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Cornell Study Shows Most Restaurant Patrons
Willing to Dine Off-peak if the Price is Right

Ithaca, N.Y., April 26, 2004 – More than 75 percent of 367 patrons of a restaurant here said they would be willing to dine during off-peak hours in exchange for discounted prices, according to a research paper produced by Cornell Hotel School Professor Alex Susskind and published in a recent issue of the Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly.

Two of every three respondents even said that they would be able and willing to change their dining time to earn such an incentive.

“Study results suggest that restaurant managers who do not take reservations may want to consider using incentives to increase business during off-peak hours,” Susskind said.  “That strategy could result in both increased revenue and a more satisfied customer base, one that no longer must endure long waits for a table.”

Respondents completed questionnaires while queued up for dinner at this popular, casual-dining restaurant, which does not take reservations.

Other key findings:

  • Respondents under age 30 were more likely than older respondents to accept price-related incentives to change their dining time.
  • Patrons planning to spend an above-average amount (respondents who planned to spend over $40 per person were most interested) and those dining for a special occasion looked favorably on special service or product offerings as enticements to change dining times.
  • Patrons not willing to wait a long time for a table showed interest in discounted menus. Overall, respondents gave 30 minutes as the median length of time they would be willing to wait for a table, with a mean just under 39 minutes.  However, the maximum waiting time for busy periods at this restaurant stretches to over an hour.
The Cornell HRA Quarterly is the premier journal of applied research serving hospitality practitioners and scholars. The award-winning CQ is published by The Center for Hospitality Research at the Cornell Hotel School.

About The Center for Hospitality Research
A unit of the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, The Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) sponsors groundbreaking research designed to improve practices in the hospitality industry. Under the lead of CHR's 34 corporate supporters, experienced scholars work closely with business executives to discover new insights into strategic, managerial and operational issues.


Bill Summers

Also See: Gary M. Thompson Appointed Executive Director of The Center for Hospitality Research at Cornell University’s School of Hote Administration / July 2003
Human Resources Issues Top List of 'What Keeps Industry Managers Up at Night' for Hospitality Research / Cornell’s Center / July 2001

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