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Marketing Research for “The Hobbit’s Choice”

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Executive Summary

            This report presents the initial output of the marketing research team for “The Hobbit’s Choice” a new business venture by Jeff Dean. The need to study the market group that the restaurant is targeting was brought about by the risky and short life span of restaurants and since “The Hobbit’s Choice” will be an upscale restaurant with expensive fine wines and desserts, the capital investment would be too high that risk assessment must be conducted. Based on the research objectives which is to determine if a market exists for “The Hobbit’s”, a questionnaire was designed to specifically measure the affective, cognitive and behavioral aspect of restaurant-dining. The questionnaire has already been pretested and items are now validated and hence ready for the actual data gathering procedure. 


            The importance of conducting research as a preliminary step to venturing into a new business is the most intelligent behavior that a businessman can do. Marketing research enables the owner or the company to lessen the degree of uncertainty that they face when opening a new business (Babbie, 2005, p.28). It is a fact that doing business is full of risks and the stakes are high, there have been many stories of successful businesses that inspire a neophyte entrepreneur to strike out on a new business arena, but equally, there have been numerous sad stories of businesses that have failed and had cost a lot of money. It is important that a businessman must be armed before he goes into battle and a wise one would certainly look for valid information, objective facts and figures and probability measures of the success of his business venture before actually committing to initiating the actual business operation (Burns & Bush, 2006, p. 18). A business that has greater capital outlay than others especially calls for a careful investigation of the environment and the threats to the business’ survival in the market it wants to enter. This report presents the marketing research method that The Hobbit’s Choice owner can use to generate valuable information that would objectively assess the feasibility of opening an upscale restaurant in a metropolitan city.


            Jeff Dean has been a restaurant supplies sales representative and with his experience and background in the restaurant business brought by the years of working with restaurants had inspired him to open his own restaurant. He had saved enough money to use as capital outlay for his planned restaurant but he plans to explore a select market in which his restaurant will cater to the upper class market wherein the finest entrees, wines and desserts are offered in an elegant and classy atmosphere.

Through his personal observation and experience as a restaurant supply representative he noticed that no restaurant offered the products that he was planning to offer and that his target market could very well afford the finest and the most expensive. He was planning to call the restaurant “The Hobbit’s Choice” because of his fondness for J.R.R. Tolkien and he wanted to promote the idea that his restaurant offers good food and good people who are fond of good food come to “The Hobbit’s”. As Dean was planning a major investment and with the short life span of a restaurant business and the huge loss it would entail if it would not be accepted well by the market made it necessary to conduct marketing research (Khare & Inman, 2006, p.58). The research would be geared towards determining the perception of the target market towards the possibility of having an upscale restaurant and whether they would probably patronize the said restaurant. Marketing research therefore integrates knowledge, skills and critical thinking in order to come up with a more accurate description of the business environment that one has to exist in (Schultze, 2005, p.8)


            This market research will use a survey method using a custom made questionnaire that will be given to a sample population of the target market (Kirkpatrick & Feeney, 2005, p. 34). The questionnaire is composed of 31 items that specifically asks about the feelings, thoughts and behavior of the respondents in terms of their restaurant habits. The information gained from this research will help identify whether or not a potential market exists for the restaurant that Dean is planning to open. In doing so, Dean would be able to make an informed decision to push through with his plans or to change his plans to suit the current characteristics of the market (Locke, 2004, p. 57) that could significantly alter the direction of Dean’s business plan.


            The respondents of the survey will be the wealthy group in the city; the respondents can be reached through the referral system and which Dean can easily identify as he has plenty of contacts due to his job as a sales representative of restaurant supplies. He could easily provide the upscale restaurants that catered to the rich. A target of 150 respondents will be given the survey forms from a culturally diverse population who frequent restaurants either for business or personal reasons. Age, gender and ethnicity will not be controlled for.


The survey questionnaire is composed of 31 items and respondents are asked to indicate the degree to which they agree or disagree with a given statement using a 4-point forced-choice scale for the affective and cognitive items while a determinant-choice scale was used for the behavioral category. The questionnaire is designed to measure the affective, cognitive and behavioral aspect of the respondents’ restaurant habits. Demographic details will be asked at the end of the questionnaire to be able to identify the gender, profession/business, ethnicity, status, and age of the respondents (McDaniel & Gates, 2005, p. 132). An open ended question at the end of the questionnaire will give the respondents an opportunity to share their views/opinions and suggestions about the present range of restaurants in the city. The questionnaires will be mailed to the identified respondents and provisions for returning it to the researchers will be included in the packet. The questionnaire was field/pilot tested to establish its face validity and whether items were easily understood by the respondents. The necessary changes after the pilot testing were incorporated to the presented questionnaire in this report. The item distribution of the questions in the survey form is presented in the following table:

Table 1

Item Number Category Type
1 – 9 Restaurant-dining behavior Determinant-choice question
10 – 19 Restaurant-dining affect Attitude scale
20 – 24 Restaurant-dining thoughts Attitude scale
25 Exploratory item Open-ended
26 –   31 Demographic data Checklist

The table identifies the number of items in the questionnaire and its corresponding category and type of question. This table would indicate what statistical tool can be used to analyze the data and how it will be coded and collated.

The Pilot Test

            The survey questionnaire was given to 6 respondents who volunteered to complete the survey. The respondents were composed of 4 females and 2 males, all of which are students in the local college and are taking up management classes. The age range was from 24 to 28 and the respondents were during vacant periods and were asked to complete the survey right there and then. The questionnaires were then analyzed for face validity and this was derived by asking the pilot respondents to identify the item that they felt was ambiguous and needed to be revised (Presser, 2004, p.78).

Table 2

Respondents Items found to be ambiguous/difficult/not answered
Anne 22,9
Michelle 23, 9
Liza 22, 23
Goldy 9
John 23, 9
Charles 9

The results of the pilot testing of the questionnaire revealed that item 22 and 23 were not answered because the respondents were not concerned about this item as they usually dine at mid-level restaurants considering that all of them were college students and are not wealthy. Moreover, item 9 was not answered because the respondents said that their meal expenses for a weak is less than a hundred dollars. Although, the pilot respondents found difficulty with the said items, it was not revised since the questionnaire was designed to target the upper middle class and upper class group who usually frequent expensive restaurants as this was the target market that Dean wanted to explore. For the rest of the items, the respondents did not express any difficulty and the responses for each item was really related to the question and did not indicate any confounding influence. The five minutes allotted to answering the questionnaire was also sufficient and it made it possible to send the questionnaires on a face to face basis than by mail to ensure that there is a high response rate (Schmidt & Hollensen, 2006, p. 48).

            The realization gained from the pilot test of the questionnaire was that respondents used for the pilot should be also matched to the target group that the questionnaire will be given to (Piercy, 2006, p. 253) besides the fact that every questionnaire that will be given out on surveys should be properly evaluated and for the researchers to at least establish the face and content validity of the form.


            A marketing research starts with the identification of the research questions or the problem with which the researcher wants to answer. Marketing research make use of various methods for gathering information and depending on the kind of information one wants to measure, the most common method is through surveys and the use of questionnaires. Designing a questionnaire must be anchored on the research objectives and should be specific and adequately   answers the research problems. It is also a good thing to identify and categorize the questions so that appropriate statistical tools can be chosen to analyze the data. It is also important to pilot test the questionnaire as a means of determining the validity of the items and whether it can be easily answered by the respondents. After the pilot testing, this questionnaire is now ready for actual data gathering.


Babbie, E  2005, The basics of social research, 3rd edn, Thomson Learning, Canada.

Burns, A,& Bush R 2006, Marketing research, 5th edn, Pearson International, Upper Saddle River.

Khare, A & Inman, J 2006, `Habitual behavior in American eating patterns: the role of meal occasions`, Journal of Consumer Research, vol. 32, pp.56-79.

Kirkpatrick, L & Feeney, B 2005,  A simple guide to SPSS for Windows version 12.0,

Thomson Learning, Canada.

Locke, L 2004, Reading and understanding research, Sage Publications, California.

McDaniel, C & Gates, R 2005, Marketing research, Wiley, Hoboken, New Jersey.
Piercy, N 2006, `The trouble with marketing research is marketing researchers`, International Journal of Market Research, vol. 48, p.253.

Presser, S 2004, Methods for testing and evaluating survey questionnaires, Wiley & Sons, New York.

Schmidt, M J & Hollensen, S 2006, Marketing research: an international approach, Pearson Education Limited, Harlow, Essex.
Schultze, D 2005, `New definition of marketing reinforces idea of integration`, Marketing News, vol. 39, no. 1, p. 8.

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