Authenticity of a South African Dining Experience: Tourists’ Perceptions of Cuisine at Knysna Waterfront Restaurants

  • O Mhlanga
  • Z Hattingh
  • HJ Moolman
Keywords: Menu, Authenticity, Restaurants, South African, Mixed Methods Research Design


The aim of this study was to assess tourists’ perceptions on the authenticity of a South African dining experience. A total of 400 tourists responded to the survey. A mixed methods research design was followed and a systematic sampling method was used to select respondents. The empirical results show that on a 5 point Likert scale, tourists in the 45 to 54 age group recorded the highest perception score (2.88) whilst female tourists recorded the lowest perception score (1.23). The item with the lowest perception score was “menu consisted of more native dishes than foreign (1.26), whilst the item with the highest perception score was “waiters were natives in ethnic restaurants” (4.17). The overall mean perception score was 2.54 implying that, tourists perceived their dining experience to be less authentic. The study further revealed that 76% of visitors would like to experience authentic South African cuisine and 24% do not wary about experiencing authentic South African cuisine. The study also revealed that 81% perceive the dining experience at Knysna Waterfront as just a copy of the Western countries, 16% percent noted some South African quest largely diluted by foreign standards and 3% believed it was truly a South African dining experience. Consequently, restaurants should include traditional South African dishes in their menus and, for commercial purposes a staged South African experience be created using such strategies as manipulating the music, interior décor and anything that identifies with South Africa.

Keywords: Menu, Authenticity, Restaurants, South African, Mixed Methods Research Design


Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 2411-6939