Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Hotel Administration

First Committee Member

Billy Bai

Number of Pages



This study investigated the restaurant word-of-mouth communication structure. Main constructs of the word-of-mouth process on purchasing decisions were identified and their relationships were examined in a restaurant setting. Consequently, a restaurant word-of-mouth model was proposed; The main interests of study are as follows: first, to identify the main factors of restaurant word-of-mouth communication; second, to discover which word-of-mouth factors directly affect the consumer's restaurant product/service purchase decision; and third, to find out the degree to which word-of-mouth factors determine the consumer's word-of-mouth search efforts for a restaurant. The study also looked at the mediating effect of word-of-mouth search efforts on the purchase decision. In the end, the proposed word-of-mouth model was compared to a general-services word-of-mouth model to determine which model better explains the restaurant word-of-mouth communication structure; As the result of an extensive literature review, eight restaurant word-of-mouth constructs and fourteen hypotheses were formulated. They were based on the theoretical background of communication models, on Bansal and Voyer's word-of-mouth model, and on the Theory of Planned Behavior. The data were collected via a web-based survey. The Structural Equation Modeling method was adopted to test hypotheses and eventually to answer research questions. The findings of this study suggest that factors of word-of-mouth sender's expertise, reference group, and word-of-mouth search effort influence the consumer's restaurant service/product purchase decision. For example, if the sender seems experienced, and if the receiver cares about how others see him when he makes an additional word-of-mouth search effort, then the influence of the sender's word-of-mouth on the receiver's purchase decision increases. Similarly, the perceived word-of-mouth receiver's expertise, perceived risk, and self-restaurant image congruence constructs turned out to be influential factors for the consumer's word-of-mouth search effort. It seems that the more educated (experienced) customers actively search word-of-mouth information when they feel more risk about the restaurant choice and when they see more of image congruence between the restaurant and themselves; It was interesting that most of the experiences reported in this study involved positive word-of-mouth. It seems that positive word-of-mouth has a bigger impact on a restaurant consumer's word-of-mouth experience. It is also noteworthy that the word-of-mouth channel most respondents used was face-to-face.


Analytic; Communication; Decisions; Effects; Mouth; Path; Purchasing; Purchasing Decisions; Restaurants; Word; Word-of-mouth

Controlled Subject


File Format


File Size

4413.44 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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