagues or even the media (Ladhari, Brun & Morales, 2008, p. 568). Logical consumers will want to have a good knowledge about the product or service plus the added features before taking the step to buy it. By digging into the information about the product, an association or attitude between the consumer and the product/service is developed. It is this association/attitude that will determine whether the consumer will like the service (Lovelock, Patterson & Walker, 1998, p. 251).

Exploring on the possible alternatives

When a customer has already identified a need and has gathered enough information about the need, he/she will look for other possible options that exist in regards to the category of the need the customer has. In this instance, the customer will explore on the various characteristics of the need to help him/her make a decision (Brookes, 2004, p. 162).

In the context of a restaurant, the specific attributes that are explored by the customer include: varieties of food available, the prices, the taste of the food, and so on. This explains the primary reason why one restaurant is chosen over another (Kotler et al. 1999).

The purchase

After the successful consideration of the top three stages, the customer will make his/her mind to purchase the service from the preferred vendor and consume it. In the context of a restaurant, the process of purchase and consumption are complementary; they happen together. At this stage the customer is very confident because he/she has enough and relevant information about the service (Kim, 2000, p. 49; Hoffman & Bateson, 2001, p. 26).

Evaluation of the service after the purchase

Restaurant operators are required to have in mind this process of decision making in order to know and understand what the consumers’ needs are in each stage. This will also help them in making useful strategies in the near future (Macdonald & Sharp, 2004, p. 8; Jackson, Titz & DeFranco, 2004, p. 23). Rational consumers will want to evaluate if their expectations have been satisfied by the service after purchase and consumption. When the customer is satisfied, he/she is likely to make the restaurant the top choice. The customer is also very likely to become very loyal to the restaurant and refer a friend to the same restaurant. In future, the customer will not feel overburdened to pay more for the service because he/she has full confidence (Ladhari, Brun & Morales, 2008, p. 568).

Consumer behaviour when selecting restaurants

According to previous studies of the same, various scholars came up with different factors that influence the consumers’ decisions before selecting restaurants. Mill (2007, p. 68), in his study to explore on what influences the decisions of a customer, found out that the quality of food and the ambiance of the restaurant played a big role in influencing the customers’ decisions. Dugan (1994, p. 82), in his study also found out that the decisions of the consumers are influenced mostly by the image of the restaurant and what other people say about the restaurant. In addition, he found out that the older people like quiet places with a good ambiance and tasty foods. Younger people, on the other hand, prefer restaurants that provide quick foods with very fair prices.

Auty (1992, p. 325), in his study also found out that the choice of a customer is influenced by the variety of food, the price of the food, and the quality of the service/food. Very many customers are fully satisfied with the restaurant if the prices are fair and the food quality is good. The customers will have a good reason to revisit the restaurant again and even recommend the restaurant to a friend (Auty, 1992, p. 325).

What determines the restaurant decisions

The decision making process by the consumers is also affected by the influence of others. A customer can decide to choose a particular food outlet because his/her friends normally frequent there. The young adults normally have a habit of exchanging ideas with their friends regarding new food outlets that have come up in order to get their advice. When a food outlet is regarded highly by friends, the customer is most likely to prefer it. Advertising also influences the decision making process of the customers. It creates more awareness about the product since it is the biggest form of communication (Aaker, 1991, p. 65). Other factors include the packaging of the service and the convenience of the service (Bailey & Earle, 1993, p. 262).

Many young adults are regarded to be rational consumers. They first want to have a knowledge about the product, develop and attitude before proceeding to make the purchase. Their decisions to purchase are influenced by both internal and external factors. The first factor that motivates the young adults is the quality of the food or service. Aaker (1991, p. 120) in his study found out that any given brand stems its identity from its quality. The consumers, therefore, pay great attention to the service quality that is available.

The young adults also normally look at the price of the product or service as another factor that influences their decisions to choose a food outlet. Price and quality are complementary, in that, the highest quality attracts the highest prices and vice versa. Many fast food outlets have lowered their prices to enhance their competitive edge in the market; thus, reducing their financial risks (McDonald & Sharp, 2000, p. 10).

This study analyses the decision making process of the consumer and further explores on those factors that entice consumers to come back and eat in a restaurant again. This area also relies on the findings of other studies to explore on factors like the awareness created by the food outlet, the quality of the food and service, and the image of the food outlet in relation to the loyalty of the customers. Food outlets have very choosy and sensitive customers. This matters a lot when it comes to their decision making process (Bailey & Earle, 1993, p. 262).

Very many scholars have explored on the factors that influence the choice of a food outlet. Very many factors have been named, but there are top four factors that really stand out. Various studies have identified the quality of the food as a top factor. In addition, the quality of the service has also stood out to be a top factor. These two factors have an instant effect on the satisfaction of the customer and also on the post purchase behaviour of the customer (Ennew & Binks, 1996, p. 220; Finkelstein, 1989, p. 33; Goldman, 1993, p. 68; Ladhari, Brun & Morales, 2008, p. 569).

Very many studies have pointed out to the fact that food quality is highly correlated to the satisfaction of the customer. On the other hand, other studies have also pointed out to the fact that service quality is highly correlated to the satisfaction of the customer (Dube, Renaghan & Miller, 1994, p. 42). Consumers therefore make their choices in line with the factors of food quality and service quality.

The quality of the food

Many studies exploring on what influence the customers’ decisions to choose a food restaurant have identified food quality as a top factor (Doyle, 2002, p. 65; Dillman, 2007, p. 48; Cowell, 1989, p. 79; Turley & Moore, 1995, p. 47). Food quality has various dimensions that rational consumers normally look at. These dimensions include: the taste of the food, the assortment of foodstuffs, healthy food, and known (uncomplicated) food.

Taste of the food

The taste of the food has an immediate effect on the consumer’s decision to choose a restaurant. It is the most important dimension of food quality (Kim & Geistfeld, 2003, p. 73; Keller, 1993, p. 10). The main reason why customers choose to eat out is to enable them to have access to food that they cannot prepare by themselves in their homes; therefore, the taste of the food and the choice of ingredients are very important (Kelly & Carvell, 1987, p. 64).

Assortment of foodstuffs

Customers normally prefer a restaurant with a wide variety of foodstuffs in their menus. Customers find eating in a restaurant with a limited assortment of foodstuff to be monotonous since they eat the same type of food all the time (Kelly & Carvell, 1987, p. 64). A wide variety of foodstuffs in the menu are, therefore, a very important aspect that the customers look at keenly.

Healthy food

There is a growing trend by many customers all over the world to mind their health by choosing to eat food that doesn’t interfere with their body system, for instance, people in advanced age normally prefer to eat food with minimal levels of cholesterol (Hassan & Hall, 2004, p. 92; June & Smith, 1987, p. 24). In regards to this, many restaurants have redesigned their menus to capture the health benefits of the food with an aim of attracting many customers who are keen on healthy eating.

It is due to the element of health that will drive a customer to prefer Chinese food, or Indian food, or any other ethnic food due to the widespread belief that they are healthy foods (June & Smith, 1987, p. 24; Heung, Wong & Qu, 2000, p. 88).

Known food

Many customers come from diverse cultures and there are some specific foods that fit them. It is the responsibility of the restaurant owners to understand the culture of the customers and offer them familiar foods with familiar ingredients (Greenbaum, 1998, p. 83). Customers will always prefer restaurants that offer them familiar foods (Gregoire, Shanklin & Greathouse, 1995, p. 45).

The quality of the service

Before choosing to dine in a particular restaurant, customers normally do a background check up on the quality of the service. The attributes that are related to the quality of the service are the ambiance of the restaurant and the level of professionalism of the staffs (Hair, Bush & Ortinau, 2000, p. 49).

The ambiance of the restaurant

Customers will normally look at attributes like the physical decoration of the restaurant, the atmosphere inside, and the kind of seats in the restaurant as choice attributes before making the decision to use the restaurant (Hardy & Sheuy, 2000, p. 275; Bitner, 1992, p. 62). These attributes will highly influence the first-hand experience of the customers. Customers will therefore choose the restaurant with the highest quality of ambiance that highly satisfies them (Bitner, 1990, p. 72).

Professionalism level

Customers really like to be handled professionally with the best etiquette; this is an element of good customer service (Cowell, 1989, p. 42; Burnett & Moriarty, 1998, p. 92). It is always the human nature to make judgments based on the first impression or experience. In addition the customers normally want to be attended to by waiters who are patient, understanding, friendly and well familiar with the products on offer (Asp, 1999, p. 289; Burton, 1982, p. 39).

Reputation of the restaurant

Many customers will hear about a restaurant’s reputation through word of mouth. They can learn this from their friends or from other customers who are very familiar with the restaurant (Burton, 1990, p. 42; Cadotte & Turgeon, 1988, p. 47). Positive comments about a restaurant by friends will highly affect the decision making process of the customer; they are more likely to try out the new restaurant. This therefore implies that many customers will trust and believe what their friends or other customers say about the restaurant (Mill, 2007, p. 49).

It is normally a belief that when a customer is highly satisfied with a restaurant, chances are that the customer will recommend the restaurant to at least five friends. On the other hand, when a customer is highly dissatisfied with the services of a restaurant, there are high chances that the customer will share his/her bad experience with at least nine friends (Miller, 1993, p. 51). Therefore, when a customer knows that his/her friends are having a fantastic experience in a restaurant, he/she will have good confidence and will be very comfortable in choosing the restaurant (Bailey & Tian, 2002, p. 62).

Sales and marketing

Many restaurants that provide quality services to the customers normally resort to sales and marketing to make known their services to the customers. Usually this is an efficient move to boost the popularity of the restaurant (Cheng, 2006, p. 160). The various forms of sales and marketing that are used by restaurants to promote their services are: media adverts, carrying out sales promotion and using publicity (Mill, 2007, p. 96).

Sales promotion

Restaurants carry out sales promotions by giving the customers various offers like discounts, gifts, etc. These offers are normally on a short term basis (Lundberg & Walker, 1993, p. 36; Mill, 2007, p. 96). Many customers will be attracted to restaurants that give them discounts or redeemable points every time they dine there (Jackson, Titz & DeFranco, 2004, p. 27; Jones & Slater, 2003, p. 38).

Using publicity

Publicity is like a press statement or press release. Many restaurants often resort to publicity to make known their services to the customers. The main aim of using publicity is to reach out to those consumers who do not pay extra attention to advertising (Lundberg & Walker, 1993, p. 36).

Media advertising

This is the process whereby the restaurant owner uses the media to promote the ideas or services of his/her restaurant. The kinds of media commonly used by restaurants include: the internet, magazines, TVs and radios (Mill, 2007, p. 98). Many consumers, particularly the ones who are not residents in certain area normally use these external sources of information to know more about the services of a restaurant. This information will give the consumers assurances over their uncertainties (Churchill, 1979, p. 67; Clark & Wood, 1998, p. 142).

When a restaurant relates in a good way with the media, its image will be highly boosted. This can be used as a very effective way of communication aimed for marketing purposes. The media is therefore seen to be playing a major role in boosting the image of restaurants (Miller, 1993, p. 51; Kivela, 1997, p. 120; Lundberg & Walker, 1993, p. 36).

Image of the restaurant and social status

Many customers who use fancy restaurants normally have a higher social esteem than the ones who use ordinary restaurants. The fancy restaurants are normally preferred for business meetings, conferences, etc. It is very hard to conduct a business meeting in an ordinary restaurant because the ambiance is not conducive (Burton, 1990, p. 62; Goldman, 1993, p. 70).

High end customers normally prefer to use restaurants that represent their social status. Most of the fancy restaurants provide services which are expensive (Finkelstein, 1989, p. 28; Cheng, 2006, p. 71). The fancy restaurants therefore attract people of very high calibre like senior government employees, business tycoons, and other rich people (Cheng, 2006, p. 158). On the other hand, there are also ordinary restaurants that are normally frequented by ordinary people. In such restaurants, services are cheap and not complicated. The food variety is limited and the food is prepared quickly (Finkelstein, 1989, p. 28).

Food

Foodstuffs have a very special significance in the world today. Food is very fundamental in meeting the physiological needs of people. It has a big nutritive value as it contains a balance of proteins, vitamins and carbohydrates. When a person is deficient of those nutrients, his/her health is greatly affected. It also has cultural and religious values; this illustrates further its importance across the world (Goldman, 1993, p. 70).

Food service industry

This is the fastest growing industry all across the world. The role of the industry is to cater for the physiological needs of the people by providing catering services to them. The food service industry is both commercial and non-commercial (Dittmer & Griffin, 1997, p. 25). Various studies reveal that the food service industry that is done commercially contributes up to 2.1% of the native country’s GDP (Brymer, 2002, p. 38). The diagram below illustrates a simple food service structure.

Food service structures.
Figure 2.2 Food service structures. Source: Angelo and Vladimir (2001, p. 65)

The food service sector offers employment to very many people across the world and it is the backbone of the hospitality industry.

Dining decisions

There is a distinct decision-making process involved by consumers before they make up their minds to go to a specific restaurant. The process of decision making is highly influenced by a number of variables (Berkman, Lindquist & Sirgy, 1996, p. 27). The variables are composed of both internal and external factors. The variables under scrutiny in this scenario are: craving, fun time, desire to eat, and a nice meal out (Berkman, Lindquist & Sirgy, 1996, p. 27; Angelo &Vladimir, 2001, p. 65).

The desire to eat something stems from the strenuous schedules of the day to day life. A person becomes tired and hungry and is driven by this urge and desire to eat. Craving on the other hand is a very strong desire to eat a particular or a specific food. This desire is instigated by seeing the food or feeling its smell. Fun time is normally a planned time in advance to eat a specific food just to appease the fun. Finally, a nice meal out is whereby the customer goes to eat out because he/she cannot prepare the food locally at home (Berkman, Lindquist & Sirgy, 1996, p. 28).

The customer

The customers have really contributed to the growth of the food service industry. Very many customers are rational and have very high expectations in regards to eating out. Many of them desire to have a good and comfortable dining experience (Mills, 2000, p. 47). Customers normally look at factors like the ambiance of the restaurant, the quality of the food or service, the level of professionalism of the restaurant workers, and improved and up to standard facilities (Reid, 1983, p. 92). There are various reasons why a customer chooses to eat out in restaurants. Some of these reasons are: when celebrating special occasions, going out for a treat, relaxation, lack of the person to cook and clean up, convenience, and so on (Reid, 1983, p. 133).

The customers’ behaviour

The nature of the customers’ behaviour is very different from one scenario to the other (Kotler, Bowen & Makens, 1998, p. 179). The behaviour of the customer involves a chain of process. In addition, their behaviour is goal oriented. This behaviour is flexible and can be influenced by some factors because the customers have a free choice (Kotler, Bowen & Makens, 1998, p. 179).

Demographic attributes of the customer, for instance, the age, gender, occupation, and level of income also play an important role in influencing the buying behaviour of the customer. The types of services needed by a customer will change in regards to the different phases of his/her lifetime. In addition, the occupation and the level of income also influence the buying decisions of the customer (Hardy & Sheuy, 2000, p. 273). Customers with a higher level of income will naturally choose to dine in fancy restaurants, while the ones with a lower income level will be comfortable in ordinary restaurants.

The food service industry has presented a very competitive market environment. It is very important for restaurant owners to categorically understand and synthesize the mode of the customer behaviour in order to adopt the relevant strategies to survive in this market. In order to realize this, the restaurant owners need to come up with streamlined marketing strategies that take into account the product, the price, the place and the promotion (Kotler et al. 1999). The figure below illustrates a typical model of the behaviour of the customer.

Model of the customer behaviour.
Figure 2.3 Model of the customer behaviour. Source: Kotler et al. (1999, p. 67).

The behaviour of the customer is widely affected by culture. Culture stems from the customers’ repeated interaction with the society. Elements like the behaviour or values are very important in this aspect. The culture adopted by a customer is highly dependent on the customer’s experience (Kotler, 2001, p. 87). Another important factor that influences the behaviour of the customer is the socioeconomic level of the customer. People who belong to the same socioeconomic class normally have the same needs and the same mode of behaviour; these also include the buying behaviour of the customer (Kotler et al. 1999).

The customers’ expectations

Customers have a very high expectation when it comes to the quality of the service and the value of the service in a restaurant. Restaurants therefore have a greater role to play by maintaining a specific level of value and quality to attract customers from all walks of life (Hassan & Mall, 2004, p. 96). In times of economic crises, customers will be attracted to competitive pricing of products and services.

A customer is fully satisfied when his/her expectations are met. A customer whose expectation is left hanging is considered to be dissatisfied. In addition, when the expectations of the customer have been surpassed, the customer will be highly delighted and will share his/her positive experience with a group of other friends. Many restaurants aim at exceeding the expectations of the customers, thus, making them delighted (Kotler, Bowen & Makens, 1998, p. 179; Greenbaum, 1998, p. 43).

The customer’s dining occasion

According to studies by various scholars, the ability to understand the behaviour of the customer is illustrated by the dining occasions of the customer. The dining occasion of the customer is very important due to the fact that the urge of the consumer to eat out is stimulated. This results in different behaviours of the customers (Kivela, Inbakaran & Reece, 2000, p. 36). Dining occasion by the customer can be divided into three, for instance, the customer can decide to dine alone, or with a friend, or with a group of friends (Kim, 2000, p. 63). These three examples result to different criteria in selecting the suitable restaurant.

Other studies also reveal that the decisions by the customers to choose a restaurant depend on various occasions. For instance, one might need a restaurant for an intimate dinner, or birthday party, or a business lunch, or a family day out. All these result in different criteria in selecting the suitable restaurant (June & Smith, 1987, p. 23).

The customer’s demographic characteristics

Demographic attributes of the customer, for instance, the age, gender, occupation, and level of income also play an important role in influencing the buying behaviour of the customer. The types of services needed by a customer will change in regards to the different phases of his/her lifetime. In addition, the occupation and the level of income also influence the buying decisions of the customer (Mill, 2007, p. 43). Customers with a higher level of income will naturally choose to dine in fancy restaurants, while the ones with a lower income level will be comfortable in ordinary restaurants.

Importance of the restaurant choice factors

Many researchers have pointed out the fact that due to the fast paced nature of the food service industry, it is very essential for the restaurant owners to have a clear understanding of the various needs of the customers and adopt strategies aimed at attracting many customers and retaining the ones they already have (Miller, 1993, p. 51; Kim, 2000, p. 63; Kim & Geistfeld, 2003, p. 18). Given the fact that there are limited competitive resources, restaurant owners should hasten their decision making process and aim at satisfying customers.

A satisfied customer is a very happy customer. The customer will make the restaurant his/her top choice (Kim, 2000, p. 49; Hoffman & Bateson, 2001, p. 26). When many customers have issues with a restaurant, the image of the restaurant will be tainted and it will lose customers as a result. Auty (1992, p. 327), in his study also found out that the choice of a customer is influenced by the variety of food, the price of the food, and the quality of the service/food. Very many customers are fully satisfied with the restaurant if the prices are fair and the food quality is good. The customers will have a good reason to revisit the restaurant again and even recommend the restaurant to a friend (Auty, 1992, p. 327).

Very many studies have pointed out the fact that food quality is highly correlated to the satisfaction of the customer. On the other hand, other studies have also pointed out to the fact that service quality is highly correlated to the satisfaction of the customer (Johns & Pine, 2002, p. 132; Josiam & Monteiro, 2004, p. 22). Customers therefore make their choices in line with the factors of food quality and service quality.

It is, therefore, very essential for restaurant owners to have a clear picture of what the customer expects (Kivela, Inbakaran & Reece, 2000, p. 36). The consumers’ choice on the quality of a service is very different from their choices in regards to choosing goods or products. This is because services are much more different from commodities. Goods are tangible and can be touched, while services are not tangible. Goods are perishable, service is not, and so on (Kotler et al. 1999). This, therefore, challenge the customers when comparing services and products.

The decision making process by the consumers is also affected by the influence of others. A customer can decide to choose a particular food outlet because his/her friends normally frequent there. The young adults normally have a habit of exchanging ideas with their friends regarding new food outlets that have come up in order to get their advice. When a food outlet is regarded highly by friends, the customer is most likely to prefer it. Advertising also influences the decision making process of the customers. It creates more awareness about the product since it is the biggest form of communication (Aaker, 1991, p. 65). Other factors include the packaging of the service and the convenience of the service (Bailey & Earle, 1993, p. 262).

Chapter summary

This chapter reviewed the theories both empirical and theoretical that are closely linked with understanding why young adults are motivated to visit a particular food outlet over and over again. Many young adults are regarded to be rational consumers. They first want to have a knowledge about the product, develop and attitude before proceeding to make the purchase. Their decisions to purchase are influenced by both internal and external factors. The first factor that motivates the young adults is the quality of the food or service. Aaker (1991, p. 120) in his study found out that any given brand stems its identity from its quality. The consumers, therefore, pay great attention to the service quality that is available.

Ennew and Binks (1996, p. 221), in their study categorised the behaviour of the consumers into two, for instance, cognitive consumer behaviour, and consumer behaviour tied to the consumer’s experience (experience-oriented). The difference between the two is that cognitive consumers are rational while experienced consumers have a personal relationship with the product or the service. Consequently, Ennew and Binks (1996, p. 221), in their study described four vivid characteristics of a consumer. The characteristics are: logical, educated, innocent, and social.

The young adults also normally look at the price of the product or service as another factor that influences their decisions to choose a food outlet. Price and quality are complementary, in that, the highest quality attracts the highest prices and vice versa. Many fast food outlets have lowered their prices to enhance their competitive edge in the market; thus, reducing their financial risks (McDonald & Sharp, 2000, p. 10). The behaviour of the customer is widely affected by culture. Culture stems from the customers’ repeated interaction with the society. Elements like the behaviour or values are very important in this aspect. The culture adopted by a customer is highly dependent on the customer’s experience (Kotler, 2001, p. 87).

Research objectives and research questions

Research objectives

The main objective of the research is to understand why young adults are motivated to visit a particular food outlet over and over again. In line with the general objective, the specific objective objectives under scrutiny are:

  1. To determine if the quality of the service and food have an effect in motivating the young adults to visit the same restaurant over and over again.
  2. To explore on the effect of level of awareness on the customers’ motivations to visit the same restaurant over and over again.
  3. To ascertain whether loyalty to the restaurants by the customers influences their motivation to revisit the same restaurant repeatedly.
  4. To ascertain whether the image of the restaurant influences the motivation of the young adults to revisit the same restaurant over and over again.

Research questions

The following research hypotheses were developed in line with the main objective of the research:

  1. The quality of the service and food has an effect in motivating the young adults to visit the same restaurant over and over again.
  2. Level of awareness of the customers has an effect of their motivations to visit the same restaurant over and over again.
  3. Loyalty to the restaurant by the customers influences their motivation to revisit the same restaurant repeatedly.
  4. The image of the restaurant influences the motivation of the young adults to revisit the same restaurant over and over again.

Research Methodology

Introduction

Methodology is the process of instructing the ways to do the research. It is, therefore, convenient for conducting the research and for analysing the research questions. The process of methodology insists that much care should be given to the kinds and nature of procedures to be adhered to in accomplishing a given set of procedures or an objective. This part includes the research design, the sample and the methods that were used in gathering information. It also contains the data analysis methods, validity and reliability of data and the limitation of the study.

Research design

There are three types of research design: exploratory research, descriptive research and causal research (Amemiya, 1981, p. 1491). Exploratory research mainly explores on the nature of the problem in order to draw inferences. In this scenario, the researcher is in a good position to understand the problem under investigation. The flow of exploratory research involves identifying the problem and seeking to find the appropriate solutions and new ideas (Amemiya, 1981, p. 1491). Exploratory research is mostly applicable in circumstances where the structure of the research problem is not definite. The interview is a good example of the methods that will be used to gather information in this kind of research (Amemiya, 1981, p. 1492).

On the other hand, descriptive research is mostly applicable in circumstances where the structure of the research problem is explicit. This kind of research is used when the researcher expects to distinguish the various observed facts in a sample or a population (Bryman & Cramer, 1999, p. 91; Amemiya, 1981, p. 1494). In addition, descriptive research is normally used by the researcher when he has a prior understanding of the problem under investigation. Causal research is the kind of research whereby there is a clear structure of the research problem. In this case the researcher is interested to explore on the cause-effect relationship. The causes are identified, analysed and the extent of the effects are reviewed (Bryman & Cramer, 1999, p. 91; Amemiya, 1981, p. 1495).

Research techniques

There are two principal techniques that are popular in the field of research. These approaches are deductive approach and inductive approach (Bryman & Cramer, 1999, p. 93). The distinguishing factor between the two approaches relates to the building of the theories. In the deductive approach, the hypotheses and theory are constructed after exploring on the available relevant literature. In the inductive approach, the theory is constructed after the data has been explored and analysed. This study used the deductive approach; whereby the theory and the hypotheses were formulated after going through the relevant literature.

Data collection

In any research that is conducted, there are basic stages that are involved in regards to the shaping of the research. These stages include: understanding the research problem, the conceptual framework of the research, data collection, data analysis and interpretations, and drawing of inferences and making recommendations (Amemiya, 1981, p. 1491). In this study, quantitative research method was used to test the hypotheses that were formulated. The quantitative research method is very instrumental in harnessing mathematical models that are enshrined to natural facts. This type of research can be measured and the researcher is able to construct a conceptual framework using the existing theories.

Sources of data

There are two broad categories of data sources, for instance, primary data and secondary data. This study used both primary and secondary data. Primary data is whereby the researcher collects first-hand information which does not already exist in any form. Secondary data is whereby the researcher uses information that is already in existence (Amemiya, 1981, p. 1494). Secondary data were used in the literature review whereby the past data/information was used to present the theories of this research. The data were collected from textbooks, journals, relevant articles and the internet. Primary data on the other hand was used through the administering of questionnaires, interviews and observation.

Reliability and validity

The validity of the data represents the data integrity and it connotes that the data is accurate and much consistent. Validity has been explained as a descriptive evaluation of the association between actions and interpretations and empirical evidence deduced from the data (Bryman & Cramer, 1999, p. 93). Reliability of the data is the outcome of a series of actions which commences with the proper explanation of the issues to be resolved. This may push on to a clear recognition of the yardsticks concerned. It contains the target samples to be chosen, the proper sampling strategy and the sampling methods to be employed (Bryman & Cramer, 1999, p. 93).

Reliability of the data is subjected to four main challenges. These are: the respondents having insufficient knowledge on the area of the research, the mental or physical shape of the respondents at the time of questionnaire administration, biases in observation by the researcher, and error in making observations. In order to enhance reliability of the findings, a pre-test of the questionnaire was done with an aim of eliminating the challenges. Some questions were then changed in respect to this.

Questionnaire construction

In order to aid in data collection towards achieving the general objective of this study, a questionnaire was formulated with the intent to investigate what the customers thought about eating out in restaurants. The collection of the data and the analysis of the same were directed to the students of the Marylebone campus of the University of Westminster and around the surrounding residential areas (Harrow).

The questions in the questionnaire captured all the objectives of this study and they related to the evaluation of the consumers’ association to a particular food outlet taking into account the specific objectives of this study. The specific objectives of the study were: to explore on the effect of level of awareness on the customers’ motivations to visit the same restaurant over and over again; to determine if the quality of the service and food have an effect in motivating the young adults to visit the same restaurant over and over again; to ascertain whether loyalty to the restaurants by the customers influences their motivation to revisit the same restaurant repeatedly; and to ascertain whether the image of the restaurant influences the motivation of young adults to revisit the same restaurant over and over again.

The first three questions in the questionnaire sought to find information in regards to the demographic attributes of the respondents. In line with exploring on the effect of level of awareness on the customers’ motivations to visit the same restaurant over and over again, the researcher used two attributes related to the restaurant’s awareness; for instance, ‘the top of mind’ and ‘recognition’. From the top of the mind, the respondents were asked to recall any name of a food outlet that they instantly thought of; and for the recognition, the respondents were asked to choose from a provided list the food outlet that sounded familiar to them.

In line with ascertaining whether the loyalty to the restaurants by the customers influences their motivation to revisit the same restaurant repeatedly a Likert scale was used; the scale was between one to seven, where one (1) represented ‘strongly disagree’ and seven (7) represented ‘strongly agree’. The Likert scale was developed to measure a six item scale. In line with ascertaining whether the image of the restaurant influences the motivation of the young adults to revisit the same restaurant over and over again, focus groups of ten respondents were employed. Each respondent was asked to describe the motivation behind their connection to the food outlet. The responses were recorded and the researcher singled out the top eight responses that were highly mentioned. A Likert scale was also used to measure the eight responses.

In line with determining if the quality of the service and food have an effect in motivating the young adults to visit the same restaurant over and over again, the researcher measured seven items on a Likert scale. Therefore, in total there were twenty three items that were measured. These items help to understand why young adults are motivated to visit a particular food outlet over and over again.

Focus group

A focus group consists of a small number of respondents (for instance a group of six to ten respondents) who have the same interest of seeking information on some given issues. In this study each respondent in the focus group was asked to describe the motivation behind their connection to the food outlet. The responses were recorded by the researcher for further analysis.

Sampling procedure

There are two popularly used procedures for sampling. The sampling procedures include prospect sampling and non-prospect sampling. In a probability sampling procedure, the samples are representative of the population. This is because all the entries have a chance of being selected. On the other hand, items in the non-probability sampling do not have an equal chance. In this scenario, all the items in the population do not have equal chances of being selected (Bryman & Cramer, 1999, p. 97).

The data for the study was collected among the students of the Marylebone campus of the University of Westminster and around the surrounding residential areas (Harrow). They are potential customers to the food outlets. The students were used because their profile (age is between 18 and 30) fits the context of this study. Therefore the students were an excellent choice due to the fact that many of them fancy eating out.

Due to the fact that all the students could not be accessible, a non-probability sampling procedure was employed in this study. The questionnaires were distributed over lunch hours between Mondays to Friday at a strategic location near the institution’s cafeteria. The order of asking the questions was interchanged over and over from one respondent to another in order to reduce chances of bias. In total, 1,000 questionnaires were issued in this study for data collection. Out of all the issued questionnaires, only 640 got a positive response.

Pre-test study

A pilot test was conducted in order to ensure that the questionnaires were reliable and valid. The test was conducted with a sample of fifty respondents. The respondents were not aware that it was a pre-test. After the pre-test, the questionnaire was edited by removing and changing some words. A pre-test was done again to ten additional respondents just to be sure that the questionnaire was now very reliable and very valid.

Limitations of the study

There were some problems encountered; for instance, some restaurants were reluctant to release their budgets relating to advertising. The researcher therefore used the available limited information that could be found. In addition, the restaurants chose to be anonymous. Therefore, this study recognises them as Restaurant A and Restaurant B. The researcher also experienced lack of enough time and funds to collect an in-depth primary data. As a result the study has partly relied on secondary data.

Findings, Data Analysis and Interpretation

Introduction

This section covers the findings of the study, analysis of the data, presentation and interpretation. The findings are as per the responses in the questionnaires.

Attributes of the respondents

Out of the 64 successful respondents, 250 were male composing 39.1%, while 390 were female, composing 60.9%. In terms of age, 14% of the respondents (90) were below the age of 20. Respondents who were aged between 21 years and 25 years were the majority, composing 59.3% (380). 20.3% of the respondents were between the age of 26 years and 30 years, while only 40 respondents (6.25%) were above 30 years of age.

Two restaurants were used as a case study. The restaurants chose to remain anonymous. Therefore, for this research, the researcher denoted them as Restaurant A and Restaurant B respectively. The demographic characteristics of the respondents were compared with the customer profile of both Restaurant A and Restaurant B. For the two restaurants, the average customer’s age was 25 years old. This therefore revealed that the sample profile of this study was a true representation of the customer profiles of Restaurant A and Restaurant B. In addition, 56.3% of the respondents (360) were natives while the remaining 43.7% of the respondents (280) were from other areas. This implies that a majority of the respondents in the sample has been customers for the restaurants for a longer time period. Table 4.1 presents a summary of the findings.

Table 4.1 Demographic characteristics

ITEM FREQUENCY PERCENTAGE
Sex
Male 250 39.10%
Female 390 60.90%
Total 640 100.00%
Age
Below 20 years 90 14.00%
Between 21 and 25 years 380 59.30%
Between 26 and 30 years 130 20.30%
Above 30 years 40 6.25%
Total 640 100.00%
Place of origin
Native 360 56.30%
Others 280 43.70%
Total 640 100.00%

The ratings of the customers’ motivation factors

Before the data interpretation, the results of the factors motivating the customer to revisit the restaurant is first highlighted.

Level of awareness created by the food outlet

Two questions were asked in regards to this. The first question was in regards to the ‘top of mind recall’ and the question was: ‘recall any name of a food outlet that you instantly think of’. 79.70% (510) recalled Restaurant A, while the remaining 20.30% (130) mentioned Restaurant B. The results are summarised in Table 4.2 below.

Table 4.2 Summary of top of mind recall

Food outlet Frequency Percentage
Restaurant A 510 79.70%
Restaurant B 130 20.30%
Total 640 100.00%

The second question posed to the respondent was in line with recognition, and here the question was chosen from the provided list the food outlet that sounds familiar to you’. The results revealed that 81.30% (520) of the respondents recognized Restaurant A, while 18.70% (120) of the respondents recognized Restaurant B. The results are summarised in Table 4.3 below.

Table 4.3 Summary of the recognition of the restaurant

Food outlet Frequency Percentage
Restaurant A 520 81.30%
Restaurant B 120 18.70%
Total 640 100.00%

The summary of the above findings points out to the fact that Restaurant A is a popular brand among the respondents, despite the fact that the respondents are very familiar with both the restaurants.

The quality of the food/service

In this context, a Likert scale was used to measure seven attributes of quality ratings in the two restaurants under study. The results proved that Restaurant A had a higher mean than Restaurant B in the following characters of quality:

  1. There was no noise or disturbance,
  2. The food ordered was served accurately,
  3. Complimentary materials were available (i.e. napkins, towels, etc.),
  4. The staffs are presentable and professional,
  5. Flexible opening and closing hours.

On the other hand, Restaurant B had a higher mean than Restaurant A in the following characters of quality:

  1. The quality of customer service is excellent.
  2. The quality of the food is excellent.

In overall, Restaurant A achieved a higher overall rating than Restaurant B. Restaurant A had a higher standard deviation than Restaurant B in the following characters of quality:

  1. There was no noise or disturbance,
  2. The quality of the food is excellent,
  3. The staffs are presentable and professional.

Therefore, Restaurant A has a greater distribution of data around the average than Restaurant B in regard to the above three characters of quality. On the other hand, Restaurant B had a higher standard deviation than Restaurant A in the following characters of quality:

  1. Complimentary materials were available,
  2. The food ordered was served accurately,
  3. Flexible opening and closing hours,
  4. The quality of customer service is excellent.

Therefore, Restaurant B has a greater distribution of data around the average than Restaurant A in regard to the above four characters of quality. One outstanding element is the fact that despite the fact that Restaurant B achieved a greater mean rating in regards to the quality of the food and a lower standard deviation rating in regards to the same, Restaurant A was still regarded highly in terms of the overall quality ratings. This can further be explained to mean that Restaurant B just concentrated its efforts more on food quality while ignoring the other important attributes. Also, it can be further interpreted to mean that the consumers do not just care primarily about the food quality; there are also other attributes that they consider. The results of the quality ratings are summarised in Table 4.4 below.

Table 4.4 Summary of the quality characters

Quality character Mean Value (Restaurant A) Std Mean Value (Restaurant B) Std
The food ordered was served accurately 6.78 0.45 6.53 0.48
There was no noise or disturbance 6.31 0.71 6.25 0.59
Complimentary materials were available (i.e. napkins, towels, etc.) 6.94 0.24 6.41 0.58
The staffs are presentable and professional 6.41 0.58 6.38 0.49
Flexible opening and closing hours 6.63 0.49 6.41 0.56
The quality of the food is excellent 6.22 0.68 6.64 0.48
The quality of the customer service is excellent 6.22 0.68 6.31 0.73
Overall Mean value 6.50 6.42

The image of the food outlet

In this context, a likert scale was used to measure eight attributes of the image of the two food outlets. Restaurant A attained a higher average in the following characters of brand image than Restaurant B:

  1. The prices are fair,
  2. The name is familiar,
  3. The location of the restaurant is convenient,
  4. The restaurant has a rich history.

On the other hand, Restaurant B attained a higher average in the following characters of brand image than Restaurant A:

  1. Quicker service,
  2. Minimum levels of noise,
  3. Delicious food,
  4. Good ambiance.

Even though Restaurant A had a higher overall mean value than Restaurant B, the difference was very negligible. In regards to the standard deviation, Restaurant A had a higher standard deviation than Restaurant B in the following characters of brand image:

  1. Quicker service,
  2. Minimum levels of noise,
  3. Delicious food,
  4. Good ambiance.

Restaurant B had a higher standard deviation than Restaurant A in the following characters of brand image:

  1. The prices are fair,
  2. The name is familiar,
  3. The location of the restaurant is convenient,
  4. The restaurant has a rich history.

The results of the brand image ratings are summarised in Table 4.5 below.

Table 4.5 Summary of the image attributes

Brand image character Mean Value (Restaurant A) Std Mean Value (Restaurant B) Std
The name is familiar 9.94 0.24 6.47 0.50
The prices are fair 6.16 0.65 5.94 0.81
The location of the restaurant is convenient 6.78 0.42 4.38 0.49
The restaurant has a rich history. 6.78 0.45 5.78 0.68
Minimum levels of noise 4.66 0.76 6.67 0.47
Quicker service 5.69 0.71 6.63 0.49
Delicious food 5.88 0.93 6.41 0.58
Good ambiance 6.41 0.64 6.53 0.50
Overall Mean value 6.20 6.10

The loyalty to the food outlet

In this context, a Likert scale was used to measure six attributes of the customers’ loyalty to the two food outlets. Restaurant B had a higher mean rating than Restaurant A in just one attribute of loyalty which was ‘this restaurant is my top choice’. On the other hand Restaurant A had a higher mean rating than Restaurant B in the following attributes of loyalty to the restaurant:

  1. I plan to revisit this restaurant again,
  2. I come to this restaurant regularly,
  3. I am happy with my visit to this restaurant,
  4. I would refer a friend to this restaurant,
  5. I don’t intend to switch to another restaurant.

In regards to the standard deviation rating, Restaurant A had a higher standard deviation than Restaurant B in the following attributes:

  1. I am happy with my visit to this restaurant,
  2. I plan to revisit this restaurant again,
  3. I come to this restaurant regularly,
  4. I would refer a friend to this restaurant,
  5. I don’t intend to switch to another restaurant.

On the other hand, Restaurant B had a higher standard deviation rating than Restaurant A in just one attribute of loyalty which was: ‘this restaurant is my top choice’. The summary of the results is in Table 4.6 below.

Table 4.6 Summary of the loyalty attributes

Loyalty character Mean Value (Restaurant A) Std Mean Value (Restaurant B) Std
This restaurant is my top choice 5.38 0.60 5.94 0.94
I plan to revisit this restaurant again 5.80 0.80 5.06 0.24
I am happy with my visit to this restaurant 5.84 0.88 4.84 1.18
I come to this restaurant regularly 5.92 0.78 5.47 0.67
I would refer a friend to this restaurant 5.94 0.92 5.91 0.89
I don’t intend to switch to another restaurant 5.69 1.08 4,81 0.92
Overall Mean value 5.76 5.34

Summary of the Findings, Conclusions and Recommendations

Introduction

This chapter presents the summary of the findings and discussion of the results in accordance to the objectives of this study. In addition, this chapter contains recommendations which can be applied to many food outlets, not just limited to Restaurant A and Restaurant B.

Conclusion

In line with the research hypotheses (which were: level of awareness by the customers has an effect of their motivations to visit the same restaurant over and over again, the quality of the service and food have an effect in motivating the young adults to visit the same restaurant over and over again, loyalty to the restaurant by the customers influences their motivation to revisit the same restaurant repeatedly, and the image of the restaurant influences the motivation of the young adults to revisit the same restaurant over and over again); the research has revealed that there are four dimensions that determine the level of re-visits by a customer. These dimensions are: level of awareness created by the food outlet, the quality of service/food, the loyalty of the customers to the food outlet, and the image of the food outlet. It is important for restaurant owners to be familiar with the factors that capture the interests of young adults. These needs can be related to a setup of a restaurant. The physiological needs of the customers will motivate them to use a particular restaurant. The restaurant owner or workers then treat the customers with a good quality service which gives them a sense of belongingness and safety.

In all those dimensions, the loyalty to the food outlet was ranked the lowest. This, though, is sort of a practical issue due to the fact that the consumers will still not be loyal to a restaurant even when they are satisfied because other factors like the price, ambiance, food quality, etc. also will determine their ability to be loyal. Loyalty is an aspect that is created over a definite time period. It is an element that has to be created and nurtured. On the other hand, the dimension of the quality of the food/service was rated the highest. This is explained by the fact that Restaurant A which was rated highly had an equally higher rating on the quality of food and services. The image of the food outlet was rated the second.

The results of the study are quite factual due to the fact that only regular customers were used as respondents; this was aimed at getting truthful and factual responses. Restaurant A was more popular that Restaurant B among the respondents. This has been illustrated by the fact that 51 respondents were instantly thinking of Restaurant A and at the same time 52 respondents were familiar with the restaurant. The level of awareness created by the food outlet is very instrumental in motivating the customer to visit the outlet over and over again. This result is in line with the finding of Macdonald and Sharp (2004, p. 12), who found out that awareness of a restaurant influences the customer’s purchasing ability the most. The results of the two restaurants also reveal the importance of the image of the food outlet in motivating the customers. There were variations between the two restaurants in terms of their mean ratings. This, therefore, suggests that the image is also an important element to retain customers.

Recommendations

The findings of this study point out to the fact that there are four dimensions that determine the level of re-visits by a customer. These dimensions are: level of awareness created by the food outlet, the quality of service/food, the loyalty to the food outlet, and the image of the food outlet. These dimensions have an overall effect in motivating the customers to come back to the same outlet. The following recommendations are given:

  1. Food and service quality also play an important role in motivating the customers. The food outlet proprietors should also value this as an important dimension.
  2. Awareness of the restaurant was ranked the highest. In line with the findings, restaurants should build more in creating awareness (through advertising, etc.) for their names as this has a powerful effect in motivating the customers.
  3. Building a reputable image also determines the level of loyalty of the consumers. Restaurant owners should also concentrate on this fact.

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Appendix 1: Questionnaire

My name is XXXX, a postgraduate student at XXX University, majoring in XXXX. The aim of the survey is to understand young adult consumers’ reasons and motivations to come to food and beverage outlets more than once. This is an academic research study and your participation is voluntary. Information provided will be confidential and individual data will be reported. Thank you

Part A

General background information of the respondents (please tick where applicable)

  1. Gender
    1. Male ◻
    2. Female ◻
  2. Age
    1. <20 years ◻
    2. 21-25 years ◻
    3. 26-30 years ◻
    4. >30 years ◻
  3. Place of origin
    1. Native ◻
    2. Others ◻
  4. How long have you stayed in this area? __________________
  5. Do you like eating out in restaurants? ____________________
  6. If ‘Yes’, how often do u use restaurants? ____________________

Part B

These two questions will check on your level of awareness of the food outlets.

  1. Write down the name of one restaurant in this area that comes first in your mind.
  2. Which of these restaurants are you most familiar with? Choose one and use it to answer the subsequent questions in Parts C, D and E.
    1. Restaurant A ◻
    2. Restaurant B ◻
    3. Restaurant C ◻

Part C

The following 7 statements describe your degree of satisfaction with the quality of the restaurant. Please respond by indicating the degree to which each of the statements applies to you using the following scale:

1
Strongly
Disagree
2
Disagree
3
Slightly
Disagree
4
Neither
Agree of
Disagree
5
Slightly
Agree
6
Agree
7
Strongly
Agree

There is no right or wrong answer. Write the number that best indicates to what extent each of the statement is true or not true in the parenthesis provided at the end of each statement

  1. The food ordered was served accurately [ ]
  2. There was no noise or disturbance [ ]
  3. Complimentary materials were available (i.e. napkins, towels, etc) [ ]
  4. The staffs are presentable and professional [ ]
  5. Flexible opening and closing hours [ ]
  6. The quality of the food is excellent [ ]
  7. The quality of customer service is excellent [ ]

Part D

The following 8 statements describe your degree of satisfaction with the image of the restaurant. Please respond by indicating the degree to which each of the statements applies to you using the following scale:

1
Strongly
Disagree
2
Disagree
3
Slightly
Disagree
4
Neither
Agree of
Disagree
5
Slightly
Agree
6
Agree
7
Strongly
Agree

There is no right or wrong answer. Write the number that best indicates to what extent each of the statement is true or not true in the parenthesis provided at the end of each statement

  1. The name is familiar [ ]
  2. The prices are fair [ ]
  3. The location is convenient [ ]
  4. The restaurant has a rich history [ ]
  5. Minimum levels of noise [ ]
  6. The service is quicker [ ]
  7. The meals are delicious [ ]
  8. The ambiance is good [ ]

Part E

The following 6 statements describe your degree of loyalty to the restaurant. Please respond by indicating the degree to which each of the statements applies to you using the following scale:

1
Strongly
Disagree
2
Disagree
3
Slightly
Disagree
4
Neither
Agree of
Disagree
5
Slightly
Agree
6
Agree
7
Strongly
Agree

There is no right or wrong answer. Write the number that best indicates to what extent each of the statement is true or not true in the parenthesis provided at the end of each statement

  1. This restaurant is my top choice [ ]
  2. I come to this restaurant regularly [ ]
  3. I plan to revisit this restaurant again [ ]
  4. I am happy with my visit to this restaurant [ ]
  5. I would refer a friend to this restaurant [ ]
  6. I don’t intend to switch to another restaurant [ ]
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StudyCorgi. (2020, October 30). Young Adult Consumers' Motivations Understanding. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/young-adult-consumers-motivations-understanding/

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