Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management


College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management

First Advisor

Xiang (Robert) Li

Second Advisor

Robin B. DiPietro


The purpose of the current study is to understand the nature of memorable dining experiences (MDE), to conceptualize MDE, to develop a formative index to measure MDE, and to test a conceptual model to examine the antecedents and outcomes of MDE. Developed primarily from strategic experiential modules and from the cognitive appraisal theory, this study proposed that MDE consists of five dimensions: affect, sensory, social, intellectual, and behavioral.

This study applied a mixed method approach using a sequential exploratory design. Specifically, the in-depth interviews and a detailed literature review were used to generate the research instrument, and then the online survey was conducted to develop the formative index and test the hypotheses. With a series of statistical analysis using SEM-PLS, the results supported the five-dimension structure of the MDE formative index, with 37 indicators in total. The research hypotheses posit that three factors were significant antecedents of MDE: goal congruence, agency, and novelty. Additionally, MDE were found as strong predictors of consumers’ behavioral intentions in the restaurant context.

This study contributed to the hospitality and tourism literature by developing a formative index to empirically measure the MDE concept. Moreover, three antecedents of MDE identified from the conceptual model supported the notion that MDE by nature is greatly affective. Last, the strong predictive power of MDE recognizes its importance in consumers’ decision-making processes. This is important because when consumers are considering dining options, they are more likely to recall their MDE and make decisions accordingly.


© 2016, Yang Cao