A Chinese Restaurant’s Cultural Taxonomy


Taxonomy is how names relate to each other and are grouped. Cultural taxonomy can be alluded to as the small related groups called taxa that form a culture. (Reynolds et al., 2019). The cultural model used in this study is the free listing methodology. All the cultural schemas that had already been observed in this research were listed by the study and assigned codes that help in identification and classification. Further, similarities of the different groups are found and put together depending on the closeness to the cultural model (Sng et al., 2018). The behavior of the people in the restaurant also contributed to the model. Foods served at the restaurant are also part of the model as well as the workers of the restaurant, including waiters, stewards, and kitchen staff. The workers had different behaviors resulting from their diverse cultural backgrounds. The environment at the restaurant prompted some of the behaviors of employees. The employees’ discussions were centred on business due to their social class.

Restaurant Taxonomy

The study has broken down the four fundamental concepts for socializing workers into smaller associated units similar to the broader ones. Categories selected for the restaurant are the race of the people around, sitting arrangement, discussion ideas, and restaurant employees. The taxonomic units for the four categories are also listed as black and whites in this study. The study did not go further, breaking down the races since the research is based on observation. The sitting arrangement is featured in the categories because it adds to the purpose of the different groups and especially the focus group of employees who regularly meet for socialization purposes. The separate sitting arrangements for various groups made it easier to the identification. The employees discussed ideas that were related to family and business since they are in the same social class and face similar challenges both at home and work. The restaurant’s attendants had a unique way of dressing and talked politely to attendants, which was a characteristic that distinguished the restaurant employees from others in the restaurant. Concepts are then outlined in a table that depicts the observations made in the restaurant.

Table 1.1 Employees informal meeting outside work model

Race Sitting arrangement Ideas shared Restaurant employees

  • Whites
  • Black

  • Close
  • Round

  • Business
  • Family

  • Dress code
  • Kindness

Some of the workers were white, and others were black to show the diversity of the people enjoying the restaurant’s services. The white workers were more talkative than the black workers. The behavior of others being more talkative is influenced by factors like background the social class in the society. People from a higher economic class tend to love being listened to more than those from a lower economic class. The black Americans are less talkative in the company of their white counterparts.

The sitting arrangement of the individuals present at the informal meeting was very close. All the employees sat close to each other at a round table. The close and round sitting arrangement boosted their confidence and helped them relax their minds from the hard day’s work. The workers were very cheerful and enjoyed their time at the restaurant, which was a way of bonding and understanding each other. One could see the bond between the workers increased each day as they met outside work. It helped the workers from judging each other like looking down upon their black counterparts. The workers sat comfortably together and shared a similar meal. The employees gathered at the restaurant seemed contented when the meeting was adjourned.

Family issues primarily dominated the conversation around the table of the employees. The employees shared ideas on how to be responsible family men and women. They discussed how to handle various issues that come with kids at home. The discussion on family issues made everyone happy, and they agreed that it had opened their eyes to problems they had challenges dealing with. They noted that most problems at home are common to various households and came up with different ways of solving such issues. Business ideas were also common in the employees’ discussions because all were curious to hear what their counterparts were doing or intended to do in terms of business.

The restaurant employees could easily be identified through their dress code. One could quickly tell they were the employees as they moved from table to table, asking people what they wanted to have. The employees were dressed in white and had headgears to cover their hair. Waiters greeted people on the tables courteously, and one could see the joy in their eyes as they served the guests. The waiters serving the Chinese food were also from different races ranging from Chinese to African Americans.

Distance from the workplace place to the restaurant affected the employee attendance. The workers that work close to the restaurant walked in in groups while those that work far came singly. After ending the meeting, employees left for their pleasure in smaller groups instead of their initial arrival, which had been one or two persons at a time. People of color left together and the whites left in groups. The different groups that went together seemed happy with the meeting, and some suggestively wanted more of the discussions on the days of the week. People from other races visited the restaurant and ordered different foods that all have their origin from China. The foods that the restaurant serves are aligned with the Chinese culture. Examples of the foods that helped are sweet and sour pork and Kung Pao Chicken, some of China’s best foods (Lanza & A. J, 2020).

Employee Mapping

The number of employees who came for the informal meeting was less than the other days. The arrival time of the employees at the restaurant also differed significantly. To understand this scenario, the researchers used a simple mapping that would help answer the question of whether distance from the restaurant to where employees live affected attendance and arrival time to the meeting. The mapping method used was participatory. I selected the first ten employees who arrived at the restaurant and gave them a piece of paper with the roads, streets and notable features already drawn and asked them to circle where they live. I assigned each of them a number depending on their arrivals. The result is as shown below.

Employee Mapping
Figure 1.1: Employee Mapping

The result above shows that employee distance to the Great wall restaurant significantly influences attendance and arrival time. Most of the meeting attendees were employees who lived near the restaurant. The arrival time also differs significantly as employees that lived far away from the restaurant could not make it in time. The map above confirms that the environment around them mainly influences human behavior.

Many customers came with their families for dinner to change taste from their regular meals. The customers that came with their families sat at different tables at the restaurant. According to the customers ‘ choices, waiters served other foods and drinks at different tables (Choi et al., 2020). Every family would talk about their issues at their table and seemed to enjoy. Customers without families did not mind sharing a table and hardly spoke to one another as they took their meals. Delivery men were also present at the restaurant and were ever ready to take feeds to the nearby places to clients. Customers that ordered their food through the restaurant’s website and other online platforms had their food delivered immediately by the delivery men. Payment for online customers was either through the cash-on-delivery method or payment through online platforms. Feedback from the customers was good, and the customers seemed fully accept the restaurant’s swift services.


In conclusion, different categories of people visit the restaurant, and since there is no distinct way to classify them, it is convenient that the cultural model was used. The employees’ informal meetings attended different races, and the discussion did not follow a specific guideline as it was a socializing event. The restaurant attendants had glaring clothes for easy identification, and the counters for payment were well labeled. Categorizing items according to different cultures enables easy identification and guides one on what course of action to take in different circumstances. Understanding the environment that one lives in is what any human being strives for. Human beings learn every day by interacting with others and analyzing people’s behavior towards different matters. The goal of taxonomy is to help us understand the environment.


Choi, S. H., Yang, E. C. L., & Tabari, S. (2020). Solo dining in Chinese restaurants: A mixed-method study in Macao. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 90, 102628.

Lanza, A. J. (2020). Chinese restaurants in Los Angeles and San Gabriel Valley: Spaces of Change and Permanence (Doctoral dissertation, California State University, Los Angeles).

Reynolds, N., & Riede, F. (2019). House of cards: Cultural taxonomy and the study of the European Upper Palaeolithic. Antiquity, 93(371), 1350-1358.

Sng, O., Neuberg, S. L., Varnum, M. E., & Kenrick, D. T. (2018). The behavioral ecology of cultural, psychological variation. Psychological Review, 125(5), 714.