July 22/Ithaca, N.Y./Cornell Press Release -– Restaurateurs need to inform customers of their sustainable restaurant practices both to strengthen menu prices and encourage patronage. Based on a study of 393 residents of Taiwan, research findings published in the August 2010 issue ofCornell Hospitality Quarterly(CQ) indicate that a substantial percentage of respondents would be willing to pay more for menu items that are produced using sustainable restaurant practices. The article "The Dynamics of Green Restaurant Patronage" by Hsin-Hui "Sunny" Hu, H.G. Parsa and John Self is available for free download as the featured article in the August CQissue, at http://www.hotelschool.cornell.edu/research/chr/pubs/quarterly/featured/.

The researchers found a strong connection between the respondents' own ecological behavior and their intention to patronize a "green" restaurant. Well over 90% of the respondents claimed that they were willing to pay more for a "green" restaurant. One-third said they would pay up to 12% more, and just 8% said they would not pay anything extra.

"I should point out that these findings from Taiwan are similar to those of another study we did in the U.S.," said Parsa, who is a professor at the Rosen College of Hospitality Management, University of Central Florida. Hsin-Hui "Sunny" Hu is on the faculty of the Ming Chuan University, Taiwan; and John Self is an associate professor at the Collins College of Hospitality Management, California Polytechnic University, Pomona.

However, the researchers point out that sustainable menus do not automatically equate with higher menu prices. The study concluded that respondents were willing to pay more to dine at a sustainable restaurant when they had specific knowledge of the restaurant's practices. Older respondents (those over age 40) were significantly more likely to patronize sustainable restaurants than were younger respondents, and participants in higher income groups were more likely to patronize a "green" restaurant than those of limited means.

The authors caution that this study involves opinions only and did not record customers' actions. That said, these findings should encourage restaurateurs to publicize their sustainability efforts, not only to increase prices but also to attract upscale guests.

Published by the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research and managed by Sage Publications, the August 2010 Cornell Hospitality Quarterly also features two articles that call into question the common notion that satisfied employees mean satisfied guests. An analysis by Rick Garlick, senior director of consulting and strategic implementation, Maritz Research Hospitality Group, demonstrates that employees need to have a strong feeling of accomplishment to deliver good service. In the same vein, a study by researchers Sean Way, Michael Sturman, and Carola Raab found that a strong service environment based on good management is the key to satisfied guests.

From the August 2, 2010, Prepared Foods E-dition