To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Experience economy in ethnic cuisine: a case of Chengdu cuisine

Ivan K.W. Lai (Faculty of International Tourism and Management, City University of Macau, Taipa, Macau)
Dong Lu (School of Business, Sichuan Normal University, Chengdu, China)
Yide Liu (School of Business, Macau University of Science and Technology, Taipa, Macau)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 9 July 2019

Issue publication date: 22 May 2020



The concept of experience economy states that customers seek experiences whether from products and services. Tourism is at the forefront of the experience economy because tourists are looking for staged experience encompassing the four realms (entertainment, educational, esthetic and escapism). The purpose of this paper is to empirically explore the effects of the experience economy on tourists’ word-of-mouth (WOM) in Chengdu cuisine through satisfaction and memory.


In total, 397 valid data were collected from the tourists who have experienced the ethnic cuisine in Chengdu. A partial least-square structural equation modeling technique was used to examine the research model.


The empirical results indicated that esthetic is the antecedent of the other three realms of experience economy; esthetic, educational and entertainment experiences influence satisfaction; four realms of experience economy influence memory; and satisfaction and memory ultimately influence WOM.

Practical implications

The findings of this study provide practical implications for operators of ethnic restaurants in designing their restaurants and menus, travel agencies in planning the tour itinerary and governments in using ethnic cuisine for destination marketing.


This study is a pioneer in studying the experience economy in the ethnic cuisine. It has identified the relationships between four dimensions of experience economy of ethnic cuisine, tourist satisfaction, memory and WOM toward ethnic cuisine in a tourist destination. It has also integrated the senses of Chinese cuisine (“sight,” “smell” and “taste”) into the measures of esthetic experience for studying experience economy in ethnic cuisine.



This work was supported in part by the Humanity and Social Science Found Program of Ministry of Education of China under Grant 18YJA630070 and the Sichuan Science and Technology Support Project under Grant 2018ZR0124.


Lai, I.K.W., Lu, D. and Liu, Y. (2020), "Experience economy in ethnic cuisine: a case of Chengdu cuisine", British Food Journal, Vol. 122 No. 6, pp. 1801-1817.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited