– This exploratory study aims to investigate consumers' perceptions, attitudes, and purchase intention for restaurants that employ a significant amount of service staff with disabilities. The influences of consumers' characteristics and dining occasions on purchase intention were also examined.
– The authors employed a single-factor (dining occasion) experimental design. A convenient sample was used and a total of 192 consumers participated in this study.
– Consumers demonstrated a moderately positive purchase intention for a restaurant that employs a significant amount of service staff with disabilities; however, the purchase intention varied by dining occasions. The likelihood of choosing this type of restaurant was higher in a family/friends occasion than in business or romantic occasions.
– This study employed a convenient sample and the findings might be limited to the casual dining restaurant context. Future research should examine the relationship between purchase intention and perceived social responsibility, restaurant image, or specific disabilities.
– This study suggests that hiring a significant amount of service staff with disabilities might be a better strategy for restaurants that target family/friends gatherings. Meanwhile, managers need to be more strategic when they assign employees with disabilities to serve guests who are in a business or romantic dining situation.
– This is the first study that empirically investigates consumers' perspectives on restaurant service staff with disabilities in the USA.