Behaviour of culinary tourists: A segmentation study of diners at top-level restaurants

Natalia Daries, Eduard Cristobal-Fransi, Berta Ferrer-Rosell, Estela Marine-Roig


Aim: The main aim of this research is to characterize the tourists visiting top-level restaurants to ascertain the profile of this type of customer, their behaviour and their influence on the destinations where they are located.

Design/methodology: During the months of July to December 2016, a survey was conducted on a sample of 187 tourists who had visited Michelin-starred restaurants in order to highlight the most valued aspects during the process of choosing, consulting and booking the top-level restaurant service.

Contributions and results: The results reveal the existence of two segments whose behaviour is different, where the individuals of the first consider the culinary experience as the main reason for their tourist visit to the destination. In contrast, the second segment considers that their visit to the destination is the main reason for their tourism. Moreover, the diners from both segments display different behaviour in terms of their post-purchase, recommendation and intention to return behaviour and the perception of the status with which their visit to the restaurant provides them.

Limitations: The main limitation of this study is the fact that only the responses of tourists who have visited top-level restaurants in Spain have been studied.

Practical implications: The results of this study may help both the managers of restaurants of a certain level and the public authorities responsible for tourism to make decisions, since these types of restaurants are becoming tourist resources of the first order. 

Social implications: Knowledge of the diner could facilitate the optimal management of the restaurant and help orient it as a tourist resource. In certain areas such a resource can become a pole of tourist attraction and contribute towards territorial balance thanks to the positive externalities it generates in the territory where such establishments are located.

Added value: The present research focuses on the study of the behaviour of the culinary tourist in an increasingly popular type of tourism with high added value. Culinary tourism is also enormously important in the economy of the destination and for territorial development.  Therefore, this work may be of interest both for public authorities and the managers of this type of restaurant, and to create synergies between the two. This work comes to fill a gap in the literature of segmentation in the restoration, since there are few research that focus on segmentation according to consumer's motivations and perceptions, and none focus on its relationship to tourism at the destination.


gastronomy, Michelin Guide, cluster analysis, gastronomic experience, motivation behind trip

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Intangible Capital, 2004-2022

Online ISSN: 1697-9818; Print ISSN: 2014-3214; DL: B-33375-2004

Publisher: OmniaScience