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Are restaurant customers ready for tablet-based menus?

Nataly Suarez (College of Hospitality and Tourism Leadership, University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, Sarasota, Florida, USA)
Katerina Berezina (Department of Nutrition and Hospitality Management, University of Mississippi, Oxford, Mississippi, USA)
Wan Yang (The Collins College of Hospitality Management, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, California, USA)
Susan Gordon (School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Article publication date: 10 July 2019

Issue publication date: 4 September 2019




The purpose of this study is to explain the impact of innovation characteristics (relative advantage, compatibility, complexity and perceived risk) and individual differences (inertia, technology anxiety, need for interaction and previous experience) on customer intentions to adopt tablet-based menus in various restaurants settings.


An experimental design was used in this study to explore tablet-based menu acceptance intentions across three restaurant settings: quick-service, midscale and upscale. A total of 415 participants were randomly assigned to one of the three scenarios describing a dining experience. Each scenario placed participants in a restaurant setting where a tablet-based menu was a part of the guests’ dining experience.


The study results indicated that out of the four innovation characteristics, compatibility and relative advantage are strong predictors of adoption intention of tablet-based menus. Among customer individual differences, technology anxiety and need for interaction were not found to have a statistically significant impact on intentions to adopt tablet-based menus. It was also found that customers dining at quick-service and midscale restaurants are more likely to adopt tablet-based menus than customers dining at upscale restaurants.

Practical implications

Managers in quick-service and midscale restaurants may consider investing in tablet-based menus, as customers of these restaurant types demonstrate higher adoption intentions compared to the customers of upscale dining establishments. The results of this study suggest that upscale restaurants should plan carefully before switching to table-based menus.


The findings of this study may assist restaurant managers in recognizing the importance of customer acceptance of new technologies such as tablet-based menus, which will lead to informed decisions about implementing tablet-based menus in their establishments.



The researchers would like to thank the M3 Center for Hospitality Technology and Innovation at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee for support to this research.


Suarez, N., Berezina, K., Yang, W. and Gordon, S. (2019), "Are restaurant customers ready for tablet-based menus?", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 31 No. 7, pp. 2914-2932.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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