Customers' perceptions and expectations of environmentally sustainable restaurant and the development of green index: The case of the Gold Coast, Australia

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Sarmiento, Camilo Vargas
El Hanandeh, Ali
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Green awareness has created the necessity in people’s minds for purchasing eco-friendly products; as a result, the market responded with the offer of sustainable merchandise and operations in different economic sectors including the food and hospitality sector. Restaurants are characterised by their high waste production rate. Many restaurants have adapted their operations toward eco-friendly operations. The current study assessed customers’ expectations and attitudes toward green restaurants in the Gold Coast, a major tourist destination. Five hypotheses revolving around the influence of awareness, gender, age, and income were conceptualised based on studies from other communities around the world. A survey instrument was administered. The results suggested that although only 40% of the population are aware of the environmental impacts of restaurant operations, 78% would be willing to pay an extra 5% on average in a green restaurant. Men indicated that they would pay more for the green service than women (5.4% vs 4.3%). However, more women were willing to pay an extra fee than men (89.2% vs 59%). The willingness to pay was also positively correlated with the level of education. The youngest age group and the lowest income bracket were more willing to pay a higher premium than other demographic groups. Nevertheless, no significant differences were detected among the demographic groups. Contrary to the commonly held perception, income did not have a significant effect on the green tendencies of customers. The results also suggested that there was a gender bias in the green tendencies of the population with women having a higher green index (GI) 3.29 than men (GI 2.66). Nearly 98% of the respondents suggested that having environmentally sustainable practices would positively influence their customer review. Although an opportunity exists for the restaurant industry to adopt sustainable practices to attract new customers and to gain goodwill, they should be careful not to treat the provision of this service as a new source of profit because the demand showed high sensitivity to the price.

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Sustainable Production and Consumption

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© 2018 Institution of Chemical Engineers. Published by Elsevier B.V. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Licence ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, providing that the work is properly cited.

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