Which restaurant should I choose?: Herd behavior in restaurant industry

Jooyeon Ha
Kwangsoo Park
Jeongyeol Park, University of Central Florida


People, in general, follow others’ choices or opinions. This phenomenon has been defined as herd behavior. Accordingly, this study utilized the concept of herd behavior, and examined whether restaurant customers follow others’ choices or opinions, especially when they choose a restaurant in an unfamiliar place. Two different stimuli were considered “others’ choice”—online review ratings and consumers’ last minute observations on the crowdedness of the restaurant. By adopting experimental design (3 Crowdedness × 2 Review Rating), this study found that customers’ intention to choose a restaurant was significantly influenced by crowdedness when customers are choosing a dine-in restaurant. Comparably, a high review rating stimulated customers’ intention to choose in the case of both dine-in and take-out restaurants. Interaction effects were significant, suggesting that individuals make decisions based on both the crowdedness and review ratings of restaurants. Detailed results and discussion are followed by theoretical and managerial implications.