Improving tourists experiences in restaurants in Brittany
The research paper focuses on the social meanings of tourist’s restaurant experiences, highlighting the value of the restaurant experience for social sharing, such as celebrating a social occasion and co-creating shared memories. It further highlights the value of restaurant experience in family togetherness and transmission, as well as in cultural exchange with locals, both professionals and other customers.
Articles on my research on tourists’ experiences in restaurants were published in Hôtellerie-Restauration in 2018, in Industrie Hotellière in November 2019, and in Ouest France newspaper on 23rd September 2019. Ouest France is the most-read local newspaper in France. The two professional magazines are widely read by hotel and restaurant managers in France. The articles provided guidelines for professionals in ensuring a more meaningful experience in restaurants for tourists, particularly international tourists.
This impact was possible through research generated through Sheila Matson’s Ph.D and a first publication of the results in Tourism Management.
The research paper explores the co-production of meaning among participants in tourists’ restaurant experiences. It mobilises 34 in-depth interviews and 57 semi-structured interviews. The research paper focuses on the social meanings of tourist’s restaurant experiences, highlighting the value of the restaurant experience for social sharing, such as celebrating a social occasion (birthday, wedding anniversary) and co-creating shared memories. It further highlights the value of restaurant experience in family togetherness and transmission, as well as in cultural exchange with locals, both professionals and other customers. These findings, as well as other results of the PhD. Research were the basis for managerial recommendations argued in the professional news articles, such as encouraging customers to take photographs, being attentive to the needs of children, the awareness of service staff of their role in meaning creation and the importance of explaining links between the locality and the food offer at the restaurant.
References to the research
Matson-Barkat, S & Robert-Demontrond, P 2018, ‘Who’s on the tourists’ menu? Exploring the social significance of restaurant experiences for tourists’, Tourism Management, vol. 69, pp. 566–578
And subsequently, following the news articles:
Matson-Barkat, S., Robert-Demontrond, P. and Otnes, C. (2022) ‘From plate to place: the role of restaurant servicescapes in the development of tourists’ place meanings in Brittany, France’, Tourism Recreation Research, 47(3), pp. 316–331.
Details of the impact
Details of the research and managerial findings were published in three news articles in: Hôtellerie-Restauration in 2018 and in Industrie Hotelière in November 2019.
These professional magazines are widely read by hotel and restaurant managers in France who can subscribe to these magazine. Hotellerie-Restaurantion is published in paper version every two weeks and available on-line every Wednesday. It also sends regular news by email to subscribers. It also has a large following on social media, currently (Nov 2023) 49, 000 followers on facebook and over 39,000 followers on Instagram. The article published on 5th December 2018 in Hotellerie-Restauration is entitled ‘Accueil au restaurant : dans la peau des touristes” , which can be roughly translated as: Welcome to the restaurant: a tourist’s perspective. The article outlines gaps in the desired restaurant experience compared to what tourist’s actually experience and makes recommendations based on the research. A second article, also based on these research findings was published in ‘Industrie Hoteliere’ in November 2019. This is a monthly magazine for restaurant professionals. It currently (November 2023) has 39, 000 followers on facebook and 119, 000 followers on Instagram.
The article published in Ouest France on 23rd September 2019 is entitled “Dis moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai qui tu es’ which translates as ‘”Tell me what you eat, I’ll tell you who you are’”. Ouest France counts 23 million readers, between the newspaper and website.
Sources to corroborate the impact
Comment bien accueillir les clientèles internationales ? – Industrie Hôtelière (industrie-hoteliere.com)
Dis-moi ce que tu manges et je te dirai qui tu es ! (ouest-france.fr)