Journal Article

A multilevel investigation of China’s regional economic conditions on experience co-creation and dining outcomes


Purpose: This study investigated how presence of other customers in restaurant social settings becomes a resource (referred to as “customer-to-customer interaction” or “C2CI”) to co-create an escape dining experience and stimulate dining outcomes, namely, food attachment and dining frequency. The relationships are further tested under the effects of regional economic conditions. Design/methodology/approach: Data were collected by using a multi-step approach. The first dataset was obtained through a personally administered survey, which included a sample of 356 Chinese tourists who dined at fine Western (i.e., Portuguese) restaurants in Macau. The second dataset concerned economic statistics and was obtained from the statistics departments of mainland China and Taiwan. A multilevel design with hierarchical linear modeling was used to test the proposed model. Multilevel mediating and moderating effects were also examined. Findings: Results suggest that customer escape dining experience significantly mediated the relationship between C2CI and food attachment, while food attachment fully mediated the relationship between customer escape experience and dining frequency. The multilevel effect of regional economic conditions played a significant role in moderating the C2CI–escape experience relationship in that the effect of C2CI was more salient for tourists from less economically developed regions in China. The experience–food attachment relationship was also contingent on the regional economic conditions in that the relationship was stronger for tourists from less economically developed areas. A multilevel mediating effect was also presented in the study. Practical implications: The restaurant management should realize how C2CI, as a resource beyond management control, can become a resource for customers to co-create an escape dining experience. This escape experience contributes to the frequency of consumption of a certain cuisine through attachment with the food. Originality/value: The study contributes to the literature on experience co-creation in restaurant dining by exploring and testing the possibility of the presence of other customers to become a resource of experience co-creation, which is currently overlooked in the restaurant dining literature. The study advances the concept of co-creation by including the presence of other customers and restates the active role of diners in creating experiences. It also considers the existence of structural patterns in individualized experiences.

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Ji, Mingjie
Wong, IpKin Anthony
Eves, Anita
Leong, Aliana Man Wai

Oxford Brookes departments

Faculty of Business\Oxford School of Hospitality and Management


Year of publication: 2018
Date of RADAR deposit: 2017-10-20

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

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