Role of Signals In Consumers’ Economic Valuation of Restaurant Choices

Michael S. Lin, Amit Sharma, Yuxia Ouyang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


While businesses provide “signals” related to products/services to alleviate information asymmetry and facilitate consumers’ economic valuation of their offerings, it is not always clear which of these signals is more effective. This study investigated the comparative effectiveness of signals on influencing consumers’ choices and their willingness to pay (WTP) for a restaurant meal. Results of an online stated choice experiment (N =328) suggest that local independent ownership, local sourcing, and food quality significantly influenced individuals’ choices and increased WTP for a meal. Higher food quality signal in a local and independently owned restaurant was associated with a 40% WTP price premium than in a national chain restaurant. Findings of this study contribute to our understanding of signaling factors’ relative influence on an individual’s decision. The study also offers management implications for restaurant owners on how to effectively align signals to target potential consumers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1080-1100
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Hospitality and Tourism Research
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • economic valuation
  • food quality
  • local food sourcing
  • local ownership
  • signaling theory
  • willingness to pay

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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