The impact of Instagram on independent restaurants in Scotland; an investigation into how 18-30-year-olds use the platform and its influence on their choice
This research looks into the impact of Instagram on consumer choice and decision making when visiting independent restaurants in Scotland. It was identified through the review of literature that there is an increase in consumer-generated content and online influencers on Social Media. This is increasing social media’s impact on decision making but also blurring the lines for consumers on the reliability and quality of content. Although vast, the existing literature does not address specifically how the increasing use of Instagram in 18-30-year-olds is influencing the way in which they source recommendations. Nor the impact of these recommendations on their decisions to visit an independent restaurant in Scotland. Through the use of an online survey, 159 responses were collected and analysed through Microsoft Excel to provide charts and statistics which were the basis of the results in this study. It was found that 18-30-year-olds are more likely to use Instagram than TripAdvisor when sourcing e-WOM. On Instagram respondents were influenced mostly by people they already follow such as friends, family and food influencers, as respondents have already deemed these sources as credible. Influential factors within Instagram e-WOM content were identified as the presentation of the food, level of information provided, quality of the photos and the openness of the recommendation provider. This study faced limitations within the use of open-ended questions and lack of male respondents. Therefore, recommendations made for further studies on this topic, are to use mixed methods to provide more in-depth analysis and more generalisable results. In addition, to further develop the understanding of consumers negative and positive associations with Instagram and TripAdvisor a further study addressing the differentiation in motivations of posting reviews on Instagram and TripAdvisor is recommended.