Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Hospitality and Tourism Management

First Advisor

Douglas C. Nelson

Committee Chair

Douglas C. Nelson

Committee Member 1

Barbara A. Almanza

Committee Member 2

Chun-Hung Tang


Yue, Mengwei. M.S., Purdue University, December, 2013. The Impact of Availability of Vegetarian Menu Items on Consumers' Behavioral Intention. Major Professor: Douglas C. Nelson.

The purpose of this study is to find out how the availability of vegetarian menu items affects customers' behavioral intention using the theory of planned behavior and the impact vegetarian-friendly menus have on vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian customers when they make their restaurant selections. This paper also discussed the implications for a vegetarian lifestyle on the food service industry and menu development in restaurants. Seven hypotheses related to the relationship among attitudes, subjective norms, perceived behavioral control, past behavior and dining intention were tested. Participants were asked to fill out a survey based on three menus with no vegetarian items, 20% vegetarian items and 80% vegetarian items. Two hundreds and twenty-eight surveys were completed and collected in the atrium of Marriott Hall on the West Lafayette campus of Purdue University using 4 iPads between June 18th and Jun 30th in 2013. The gathered data were tested by several statistical analyses such as descriptive, t-test, simple linear regression, multiple linear regression, one-way ANOVA analysis and Tukey-Kramer comparison. Perceived behavioral control was not a significant predictor for consumers' dining

intention from this study. The impact of the number of vegetarian items on restaurants' menus was supported in this research by a comparison of the different percentages of vegetarian menu items. The results indicate that consumers perceived that the menu with a majority of vegetarian items was significantly healthier compared with the menu of no or few vegetarian items. Even though no significant differences in consumers' dining intention were discovered among menus, descriptive data of consumers' dining intention showed the appropriate percentage of vegetarian items on restaurants' menus is between 20% and 80%. In addition, among all demographic factors, gender and age appeared to be significantly related to consumers' intention of dining in restaurants with more vegetarian menu items. Female consumers who are 60 and older are more interested in menus with more vegetarian items, consumers who often go out to eat and more often to spend more than $12 per meal are more willing to dine in the restaurant with a lot of vegetarian items on its menu. Based on these results, restaurants may wish to adjust their menu design strategies to provide a few more vegetarian options. These actions should prove mutually beneficial to restaurants and consumers by providing customers the opportunity to make wiser choices while building a healthier, more reliable and responsible image for the restaurants.