A Cup of Coffee With a Dash of Love : An Investigation of Commercial Social Support and Third-Place Attachment

Rosenbaum, M. S., Ward, J., Walker, B. A., & Ostrom, A. L.

Rosenbaum, M. S., Ward, J., Walker, B. A., & Ostrom, A. L. (2007). A cup of coffee with a dash of love: An investigation of commercial social support and third-place attachment. Journal of Service Research, 10(1), 43-59.

Commercial Friendships , Loneliness , Place Attachment , Social Support , Third Places

This study introduces theory about how deficits in social support motivate consumers to replace lost social resources by forming relationships with customers and employees in commercial “third places.” The authors demonstrate sup- port for a multiple-indicator, multiple-cause model that illustrates how six common events that destroy or erode a person’s social support can cause the person to obtain emotional support and companionship in a third place. The model supports the linkage between commercial social sup- port and a consumer’s sense of attachment to a third place that harbors his or her social support network. The authors also propose and test hypotheses that reveal that consumers obtain social support in a third place to the extent to which they lost it outside the place. In essence, third-place patrons match their lost support to their commercial support, thus remedying negative symptoms associated with isolation. The article concludes with a discussion of managerial implications and limitations.

Main finding
The hypotheses was that the extent to which respondents obtain companionship, emotional support, and instrumental support in a third place is linearly related to the extent of their lost social support because of experienced events. The hypotheses is confirmed.

Description of method used in the article
Standardized 1 hour interviews with 84 customers who were recruited from Sammy’s, a Chicago suburban diner.

Of practical use

Organising categories

Physical types
Cafés/Restaurants Other
Geographic locations