Ethnic Restaurants: Bringing Uniqueness to the Table Through Handwriting

Faye Feier Chen, Stephanie Q. Liu, Anna S. Mattila

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


While the restaurant industry is seeing an unprecedented rise of ethnic restaurants, the existing hospitality literature provides little guidance on how to enhance perceived uniqueness of ethnic menu offerings through visual design. The present research offers an innovative marketing strategy (i.e., using real handwriting in menus) to boost consumer evaluations. From a consumer behavior perspective, we examine the impact of menu style (handwriting vs. print) and the moderating roles of restaurant busyness (busy vs. non-busy) and gender (female vs. male) on consumers’ menu processing. Findings of this research show that handwriting offers a competitive advantage when the restaurant is less busy and when the consumer is a male. Moreover, the moderated mediation results reveal that perceived uniqueness of ethnic menu offerings is the underlying mechanism explaining the impact of menu style, busyness, and gender on consumer attitudes toward the menu. Theoretical and managerial implications for hospitality managers are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)465-478
Number of pages14
JournalCornell Hospitality Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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