Jitka Perutkova, Rosen College class of 2009, was recently awarded the University of Central Florida Libraries Annual Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research.

Her article, “Consumers’ Willingness to Pay and to Patronize According to Major Restaurant Attributes” was written under the mentorship of Dr. H.G. Parsa and published in the University of Central Florida Undergraduate Research Journal.

Perutkova’s study focuses on identifying the most important factors in the consumer decision-making process while choosing a restaurant.  Her findings may impact the restaurant industry, as they identify the scope of differential returns on investment on various restaurant attributes.

She was honored during UCF’s Research Week Award Breakfast on Friday, April 8, 2011.  In addition to public recognition, she was awarded a cash prize of $250.

The article marked Perutkova’s first major research project.  “It was something completely new for me.  All the steps in the process were surprising, time consuming and required a lot of patience,” shared Perutkova.

She enjoyed collecting and analyzing data and the occasional surprise when the results didn’t match the prediction.  Dr. Parsa helped guide her in the right direction and provided much-needed support.  “I loved working with Dr. Parsa because he has an understanding of international students and wants them to succeed.”  She elaborated that he generously passes along his knowledge for each student’s benefit.

While attending Rosen College, Perutkova majored in Hospitality Management and served as a member of the Golden Key International Honor Society, Eta Sigma Delta and Phi Theta Kappa.  She plans to collect new data and expand her research while pursuing a Master’s in Executive Management at Hodges University, with the ultimate goal of opening her own hotel.

Perutkova’s published article is available here: http://www.urj.ucf.edu/vol4issue2/Perutkova/.