Assessing hotel readiness to offer local cuisines: a clustering approach

Alberta Bondzi-Simpson, Julian K. Ayeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to assess the organisational readiness of small and medium scaled hotels to serve indigenous local cuisines and to segment the hotel properties for gastronomic tourism campaigning and destination marketing aims. The study also explores how the concept of organisational readiness relates to menu decision makers’ intentions, perceived benefits and organisational characteristics. Design/methodology/approach: Organisational readiness was measured by three dimensions (culture, climate and capacity). Data were derived from a survey of primary menu decision makers from 187 hotels in Ghana. Using a combination of hierarchical and non-hierarchical (K-means) algorithms, the hotels were clustered into homogenous groups based on the original raw scores of hotel readiness indicators. The resultant cluster solution was then validated and profiled against relevant external variables. Findings: Analyses reveal three clusters which distinguish hotels by the degree of readiness to serve indigenous local dishes. The resultant segments differ by hotel category (star rating) as well as by the job positions and perceptions of primary menu decision makers. Unexpectedly, lower class hotels displayed significantly greater levels of organisational readiness to serve indigenous cuisines than those in the higher class category. Research limitations/implications: The study demonstrates that organisational readiness is related to perceived benefits and intentions. Among others, the findings advance the understanding of organisational readiness in hotels in the context of menu decision-making. Given the need to embed new practices in a fast-changing hospitality environment, insights drawn could also serve as a basis for future research. Generalisability of empirical findings may be limited by the socio-economic context as well as the study’s focus on small and medium scaled hotels. Practical implications: This paper supports hotel businesses in understanding the concept of organisational readiness and its relation to organisational characteristics and menu decision-making. By highlighting the different clusters of hotels, the findings accentuate the need for destination marketers and gastronomic tourism campaigners to target higher classed hotels and draw attention to the potential benefits of serving indigenous cuisines while addressing latent concerns. The results further underscore the role of organisational culture and the necessity for such campaign activities to be directed towards those with ample influence within the hierarchical structures of hotels. Originality/value: This is an initial attempt to examine the application of the organisational readiness concept to menu decision-making in hotels and to explore the implications for segmentation purposes. Further analysis revealed the critical role of organisational culture on menu decision-making patterns. Thus, the paper applies an important element of organisational development theory to the hotel industry and represents a valuable contribution to the scant literature on indigenous cuisines in hotel food service contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)998-1020
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 15 2019


  • Culinary tourism
  • Food service
  • Indigenous dishes
  • Menus
  • Organizational readiness
  • Segmentation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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