‘Commensal scenes’: Problematizing presence in restaurants in the digital age

Olivier Oren*, Richard N.S. Robinson, Margarida Abreu Novais, Charles Arcodia

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As guests’ norms and behaviours are rapidly evolving in the digital world, explicitly problematizing commensality, a term designating the social aspects of eating with others, is needed in hospitality contexts. This article introduces the “commensal scene” concept, applying Social presence theory to redefine commensality in dining settings amidst digital-age transformations. Challenging traditional views of physical co-presence, it explores the multi-spatial, multi-levelled dynamics of being 'with others' in both physical and digital contexts. The model allows for a deeper understanding of how digital media reshapes presence beyond mere spatial factors. It highlights the evolving nature of guest behaviours and norms, focusing on the interplay between different communication mediums and responsive social spaces. This innovative approach offers new insights into emerging commensal practices, proposing a framework for designing relevant dining experiences in a digitally-influenced world.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103794
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Hospitality Management
Early online date21 May 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 May 2024

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