Ethnic dining: Need to belong, need to be unique, and menu offering

Stephanie Qing Liu, Anna S. Mattila

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Many ethnic restaurants "Americanize" their menus to cater to mainstream American customers' palate; on the other hand, they offer a "secret" (more authentic) menu to their original, ethnic customers. Inspired by consumer online reviews reflecting "secret menus" in ethnic restaurants, this research examines the joint impact of offering an authentic menu and the presence of other customers on customer satisfaction. Results from this study show that mainstream American customers' satisfaction decreases when an authentic menu is not offered. The moderated mediation analysis further demonstrates that authentic menu offering influences satisfaction through the activation of two distinct psychological motivations, depending on the ethnic composition of other customers. Specifically, being surrounded by Asian (Caucasian) customers activates the need to belong (need to be unique) when an authentic menu is not offered. Such heightened psychological needs consequently lead to declines in customer satisfaction. Theoretical and managerial implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Hospitality Management
StatePublished - 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Strategy and Management


Dive into the research topics of 'Ethnic dining: Need to belong, need to be unique, and menu offering'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this