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Dining alone: Improving the experience of solo restaurant goers.

Brown, L., Buhalis, D. and Beer, S., 2020. Dining alone: Improving the experience of solo restaurant goers. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 32 (3), 1347-1365.

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DOI: 10.1108/IJCHM-06-2019-0584

Abstract

Purpose Solo travel for leisure and business is increasing. It is therefore timely to conduct research into the experiences of solo tourists. This paper explores one aspect of the solo tourist experience that can be challenging, that of dining alone. This topic has received little attention in the tourism or hospitality literature. Design/methodology/approach A qualitative approach was adopted, and narrative inquiry was selected as the optimum route to obtaining detailed and rich accounts of the experiences of solo diners. 27 in-depth interviews were conducted with solo tourists with varying sociodemographic characteristics. Findings This study shows that though travelling alone is prized by participants, dining alone, especially in the evening, is often discomfiting. Discomfort is caused by the perceived negative judgement of others and is mitigated by the use of various props such as books and mobile phones. Research limitations/implications A research agenda is put forward on aspects of the solo tourist/diner experience. Practical implications The paper concludes by asking what can be done to ameliorate the solo dining experience, and provides some recommendations to hospitality operators in order to support this market and improve competitiveness and profitability. The paper shows that inclusive environments can attract multiple market segments and agile restaurants can develop both solo and plural dining experiences. Originality/value This paper addresses a topic that has received limited scholarly attention as well as industry engagement despite the growth in solo travel.

Item Type:Article
ISSN:0959-6119
Uncontrolled Keywords:Stigma; Coping mechanisms; Solo dining; Industry response
Group:Bournemouth University Business School
ID Code:33770
Deposited By: Unnamed user with email symplectic@symplectic
Deposited On:16 Mar 2020 12:05
Last Modified:27 Apr 2020 14:50

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