Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Hospitality Management

First Committee Member

Carola Raab

Second Committee Member

Chih-Chien Chen

Third Committee Member

Yen-Soon Kim

Fourth Committee Member

Anjala Krishen

Number of Pages



In the modern foodservice industry, restaurant potential customers encounter a vast quantity of information that influences their dining choices. Using theoretical foundations of traditional asymmetrical-dominating decoy and phantom decoy effects, this dissertation empirically tested a variety of decoy and phantom decoy items applied to a menu and investigated whether these effects increase the attractiveness of the target item and further increase customers’ likelihood of choosing the target item, as well as their post-choice assessments. Two separate experimental designs that manipulated different decoy and phantom decoy conditions and customers’ familiarity with the food items were conducted.

The results of study 1 suggest that small-portion decoy items create significant impacts to sway people’s choice of small-portion menu items when they are familiar with such items. However, customers with low-familiarity are more likely to choose large-portion menu items. The results of study 2 demonstrate how the incorporation of distant phantom decoy items can influence customers’ decisions. Specifically, this relationship is moderated by customers’ familiarity levels with such food items. The results of this dissertation lend support to the effectiveness of strategically including decoy and phantom decoy items on the menu. Specific practical applications with regards to the decoy effects are provided to restaurant operators.


Consumer choice; Decoy effect; Familiarity; Menu pricing; Phantom decoy effect



File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




IN COPYRIGHT. For more information about this rights statement, please visit

Included in

Marketing Commons