Applying Diffusion of Innovation Theory through Adoption Process of Korean Food in the Global Marketplace: Linking Managerial Issues to Consumers’ Perspectives
Kyung-Soo Han, Visiting Scholar (2007-2008), St. John’s University, and Director, Foodservice Industry Management, Kyunggi University, Seoul, Korea
Heidi H. Sung, Division of Hospitality, Tourism, and Sports Management, College of Professional Studies
Abstract: The globalization of restaurant operations and management is a very complicated exercise when a different ethnic cuisine is introduced to and adopted in new market environments. This study attempts to investigate varying patterns of the adoption process of Korean food, “spicy and adventurous,” among patrons of Korean Restaurants. Applying diffusion of innovation theory (Rogers, 1983; 1995) to the consumer behavior construct, this study hypothesizes that consumers at a particular stage of adoption process are likely to be different from others who belong to a different stage.
A set of individual in-depth interviews have been conducted with select Korean restaurant operators to identify managerial issues that need to be addressed and to suggest key factors that can be used for surveying their own patrons. Based upon such, the survey instrument is designed to propose a behavioral analysis to classify how patrons of Korean restaurants might be associated with different factors such as demographic (D), socioeconomics (SE), and dining behavior (B) across different adopter categories (C), where C = ƒ(D, SE, B, and the error term e). Using self-administrated survey questionnaires, primary data will be collected among non-Korean patrons of six participating Korean restaurants in New York City between April and June, 2008.
From a consumer behavior perspective, this study aims to identify distinctive group characteristics across different adopter categories and to reveal any meaningful association with various behavioral or psychographic factors, linking the adopter subgroups in the diffusion of innovation theories to market segmentation constructs. Since almost no research relevant to the current topic has been reported to date, the results of this study will help restaurant operators and marketers gain a comprehensive understanding of their prospective patrons across different adaptation stages, providing valuable information that can be used almost immediately for product development and for formulating effective marketing strategies.