Different Service, Same Experience: Documenting the Subtlety of Modern Racial Discrimination in U.S. Restaurants

Zachary W. Brewster, Jonathan R. Brauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Restaurant servers’ negative sentiments toward Black customers have been well documented. Further, existing research has shown that a large proportion of waiters/waitresses confess that they sometimes discriminate against Black Americans by giving them less than their optimal service effort. However, research assessing the generalized consequences of servers’ discriminatory practices on consumers’ experiences is lacking. In response, this study analyzes survey data from a demographically diverse sample of Black and White consumers (N = 415) to test for interracial differences in nine distinct self-reported outcomes assessing typical and recent dining experiences in full-service restaurants. Given widespread anti-Black sentiments and discriminatory actions among servers, we posit that Black Americans will on average report diminished dining experiences relative to their White counterparts. In contrast to our predictions, results indicate that Black and White respondents report similar dining experiences when visiting full-service restaurants and, where differences exist, Black respondents appear to report slightly more positive and less negative experiences compared with their White counterparts. We identify a number of interconnected factors that may account for this observed pattern and conclude by encouraging additional scholarship on the nature and downstream effects of race-based restaurant service.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)190-202
Number of pages13
JournalCornell Hospitality Quarterly
Volume58
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2017

Fingerprint

Restaurants
Service experience
Racial discrimination
services
prediction
Sentiment
Nature
Proportion
Factors
Consumer experience
Survey data
Prediction
test
effect

Keywords

  • consumer racial profiling
  • dining while Black
  • racial discrimination
  • restaurants
  • service quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

Cite this

Different Service, Same Experience : Documenting the Subtlety of Modern Racial Discrimination in U.S. Restaurants. / Brewster, Zachary W.; Brauer, Jonathan R.

In: Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, Vol. 58, No. 2, 01.05.2017, p. 190-202.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{e56d05f8108a41679fade6af3a838280,
title = "Different Service, Same Experience: Documenting the Subtlety of Modern Racial Discrimination in U.S. Restaurants",
abstract = "Restaurant servers’ negative sentiments toward Black customers have been well documented. Further, existing research has shown that a large proportion of waiters/waitresses confess that they sometimes discriminate against Black Americans by giving them less than their optimal service effort. However, research assessing the generalized consequences of servers’ discriminatory practices on consumers’ experiences is lacking. In response, this study analyzes survey data from a demographically diverse sample of Black and White consumers (N = 415) to test for interracial differences in nine distinct self-reported outcomes assessing typical and recent dining experiences in full-service restaurants. Given widespread anti-Black sentiments and discriminatory actions among servers, we posit that Black Americans will on average report diminished dining experiences relative to their White counterparts. In contrast to our predictions, results indicate that Black and White respondents report similar dining experiences when visiting full-service restaurants and, where differences exist, Black respondents appear to report slightly more positive and less negative experiences compared with their White counterparts. We identify a number of interconnected factors that may account for this observed pattern and conclude by encouraging additional scholarship on the nature and downstream effects of race-based restaurant service.",
keywords = "consumer racial profiling, dining while Black, racial discrimination, restaurants, service quality",
author = "Brewster, {Zachary W.} and Brauer, {Jonathan R.}",
year = "2017",
month = "5",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1177/1938965516650032",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "58",
pages = "190--202",
journal = "Cornell Hospitality Quarterly",
issn = "1938-9655",
publisher = "SAGE Publications Inc.",
number = "2",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Different Service, Same Experience

T2 - Documenting the Subtlety of Modern Racial Discrimination in U.S. Restaurants

AU - Brewster, Zachary W.

AU - Brauer, Jonathan R.

PY - 2017/5/1

Y1 - 2017/5/1

N2 - Restaurant servers’ negative sentiments toward Black customers have been well documented. Further, existing research has shown that a large proportion of waiters/waitresses confess that they sometimes discriminate against Black Americans by giving them less than their optimal service effort. However, research assessing the generalized consequences of servers’ discriminatory practices on consumers’ experiences is lacking. In response, this study analyzes survey data from a demographically diverse sample of Black and White consumers (N = 415) to test for interracial differences in nine distinct self-reported outcomes assessing typical and recent dining experiences in full-service restaurants. Given widespread anti-Black sentiments and discriminatory actions among servers, we posit that Black Americans will on average report diminished dining experiences relative to their White counterparts. In contrast to our predictions, results indicate that Black and White respondents report similar dining experiences when visiting full-service restaurants and, where differences exist, Black respondents appear to report slightly more positive and less negative experiences compared with their White counterparts. We identify a number of interconnected factors that may account for this observed pattern and conclude by encouraging additional scholarship on the nature and downstream effects of race-based restaurant service.

AB - Restaurant servers’ negative sentiments toward Black customers have been well documented. Further, existing research has shown that a large proportion of waiters/waitresses confess that they sometimes discriminate against Black Americans by giving them less than their optimal service effort. However, research assessing the generalized consequences of servers’ discriminatory practices on consumers’ experiences is lacking. In response, this study analyzes survey data from a demographically diverse sample of Black and White consumers (N = 415) to test for interracial differences in nine distinct self-reported outcomes assessing typical and recent dining experiences in full-service restaurants. Given widespread anti-Black sentiments and discriminatory actions among servers, we posit that Black Americans will on average report diminished dining experiences relative to their White counterparts. In contrast to our predictions, results indicate that Black and White respondents report similar dining experiences when visiting full-service restaurants and, where differences exist, Black respondents appear to report slightly more positive and less negative experiences compared with their White counterparts. We identify a number of interconnected factors that may account for this observed pattern and conclude by encouraging additional scholarship on the nature and downstream effects of race-based restaurant service.

KW - consumer racial profiling

KW - dining while Black

KW - racial discrimination

KW - restaurants

KW - service quality

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85018724219&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85018724219&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1177/1938965516650032

DO - 10.1177/1938965516650032

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:85018724219

VL - 58

SP - 190

EP - 202

JO - Cornell Hospitality Quarterly

JF - Cornell Hospitality Quarterly

SN - 1938-9655

IS - 2

ER -