Comparing benefit- and attribute-based menu assortments: an exploratory study

Eunjin Kwon, Anna Mattila

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine the joint effects of menu pages (single page vs multiple pages) and assortment organization (benefit- vs attribute-based) on consumers’ perceptions of variety with large assortments. Design/methodology/approach: A 2 (assortment structure: single page vs multiple pages)×2 (assortment organization: benefit- vs attribute-based) experimental between-subjects design was used to test the hypotheses. Findings: The results suggest that with a one-page tea menu, participants perceived greater variety with the attribute-based (e.g. black teas, herbal teas, green teas, and oolong teas) menu than with the (e.g. energy-boosting, stress-relief, weight loss, and immune system-improvement) benefit-based menu. Conversely, when the menu was displayed on four pages, participants showed similar perceptions of variety across the two menu types. Research limitations/implications: In some contexts, 20 menu items may not be considered a large assortment. Also, the authors did not test consumers’ preexisting preferences. Practical implications: When food service operators offer an extensive benefit-based menu, it is advisable to place the options over multiple pages. If the menu needs to be displayed on a single spatial unit (e.g. a black board, or applications on a tablet or smartphone), practitioners should organize the menu based on attributes rather than benefits. Originality/value: Although the demand for healthy dining options has led many foodservice operators to apply benefit-based organization to items on their menus, for example, by using terms such as “energy-boosting,” “stress-relief,” “weight-loss,” and “immune system-improvement,” little is known about the effectiveness of such a strategy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-101
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Service Theory and Practice
Volume27
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Strategy and Management

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