The dominating assumption in consumer research is that consumers are rational, economic and independent decision makers. In this study, we challenge this assumption by advocating that consumer loyalty in service industry in general and restaurant industry in particular, is a socially constructed behavior. We propose that a consumer’s re-patronage of a service firm is affected by the evaluations and preferences of the consumer’s online egocentric social network. An empirical study based on more than 5076 consumers in a large online dining community confirms that the preference of one’s egocentric network such as their dining occasion preference, their evaluation of a restaurant’s environment and food are important determinants of one’s loyalty to a restaurant.
Xu, Yunjie (Calvin); Lu, Xianghua; Goh, Khim Yong; Jiang, Zhenghui; and Zhu, Xinyu, "The Impact of Online Social Network on Consumer Loyalty: An Empirical Study of an Online Dining Community" (2009). ICIS 2009 Proceedings. 17.