What is Authenticity?

Exploring the Mexican Restaurant Experience


  • Explore inductive research to identify patterns and
    themes in how authenticity is defined.
  • Utilize interview, survey and visual analysis.
  • Secondary resources to further define themes of authenticity.
  • Visit different “Mexican” restaurants.
  • Investigate third-party reviews (Urbanspoon and Yelp)


  • Online Survey 105 Respondents (52 Male, 53 Female)
  • Almost 90% have travelled outside of the US Only 1 in 4 have lived outside of the US
  • A little over 5% speak Spanish fluently 2 in 3 eat out at least 5 times per month
  • Almost 9 in 10 eat at a Mexican restaurant once per month


  • Conduct research in other locations and regions with a larger number of restaurants, employees and customers
  • Schedule interviews with restaurant managers ahead of time
  • Provide gift certificates for customer feedback
  • Revise online survey and field with a larger group of respondents
  • Review each restaurant’s corporate/company culture Investigate cultural regional differences within Hispanic and Latino communities
Research in support of a group project submitted to the Anthropology of the University of Cincinnati in partial fulfillment of the requirements of Anthropology 504: Ethnographic Methods, Autumn 2011. Group Members: Sarah Wright, Anthropology and Art History; Kiri Crawford, Anthropology and Spanish; Tom Gilmore, Design and Marketing