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Discuss the factors which shape consumer taste in leisure industries using examples from the development of trends in hospitality

With the changing times, customer needs and preferences are no longer the same. This has also been witnessed in the hospitality industry. The latest trends suggest that today's consumer is looking for satisfying more than just the basic needs while making choices. This phenomenon is very well represented by the sudden rise in the new hotel companies that promise to bring some real innovation to the industry by combining style with budget, mixing the chic with affordable rates. The trends in food and beverages segment suggest that to satisfy the basic need of hunger for food and drink, is no longer the main motivation of consumers. The growing segment of the restaurant industry has become more competitive, and restaurants are reinventing their menus to fit to the changing customer preferences. According to Maslow's hierarchy of needs, once individuals satisfy their lower level needs they move to the next level of the pyramid. Today, increasing number of consumers is seeking to satisfy internal needs for self actualization. Need to satisfy social needs have led to the increase in the number of consumers eating out. This is further supplemented with a high order need to experience different type of meals. This is growing trend or fashion is ultimately influencing the consumer taste in the selection of restaurants. There are a number of factors which influence and shape consumer's tastes. Researchers believe that it is not just innate preferences which shape consumer's taste. A number of internal as well as external factors have an impact on the consumer buying decisions which in turn shape the consumer taste for a particular product choice. Restaurant industry has been thriving on the fact that consumers eat out for a change from home prepared food. Further, we discuss the changing consumer taste in the modern society and the factors which are responsible for shaping the consumer taste. An individual's taste in the process of selecting a restaurant is often related to his social, economic and cultural features. Consumers' taste for eating out and selecting restaurants are driven by more than the desire for a healthful diet. Consumers weigh the healthfulness of these choices as well as their convenience and entertainment value.

The factors which are increasingly shaping consumer tastes with respect to the restaurant industry in particular are discussed below:

h. Time/Convenience attributes

There is an increasing demand for time saving and convenience attributes of food. This is further reshaping the consumer taste in the restaurant industry. The growing trend of women working in offices and not just managing households has further led to the increase in demand for convenience As a result of this trend, consumers today prefer for convenience and a quality dining experience. This further influences a consumer's choice of restaurant type and his taste.

Conclusion

To conclude, the true desires and preferences of the consumer are no longer just influenced by the primary attributes guiding consumer behaviour such as taste, cleanliness, convenience and cost. Findings indicate that with the increase in the competition and the upcoming trends of health foods and celebrity chefs, there is a shift in the preference from satisfaction based on cheap food and speedy service to more emphasis on exotic ingredients and taste. Although, the companies in the restaurant segment are responding quickly enough to satisfy these aspirations, there is still a wide opportunity for these companies to offer more specialist and wide range of services. We observe that increasing number of consumers is seeking to satisfy internal needs for self actualization. Need to satisfy social needs have led to the increase in the number of consumers eating out. This is further supplemented with a high order need to experience different type of meals. Further, consumer taste is greatly influenced by the increasing popularity of celebrity chefs and their proprietary restaurant facilities. This growing trend or fashion is ultimately influencing the consumer taste in the selection of restaurants. Also, the increase in the international travel has led to the rapid spread of international cuisines across boundaries. A large number of consumers are exposed to a greater range of cuisines from different parts of the world. This has further influenced consumer tastes and choices. Finally, the findings suggest that the concept of branded restaurants, offering a more holistic experience to their consumers by proving food, beverages and entertainment under one roof is ultimately shaping the consumer taste and setting up fashion and trends for the mainstream taste.

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