The interplay between social crowding and power on solo diners’ attitudes toward menus with popularity and scarcity cues

Yoo Hee Hwang, Na Su, Anna Mattila

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to investigate the interactive effect of social crowding and solo consumers’ sense of power on attitudes toward the restaurant menu with popularity and scarcity cues. Design/methodology/approach: In total, 181 US consumers were recruited. Using a quasi-experimental design, social crowding and promotional cues on a restaurant menu were manipulated and solo consumers’ sense of power was measured. Findings: Low-power individuals exhibited more favorable attitudes toward the menu with a popularity cue at a crowded restaurant. High-power individuals’ attitudes toward the menu were equally favorable across the two promotional cues and crowding levels. Practical implications: Restaurant managers might want to leverage popularity cues on the menu during peak hours to appeal to solo diners. After diners indicate their dining type (alone vs with others) in kiosks and tablets, restaurants can tailor promotional cues accordingly. Restaurants can also embed more popularity cues in dinner (vs lunch) menus because dinner is more hedonic and social in nature. Originality/value: This study contributes to the crowding literature by examining promotional cues on the menu and sense of power as moderators of consumer responses to crowding. This study further adds to the solo consumption literature by extending the notion of power and social crowding to ethnic dining contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1227-1246
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 9 Apr 2020


  • Crowding
  • Popularity
  • Power
  • Restaurant menu
  • Scarcity
  • Solo dining

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

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