"Size Counts": the Effect of Queue Length on Choice Between Similar Restaurants

Ornit Raz, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Eyal Ert, Israel Institute of Technology, Israel
Behavioral research of queuing has focused on customers in the queue. The current paper examines whether queues can also affect customers choice between services associated with different queues. Specifically, it examines choice between similar restaurants located near each other. The results show high correlation between the queue length outside each restaurant and the number of newcomers. However, the effect is much stronger in tourist areas where customers are less familiar with the restaurants. Moreover, the relative popularity of restaurants is highly unstable in such areas. The findings suggest that in unfamiliar environments, queues may signal quality. Practical and Theoretical implications are discussed.
[ to cite ]:
Ornit Raz and Eyal Ert (2008) ,""Size Counts": the Effect of Queue Length on Choice Between Similar Restaurants", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 35, eds. Angela Y. Lee and Dilip Soman, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 803-804.