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Title: The interplay between social crowding and power on solo diners’ attitudes toward menus with popularity and scarcity cues
Authors: Hwang, Y 
Su, N
Mattila, A
Issue Date: Apr-2021
Source: International journal of contemporary hospitality management, 23 Apr. 2020, v. 32, no. 3, p. 1227-1246
Abstract: 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.
Keywords: Crowding
Restaurant menu
Solo dining
Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Journal: International journal of contemporary hospitality management 
ISSN: 0959-6119
EISSN: 1757-1049
DOI: 10.1108/IJCHM-05-2019-0422
Rights: © Emerald Publishing Limited This AAM is provided for your own personal use only. It may not be used for resale, reprinting, systematic distribution, emailing, or for any other commercial purpose without the permission of the publisher
The following publication Hwang, Y., Su, N. and Mattila, A. (2020), "The interplay between social crowding and power on solo diners’ attitudes toward menus with popularity and scarcity cues", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 32 No. 3, pp. 1227-1246 is published by Emerald and is available at
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