Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


College of Education and International Services

First Advisor

Fonda L. Chaffee

Second Advisor

John Hanke

Third Advisor

Rudolf E. Klimes



American consumers are eating more and more of their meals outside the home. Americans are also becoming more diet conscious and the Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs (HEW) has encouraged restaurant managers to consider their impact on the nation’s health. The purpose of this study was to survey the eating-out habits and preferences of residents in three adjacent cities in southeastern Washington (Pasco, Richland, and Kennewick), and determine the potential acceptance of a natural foods restaurant in this Tri-City area. -- Method. A random sample of Tri-City residents was selected and interviewed by telephone. The telephone survey gave a high response level with minimal probing through a structured questionnaire that provided data concerning eating-out habits and interest in natural foods. Twenty-three interviewers made h39 telephone contacts during a ten-day period from November 10-20, 1978. Four hundred and six responses were sufficiently clear for the purposes of this study. These were computer tabulated and compared with national statistics and trends.


The results of this study showed that the majority of Tri- City residents enjoyed eating out and did so about 58 percent of the time. They spent an average of $4.27 per meal and usually traveled less than five miles to a restaurant. Quality and atmosphere was considered the most important features of restaurant service. A majority of the interviewees indicated they would patronize a natural foods restaurant. Preferred foods were fresh salads (fruit or vegetable), homemade soups, and fresh baked breads. New or unusual food items would not be readily accepted.


There is a potential market in the Tri-City area for a natural foods restaurant with emphasis on quality of food and service. It should be located within a three to five mile radius of the upper income residential area housing relatively young (25-34 years old) heads of household. An increasing national trend for eating meals outside the hone does not always coincide with an interest in natural foods. Consequently, every potential location for a natural foods restaurant should be surveyed independently.

Subject Area

Restaurants--Washington (State); Natural food restaurants