Self-Monitoring, Dining Companions and the Usage of Alternative Currencies


currencies, restaurants, loyalty schemes, individual behavior, consumer psychology


Purpose – The purpose of this research is to understand the effects of self-monitoring, dining companions and industry segments on the usage of alternate currencies while dining out.

Design/methodology/approach – An experimental design using frequent consumers of restaurant services is being used with a scenario approach with a sample size of 471.

Findings – Results indicate that self-monitoring has significant impact on consumers’ choice for alternate currencies. In addition, the type of dining companion (boss vs friend vs alone) has significant affect on usage of alternate currencies. Industry segments were not found be a significant factor in making usage of alternate currencies. For high self-monitoring individuals, the preferences for currency usages are more likely influenced by the image delivered by the currency than for low self-monitors. Consumers who dine with a friend or alone are more likely to prefer to pay with frequent usage points-only (as opposed to dollars-only) than consumers who dine with the boss. This result indicates that the dining companion is an important determinant in preferring the alternative currency, frequent usage points. Since frequent usage points are a signal of price discount, consumers do not want to make an impression of “being cheap” on the higher-status dining companion (e.g. boss) by using frequent usage points for their dining experiences. On the other hand, if consumers dine with a friend or alone, they are more likely to reap the financial rewards of paying with frequent usage points without regard to the impression it creates.

Research limitations/implications – These findings have significant implications for the restaurants marketers and managers. Implementation of frequent diners program may be affected significantly by self-monitoring characteristics and nature of dining companions.

Originality/value – This study extends the understanding of individual differences associated with currency preference by examining the effects of self-monitoring and impression management on consumer preferences for currency usage. Identifying the characteristics of consumers using the different currency options is critical for the foodservice industry.

Publication Date


Original Citation

Hu, H.H., H.G. Parsa and J. Self (2011). Self-Monitoring, Dining Companions and the Usage of Alternative Currencies. Journal of Product and Brand Management, 20 (3) 228-237.

Number of Pages


Document Type




Source Title

Journal of Product and Brand Management






Rosen College of Hospitality Management


Rosen College of Hospitality Management

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