Article

Lower Buffet Prices Lead to Less Taste Satisfaction

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Abstract

A field experiment was conducted to assess how diners' taste evaluations change based on how much they paid for an all-you-can-eat (AYCE) buffet. Diners at an AYCE restaurant were either charged $4 or $8 for an Italian lunch buffet. Their taste evaluation of each piece of pizza consumed was taken along with other measures of behavior and self-perceptions. Their ratings were analyzed using 2 × 3 mixed design analysis of variance (ANOVA). Diners who paid $4 for their buffet rated their initial piece of pizza as less tasty, less satisfactory and less enjoyable. A downward trend was exhibited for each of these measures with each additional piece (P = 0.02). Those who paid $8 did not experience the same decrement in taste, satisfaction and enjoyment. Paying less for an AYCE experience may face the unintended consequence of food that is both less enjoyable and rapidly declining in taste and enjoyability. In a sense, AYCE customers get what they pay for.Practical ApplicationsThis study demonstrates that when eating in a less expensive all-you-can-eat (AYCE) buffet, people find the food less tasty. Such a consequence means a less enjoyable experience for the consumers, which may have implications for repeat purchase. By employing a low-price strategy, AYCE restaurants can attract the initial business of customers. However, these customers may end up evaluating the food unfavorably. As a result, the low-price strategy may not be as profitable in the long term. This study has implications for both consumers and restaurants.

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... ' 7 Again, had the article described all of the unplanned analyses that ultimately culminated in the published result, such an attitude may be defensible. However, the results were presented as if they were testing a hypothesis with a preplanned course of analysis, see, 8 and represent an egregious form of data dredging. ...
... Similarly, not only verbal labels but also prices of menus appear to bias individual perceptions. Whereas taste perceptions of pizza significantly decreased after eating a first slice when a low buffet price was paid for lunch ($4), taste perceptions remained higher when a higher price was paid ($8) (Just, Si girci, & Wansink, 2014). Finally, two studies considered non-monetary incentives as means to improve food choices and consumption in school canteens. ...
Article
The transformation of food consumption in wealthy economies is regarded as an essential measure to reach global sustainability goals. However, existing policies and research activities to change food consumption in the increasingly relevant out-of-home sector relate to a wide set of options on how to influence behaviors and may be criticized to lack a general focus. Against this background, our study provides a structured review of the large existing research body on the determinants of individuals' food choices and food consumption out-of-home. It structures the various research approaches and findings for 110 selected papers according to a general ecological framework where personal, social and environmental determinants for food behaviors are considered. By providing a collective overview and linking results for different behavioral aspects and settings, this study supports a more general understanding of consumer food behavior in out-of-home settings. Consequently, it also provides a means to identify research gaps and to suggest relevant aspects for future research to draw from the combination of findings and to enhance sustainability in food consumption. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
... Apart from overall product quality perception, brands can shape consumers' sensorial experiences (De Wulf et al., 2005). For instance, consumers often perceive that food tastes better when it is more expensive (Just et al., 2014) and when the brand has a good reputation (Belizzi and Warren, 1982;Makens, 1965). Similarly, brand information influences preferences (McClure et al., 2004). ...
Consumers increasingly consider private labels to be as good as national brands. This research raises the question of whether national brands and private labels equally affect consumers’ sensory perceptions and purchase intentions. The results of two studies show that consumers reverse their evaluation of private labels (vs. national brands) when tasting the product in an informed (vs. blind) condition. When consumers are not aware of brand names, they indicate better taste and higher purchase intentions for private labels. However, the opposite is true when they try products in an informed condition. We discuss the implications for private labels and national brands.
... B. Goldstein 2008). On the other hand, lower buffet prices were shown to decrease taste satisfaction (Just et al. 2014). Environmental changes at the point of purchase may also alter daily food decisions, for example reducing prices for healthy products and increasing prices for unhealthy products. ...
Article
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Food decisions occur very frequently and are influenced by a variety of individual as well as contextual factors. Physical product attributes, including for example, caloric density, water content and sweetness are important drivers of food choice and preferences. However, food products are usually not evaluated solely based on their nutritional content. In addition, most products are packaged and carry abstract attributes, such as quality claims, and brand names. Critically, these product attributes, not products attributes also influence food consumption, reported consumption enjoyment, and product demand. A variety of these marketing actions were shown to alter consumption experiences of otherwise identical products, inducing a so-called marketing placebo effect (MPE). Here, we review studies providing insights into the various behavioral and neural processes underlying the response to these contextual marketing cues. An extensive amount of studies has shown impressive, sometimes peculiar and also disquieting effects of branding, logos, labels and prices on behavioral measures. We will illustrate the plethora of affected behaviors, ranging from increased taste pleasantness ratings for higher-priced wines to enhanced cognitive performance after drinking a higher-priced energy drink, compared to the identical lower-priced counterparts. Credence attributes, such as organic or social sustainability labels, have been gaining relevance in many industrialized countries, and influence product demand and consumption experience. We will therefore introduce studies that systematically investigated the effects of credence claims, elucidate possible mechanisms, and emphasize the negative consequences when misusing such claims. As children are an important and vulnerable target group for marketing actions, we will also specifically present studies conducted in children. These studies highlight the influence of marketing actions on children’s taste perception, product demand, and effort to obtain a certain product. We will shortly introduce the neurobiology of food choices, and present suggested processes underlying MPEs. Converging evidence confirms that MPEs are not a mere result of demand effects, but that they influence the neural responses to products down to a primary somatosensory level. We will show that marketing claims are very effective in influencing expectations and subsequent consumption experience. Therefore, we suggest that public policy interventions may build upon MPE research, and we will provide evidence for this supposition. Throughout this review, we present insights from a variety of different disciplines, including marketing, psychology, neuroscience and nutrition science. Albeit far from exhaustive, this non-systematic review aims at providing a joint perspective from various fields, highlighting that future research endeavor is certainly auspicious.
... In fact, those who disliked the pizza ate more than those who liked the pizza, potentially because they were dissatisfied relative to the price they paid. In supporting studies, Just et al. (2014) find that evaluation of taste and enjoyment all change with the price paid for the experience. Food psychologists often model food decisions using a dual process approach (Kahneman, 2003). ...
Article
As developed countries have grappled with rising rates of obesity, policymakers’ efforts have been frustrated. Traditional approaches have treated food consumers as if they were making deliberate and calculated food decisions, leading to policies that provide more detailed health information, pricing incentives and direct prohibitions. The results have fallen far short of expectations, and have often generated significant backlash in the process. Alternative approaches recognizing the passive nature of food decisions has recently gained some traction. These approaches, based on behavioral economics, rely on subtle changes in the food choice environment. The hallmark of these “nudges” are relatively large impacts on choice within the altered environment, relatively low costs, and little in the way of consumer resistance. In this paper we review the relevant literature within the developed world, and document the systematic policy applications. One key theme has been the importance of such interventions in food environments affecting the poor and food insecure. This is the case for two distinct reasons: First, it is the food insecure that are at greatest risk for obesity; second, the food insecure are most likely to be susceptible to food choice nudges. For these reasons, nudges may be of import in developing country settings. As obesity is on the rise in many developing countries, lessons learned in developed countries may be directly applicable. Alternatively, similar principles may be of use in ensuring proper nutrition among the food insecure as a means to prevent malnutrition or other acute diet related diseases. We provide some discussion of what these applications may look like, as well as the research needed to make effective use of behavioral choice in this new frontier.
... The results of Plassmann et al. (2008) are significant because they show that the perceptions of pleasantness have neurobiological roots and that human beings are inherently prone to derive pleasure from social status. This may provide an explanation as to why consumers report higher taste evaluations when eating more expensive meals (Just, Sığırcı, and Wansink 2014), that is, food taste better at fancy restaurants. Recent studies in wine have found that price is a signal for quality and individuals do show higher WTP for the products representing a higher social status (Lewis and Zalan 2014;Mastrobuoni, Peracchi, and Tetenov 2014;Ashton 2014). ...
Article
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A framed field experiment combined with a latent class econometric approach was used to investigate how prestige-seeking behaviour influences food choices. We propose a theoretical framework to test conspicuous consumption of specialty food products. We test the hypothesis empirically by categorizing individuals into unobserved latent classes according to their general prestige-seeking behaviour. We find evidence of food consumption driven by prestige to the point of becoming a symbol of social status. The prestige-seeking behaviour seems to be motivated by invidious comparison or higher-class individuals seeking to differentiate themselves from lower-class individuals; and pecuniary emulation, or lower-class individuals buying prestigious goods in order to be perceived as members of a higher class. Findings from this study revealed that the effects of differentiating labelling attributes had a higher impact for individuals classified into classes with prestige-seeking behaviour to attain an elevated social status. © 2016 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
... We reanalyzed four articles by Özge Sigirci, Brian Wansink, and their colleagues, which appear to be based on a single data set from one field experiment [11][12][13][14]. We will refer to these articles with the following numbering: Each of the four target articles describes what we believe to be the same field study. ...
Article
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Background: We present the results of a reanalysis of four articles from the Cornell Food and Brand Lab based on data collected from diners at an Italian restaurant buffet. Method: We calculated whether the means, standard deviations, and test statistics were compatible with the sample size. Test statistics and p values were recalculated. We also applied deductive logic to see whether the claims made in each article were compatible with the claims made in the others. We have so far been unable to obtain the data from the authors of the four articles. Results: A thorough reading of the articles and careful reanalysis of the results revealed a wide range of problems. The sample sizes for the number of diners in each condition are incongruous both within and between the four articles. In some cases, the degrees of freedom of between-participant test statistics are larger than the sample size, which is impossible. Many of the computed F and t statistics are inconsistent with the reported means and standard deviations. In some cases, the number of possible inconsistencies for a single statistic was such that we were unable to determine which of the components of that statistic were incorrect. Our Appendix reports approximately 150 inconsistencies in these four articles, which we were able to identify from the reported statistics alone. Conclusions: We hope that our analysis will encourage readers, using and extending the simple methods that we describe, to undertake their own efforts to verify published results, and that such initiatives will improve the accuracy and reproducibility of the scientific literature. We also anticipate that the editors of the journals that published these four articles may wish to consider whether any corrective action is required.
... Essentially, patrons who determined the pizza was of poor quality, decided to eat more in order to obtain their money's worth. Further work by Just et al. (2014 find similar results, but show that the pricing impacts how the individual evaluates the taste of the pizza. The taste ratings of those who are charged less tend to be lower overall, and decline very rapidly after the first slice, while those charged more actually increase their evaluations after the first slice. ...
Article
Behavioral economic based interventions have shown some promise in leading food consumers of all ages to healthier diets. Such interventions face unique challenges in addressing the diets of SNAP recipients. First, current law prohibits differential treatment of SNAP recipients and other grocery store customers. Thus, the nudges cannot narrowly target those participating in SNAP. Second, SNAP participants make the majority of their qualifying purchases in grocery stores which are already heavily loaded with behavioral nudges. Not only must nudges compete for attention within the store, but they must be at least weakly beneficial to the store owner. We discuss examples that demonstrate the possibility of meeting these seemingly strict criteria, and the potential for using such nudge interventions as a part of SNAP.
... 3 On the other hand, the same expectations play an important role in food-purchasing decisions as they can positively or negatively influence the quality perception of the product. 9 Expectations can originate from a wide variety of different extrinsic attributes, such as brand, 10 price, 11 health and nutritional values, 3,12 and information about production processes or origin. 13,14 Thus, the available information affecting expectations can have a relevant effect on consumer liking and acceptability of the product. ...
Article
BACKGROUND The present research aims to analyse, by combining sensory and experimental economics techniques, to what extent production process, and the information about it, may affect consumer preferences. Sparkling wines produced by Champenoise and Charmat methods were the object of the study. A quantitative descriptive sensory analysis with a trained panel and non‐hypothetical auctions combined with hedonic ratings involving young wine consumers (N=100), under different information scenarios(Blind, Info and Info Taste), were performed. RESULTS Findings show that the production process impacts both the sensory profile of sparkling wines and consumer expectations. In particular, the hedonic ratings revealed that when tasting the products, both with no information on the production process (Blind) and with such information (Info Taste), the consumers preferred the Charmat wines. On the contrary, when detailed information on the production methods was given without tasting (Info), consumers liked more the two Champenoise wines. CONCLUSION It can be concluded that sensory and non‐sensory attributes of sparkling wines affect consumers’ preferences. Specifically, the study suggests that production process information strongly impacts liking expectations, while not affecting informed liking. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
... Apart from overall product quality perception, brands can shape consumers' sensorial experiences (De Wulf et al., 2005). For instance, consumers often perceive that food tastes better when it is more expensive (Just et al., 2014) and when the brand has a good reputation (Belizzi and Warren, 1982;Makens, 1965). Similarly, brand information influences preferences (McClure et al., 2004). ...
... In that report we labeled the articles as Article 1(Just et al., 2014), Article 2(Just et al., 2015), Article 3(Kniffin et al., 2016), and Article 4. ...
Preprint
Full-text available
We previously reported over 150 inconsistencies in a series of four articles (the "pizza papers") from the Cornell Food and Brand Lab that described a study of eating habits at an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet. The lab's initial response led us to investigate more of their work, and our investigation has now identified issues with at least 45 publications from this lab. Perhaps because of the growing media attention, Cornell and the lab have released a statement concerning the pizza papers, which included a response to the inconsistencies, along with data and code. Many of the inconsistencies were identified with the new technique of granularity testing, and this case has the highest density of granularity inconsistencies that we know of. This is also the first time a data set has been made public after granularity concerns were raised, making it a highly suitable case study for showing the accuracy and potential of this technique. It is also important that a third party audit the lab's response, given the continuing investigation of misconduct and presumably future reports and data releases. Our careful inspection of the data set suggests no evidence of fabrication, but we found the lab's report confusing, incomplete, and error prone. In addition, we found the number of missing, unusual, and logically impossible responses in the data set highly concerning. Unfortunately, given the unsound theory, poor methodology, questionable data, and countless errors, we find it remarkable that these four papers were published and recommend retraction of all four papers.
... In that report we labeled the articles as Article 1(Just et al., 2014), Article 2(Just et al., 2015), Article 3(Kniffin et al., 2016), and Article 4. ...
Preprint
Full-text available
We previously reported over 150 inconsistencies in a series of four articles (the "pizza papers") from the Cornell Food and Brand Lab that described a study of eating habits at an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet. The lab's initial response led us to investigate more of their work, and our investigation has now identified issues with at least 45 publications from this lab. Perhaps because of the growing media attention, Cornell and the lab have released a statement concerning the pizza papers, which included a response to the inconsistencies, along with data and code. Many of the inconsistencies were identified with the new technique of granularity testing, and this case has the highest density of granularity inconsistencies that we know of. This is also the first time a data set has been made public after granularity concerns were raised, making it a highly suitable case study for showing the accuracy and potential of this technique. It is also important that a third party audit the lab's response, given the continuing investigation of misconduct and presumably future reports and data releases. Our careful inspection of the data set suggests no evidence of fabrication, but we found the lab's report confusing, incomplete, and error prone. In addition, we found the number of missing, unusual, and logically impossible responses in the data set highly concerning. Unfortunately, given the unsound theory, poor methodology, questionable data, and countless errors, we find it remarkable that these four papers were published and recommend retraction of all four papers.
... Apart from overall product quality perception, brands can shape consumers' sensorial experiences (De Wulf et al., 2005). For instance, consumers often perceive that food tastes better when it is more expensive (Just et al., 2014) and when the brand has a good reputation (Belizzi and Warren, 1982;Makens, 1965). Similarly, brand information influences preferences (McClure et al., 2004). ...
Conference Paper
Despite the growing number of premium private labels, many consumers still perceive these products as cheaper substitutes for national brands. This paper proposes a boundary condition for this phenomenon by examining the moderating role of brand disclosure in the relationship between brand label (national brand vs. private label) and sensory evaluation for different product categories. Results show that brand disclosure can reverse consumer sensory evaluation, demonstrating a negative perceptual bias against private labels. When consumers are informed of brand label, national brands taste better than private labels; however, results reverse in blind tests. This paper explores possible strategies for retailers to deal with the gap between private labels and national brands.
Chapter
Mass‐market food consumption has been broadly integrated into globalized food systems. The chapter presents some of the elements connected to the organization of food distribution systems, the priority given to the conditions under which free‐trade operates, and the development of lifestyles, including the restrictions and aspirations that shape them. In addition to the overall level of waste, it is certainly interesting to see where food is wasted throughout the production and distribution network. The chapter looks at formal and informal normative systems around food quality that have been constructed over time and encourage people to downgrade products, which lead to throwing them away in fine. Mass catering is emblematic of the major challenges in our contemporary food cultures. The complexity of issues related to food waste involves changes at the micro, meso and macro levels which would involve extending the traditional field of research of social marketing centered on consumer behavior.
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Preprint
Full-text available
We present the initial results of a reanalysis of four articles from the Cornell Food and Brand Lab based on data collected from diners at an Italian restaurant buffet. On a first glance at these articles, we immediately noticed a number of apparent inconsistencies in the summary statistics. A thorough reading of the articles and careful reanalysis of the results revealed additional problems. The sample sizes for the number of diners in each condition are incongruous both within and between the four articles. In some cases, the degrees of freedom of between-participant test statistics are larger than the sample size, which is impossible. Many of the computed F and t statistics are inconsistent with the reported means and standard deviations. In some cases, the number of possible inconsistencies for a single statistic was such that we were unable to determine which of the components of that statistic were incorrect. We contacted the authors of the four articles, but they have thus far not agreed to share their data. The attached Appendix reports approximately 150 inconsistencies in these four articles, which we were able to identify from the reported statistics alone. We hope that our analysis will encourage readers, using and extending the simple methods that we describe, to undertake their own efforts to verify published results, and that such initiatives will improve the accuracy and reproducibility of the scientific literature.
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Preprint
Full-text available
We present the initial results of a reanalysis of four articles from the Cornell Food and Brand Lab based on data collected from diners at an Italian restaurant buffet. On a first glance at these articles, we immediately noticed a number of apparent inconsistencies in the summary statistics. A thorough reading of the articles and careful reanalysis of the results revealed additional problems. The sample sizes for the number of diners in each condition are incongruous both within and between the four articles. In some cases, the degrees of freedom of between-participant test statistics are larger than the sample size, which is impossible. Many of the computed F and t statistics are inconsistent with the reported means and standard deviations. In some cases, the number of possible inconsistencies for a single statistic was such that we were unable to determine which of the components of that statistic were incorrect. We contacted the authors of the four articles, but they have thus far not agreed to share their data. The attached Appendix reports approximately 150 inconsistencies in these four articles, which we were able to identify from the reported statistics alone. We hope that our analysis will encourage readers, using and extending the simple methods that we describe, to undertake their own efforts to verify published results, and that such initiatives will improve the accuracy and reproducibility of the scientific literature.
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Although management assumes a relationship between price and quality when making decisions about pricing and when acting against price cutting within distribution channels, little research on this relationship has been done. Earlier price-quality studies have not involved consumers actually using products over time. This article reports a study in which price was the only variable and, over 24 trials, quality differences for three brands were perceived by subjects when no quality difference existed. The relationship between price and perception of quality was positive but not linear.
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A model of grocery shopper response to price and other point-of-purchase information was developed and hypotheses were tested by using observations and interviews. The findings suggest that shoppers tended to spend only a short time making their selection and many did not check the price of the item they selected. Perhaps as a consequence, more than half could not correctly name the price of the item just placed in the shopping cart and more than half of the shoppers who purchased an item that was on special were unaware that the price was reduced. Other results on point-of-purchase information processing and behavior are discussed.
Article
In this laboratory experiment, the influence of two kinds of market information—price and store image—on consumers’ judgments of product quality was measured. Although price was the dominant individual variable, the inclusion of store image significantly affected product quality perceptions even though that information in itself had little impact.
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The authors examine the relative importance of extrinsic versus intrinsic cues in determining perceptions of store brand quality in an experiment using a sample of 1564 shoppers for five products. Results of the experiment suggest that consumers’ evaluations of store brand grocery items are driven primarily by the extrinsic cues that these products display rather than intrinsic characteristics. In addition, the authors found that a value for money orientation taken by retailers in the marketing of their private label lines may represent a suboptimal strategy; they recommend a quality orientation.
Article
Based on conjoint analysis technique, this study investigates how consumers utilize intrinsic and extrinsic cues in determining the quality of a product. The focus is on the effects of consumer individual difference variables on the relative importance of such product cues. The results show that product familiarity, enduring involvement, and price-reliance schema have a significant influence on consumer utilization of extrinsic cues. The implication of the results are discussed.
Article
In this laboratory experiment, the influence of two kinds of market information-price and store image-on consumers' judgments of product quality was measured. Although price was the dominant individual variable, the inclusion of store image significantly affected product quality perceptions even though that information in itself had little impact.
Article
Although management assumes a relationship between price and quality when making decisions about pricing and when acting against price cutting within distribution channels, little research on this relationship has been done. Earlier price-quality studies have not involved consumers actually using products over time. This article reports a study in which price was the only variable and, over 24 trials, quality differences for three brands were perceived by subjects when no quality difference existed. The relationship between price and perception of quality was positive but not linear.
Article
Diners in a restaurant were served the same meal (composed of a sautéed chicken breast with a fines herbes sauce, brown rice pilaf, and sautéed green beans with toasted almonds served on a round white china plate). The same food was presented in two different arrangements on two different nights. Although the two presentations were judged as equally "neat", one was judged as more attractive. Subjects reported liking the food on the plate (when all items were judged together) more when it was presented in the more attractive than the less attractive manner. When food items were judged separately, subjects reported liking the chicken and the sauce significantly more when presented in the more attractive manner. Subjects also reported more positive responses to the brown rice pilaf when presented in the more attractive plating style. How attractively food is plated can affect liking for the flavor of the food and could be used to increase acceptance of "healthy" foods.
Article
The purposes of this study were (1) to examine the impact of environmental and non-environmental cues on patrons’ emotional responses and (2) to examine the influence of emotions on patrons’ behavioral intentions, as moderated by motivational orientation and hedonism. Based on a thorough literature review, 11 theoretical hypotheses were proposed and a structural model was developed. The model was then tested using data collected from 379 actual luxury restaurant patrons residing in the United States. According to the results of data analysis, it was revealed that both environmental and non-environmental cues induce patrons’ arousal in the luxury restaurant setting; however, environmental cues have a stronger impact on arousal than do non-environmental cues. More importantly, among the various environmental cues, ambient conditions were found to be the most powerful element that drives patrons’ arousal. Data analysis also revealed the positive effect of arousal on pleasure and the positive effect of pleasure on behavioral intentions. Thus, it can be interpreted that arousal is a required condition in inducing patrons’ pleasure. The moderating roles of motivational orientation and hedonism were also supported. Theoretical and practical implications based on the findings are discussed in the latter part of the study.
Article
This study applies the hedonic pricing model to examine important attributes influencing average customer meal prices in restaurants in Seoul, Korea. Data from 185 restaurants were collected via Internet, phone interviews, site inspections, and ZAGAT Survey, and analyzed using OLS regression. The log-linear model was found to be most suitable for the data, and the proposed hedonic model accounted for as much as 73.7% of the variation in meal prices. The results indicate that food quality and décor were important determinants of restaurants’ average meal prices while service was not. Furthermore, the study found that a restaurant's location within the building (1st floor), the types of cuisine served (Japanese and Italian), parking facilities, private dining settings, franchising, and the number of blogger reviews (e-WOM) have significant effects on restaurants’ average meal prices. The model will provide useful information for restaurateurs in deciding effective menu pricing strategies.
Article
Drawing on construal level theory, this research proposes that consumers’ reliance on price (vs. feature-specific product attributes) for making quality inferences will be enhanced when the judgment is psychologically distant (vs. close). For example, the impact of price (attributes) on quality inferences should increase (decrease) when these inferences are made with regard to another person rather than oneself. A series of experiments provides support for this thesis. In addition, we (a) document a theoretically derived reversal of the core pattern, (b) reconcile the current findings with seemingly opposed results in the construal literature, and (c) rule out several alternative explanations for the obtained effects. The insights obtained in this work enrich our understanding of three different areas of research: the price-quality link, construal level theory, and the self-other distinction.
Article
This research examines how package size can influence quality judgments for packaged goods, and also identifies a price-based mechanism for the observed size–quality relationship. Results from several studies show that a product in a smaller package is rated more favorably than the equivalent product in a larger package. Further, this effect is due to the smaller package being associated with a higher unit price (despite having a lower overall price), which suggests that unit price information is more diagnostic than overall price information when forming judgments of product quality. We also find a theoretically-derived reversal of this effect under conditions in which the greater diagnosticity of unit price is overwhelmed by its lower ease of use. Namely, when overall price is the only explicitly-provided price cue and consumers are too distracted to estimate unit price, a larger package is now rated as being better. Finally, two concluding studies examine the downstream consequences of changes in package size, building off our basic conceptualization to document effects on product choice as well as consumption experience.
Article
As the Buffet restaurant industry grows in popularity in the Western industrialized world, it has also become increasingly competitive. In such an environment, marketers are understandably concerned about how to maintain or increase market share through better service quality and effective segmentation strategies. This paper reports a two-phase study conducted to determine the dimensions of service quality in the All-You-Can-Eat Buffet restaurant industry from the consumer's perspective. Factor analysis revealed twelve distinct dimensions made up of 87 different attributes. The 12 dimensions were able to discriminate among three groups of Buffet restaurant patrons, namely: the (i) frequent, (ii) less frequent and (iii) more frequent patrons. Managerial implications of these findings for market segmentation, targeting and promotional strategies are discussed.
Article
In this article, the evidence demonstrating the existence of a variety of robust crossmodal correspondences between both sounds (phonetic speech sounds, tones, and other parameters of musical expression) and shapes, and the sensory attributes (specifically the taste, flavor, aroma, and oral-somatosensory attributes) of various foods and beverages is reviewed. The available research now clearly suggests that marketers can enhance their consumers' product experiences by ensuring that the sound symbolism of the brand name, as well as any shape symbolism of/on the labeling, and even the very shape of the packaging itself, sets up the right (i.e., congruent) product-related sensory expectations in the mind of the consumer. In this review, the rapidly-growing literature on the topic of sound and shape symbolism is critically evaluated. Potential caveats, limitations, and problems of interpretation with previous studies are highlighted. The question of whether this approach to sensory marketing should be considered as implicit (or functionally subconscious) is also addressed. Finally, some of the relative strengths and weaknesses of this approach to modulating a consumer's product-related expectations (relative to various other approaches) are considered.
Article
I define “sensory marketing” as “marketing that engages the consumers' senses and affects their perception, judgment and behavior.” From a managerial perspective, sensory marketing can be used to create subconscious triggers that characterize consumer perceptions of abstract notions of the product (e.g., its sophistication or quality). Given the gamut of explicit marketing appeals made to consumers every day, subconscious triggers which appeal to the basic senses may be a more efficient way to engage consumers. Also, these sensory triggers may result in consumers' self-generation of (desirable) brand attributes, rather than those verbally provided by the advertiser. The understanding of these sensory triggers implies an understanding of sensation and perception as it applies to consumer behavior—this is the research perspective of sensory marketing. This review article presents an overview of research on sensory perception. The review also points out areas where little research has been done, so that each additional paper has a greater chance of making a bigger difference and sparking further research. It is quite apparent from the review that there still remains tremendous need for research within the domain of sensory marketing—research that can be very impactful.
Article
A model of grocery shopper response to price and other point-of-purchase information was developed and hypotheses were tested by using observations and interviews. The findings suggest that shoppers tended to spend only a short time making their selection and many did not check the price of the item they selected. Perhaps as a consequence, more than half could not correctly name the price of the item just placed in the shopping cart and more than half of the shoppers who purchased an item that was on special were unaware that the price was reduced. Other results on point-of-purchase information processing and behavior are discussed.
Article
Across four experiments, the authors find that when information pertaining to the assessment of the healthiness of food items is provided, the less healthy the item is portrayed to be, (1) the better is its inferred taste, (2) the more it is enjoyed during actual consumption, and (3) the greater is the preference for it in choice tasks when a hedonic goal is more (versus less) salient. The authors obtain these effects both among consumers who report that they believe that healthiness and tastiness are negatively correlated and, to a lesser degree, among those who do not report such a belief. The authors also provide evidence that the association between the concepts of "unhealthy" and "tasty" operates at an implicit level. The authors discuss possibilities for controlling the effect of the unhealthy = tasty intuition (and its potential for causing negative health consequences), including controlling the volume of unhealthy but tasty food eaten, changing unhealthy foods to make them less unhealthy but still tasty, and providing consumers with better information about what constitutes "healthy."
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If descriptive menu-item labels are used sparingly and appropriately, they may be able to improve sales and post-consumption attitudes of both the food and the restaurant.
Article
The current research investigates consumer knowledge of the pricing tactics that marketers frequently employ and the effects of that knowledge on responses to various price offers. In the research, a series of studies were conducted to develop and validate a knowledge measure designed to assess pricing tactic persuasion knowledge (PTPK). Consistent with the persuasion knowledge model, individuals with higher levels of PTPK were shown to have more knowledge-related thoughts regarding pricing tactic information than those with low levels of PTPK. Additionally, pricing tactic persuasion knowledge was shown to be more predictive of consumer choices regarding quantity surcharge offers and purchase interest evaluations following exposure to tensile claim offers (e.g., “Save up to 50 percent Off”) than several competing constructs.
Article
This paper summarises the results of the consumer survey, which had been carried out in six European countries in order to obtain comparable information about consumer behaviour towards meat and perception of fresh meat quality. Quality evaluation of fresh meat in this study is supposed to consist of two phases: a stage previous to the actual purchase and a stage after the purchase while eating the meat. Concerning the first stage, it becomes obvious that for beef and pork the place of purchase plays a major role as quality indicator, while the price was distinctly considered to be least helpful. “Colour” is the most important intrinsic quality cue for all three meats. In the second phase of quality evaluation after purchase, “flavour” is one of the most significant quality characteristics. Concerning the safety of beef, pork and chicken, “freshness” was shown to be the most important indicator. Consequently, it would be advisable for producers and retailers to use appropriate signals in order to communicate “freshness” to the consumers. Concerns about meat are rated very highly in each of the countries. Trustworthy signals of meat safety are required, which are able to reduce the risk felt by consumers.
Article
This study examines the relationships among elements of relationship management activities (predictors), relationship quality (a mediating construct), and relationship outcomes (commitment, loyalty, and word of mouth). Despite much research focusing on relationship quality, some central questions concerning the relationship among the three constructs have not been fully explored. A conceptual model was developed and tested to examine the mediating effect of relationship quality on the relationship between the seven relationship management activities and the three relationship outcomes. Structural equation analyses on the data collected from a survey of 887 dinner patrons at 21 luxury restaurants show that relationship quality is the primary mediating construct between relationship management activities and relationship outcomes. The effective use of a relationship management strategy may increase customer commitment, spread positive word of mouth, and generate loyalty. The findings of this study provide restaurant managers with a guideline for developing and implementing an enhanced relationship management strategy.
Article
The focus of this research was the chain restaurant industry, and its purpose was to (1) determine which factors influence relationship quality and customer loyalty formation and (2) examine the connections between relationship quality and loyalty. Based on the literature review, five dimensions influence restaurant patrons’ behavior: food quality, service quality, price, location, and environment. Theoretical relationships between attributes influencing patrons’ behavior, relationship quality, and loyalty were derived from the literature review. Data analysis indicated that these five attributes influence loyalty formation, with impact mediated by relationship quality. They also influence customer satisfaction, with satisfaction influencing loyalty formation directly and indirectly via trust. Furthermore, service quality was the only attribute to directly and indirectly affect trust, and its effect is stronger than that of any other attribute. Managerial implications are discussed.
Article
Previous research found that six behaviors (e.g., using larger plates) were associated with higher BMI at all-you-can-eat Chinese buffets. To examine if those behaviors were associated with the number of trips a patron made to the buffet, 303 patrons at 22 buffets were observed. Patrons who served immediately and who used larger plates made more trips than those who scouted their options and who used smaller plates. Importantly, these findings were statistically independent from the estimated BMI.
Article
Discusses a model of consumers' product evaluation aiming to aid marketers' understanding of price setting. Considers the factors of price and store name information and how they affect monetary sacrifice, quality and willingness to buy. Argues that price and retail outlet are two distinct marketing tools for quick, effective use in a competitive market. Concludes that an understanding of price and store name information can lead to more effective and efficient action by both buyers and sellers.
Article
The perception of taste and flavor can be greatly biased by extrinsic cues, or the information about a food that comes from outside of the food itself, such as package designs, brands, prices, and so on. In order to understand taste/flavor experiences in a broader context, it is necessary to consider factors other than the food/tastants themselves. This review aims to summarize some of the relevant findings from psychological and neuroimaging studies, focusing on depicting how extrinsic cues exert their effect on taste and flavor. Currently, the most frequently considered psychological mediator for the effects of extrinsic cues is expectation. Depending on the gap between expectation and taste/flavor experience, four major models predict outcomes of expectation effects: 1) assimilation, 2) generalized-negativity, 3) contrast, and 4) assimilation-contrast. Among them, the most influential is the assimilation model proposing that taste/flavor experiences are modified towards what one expects. Thus far, all the neuroimaging studies examining the influence of extrinsic cues have dealt with assimilation effects. They suggest that when extrinsic cues influence taste/flavor perception, cortical representations of taste/flavor are also modulated. Collectively neuroimaging findings partly answer questions arising from psychological aspects: the influence of extrinsic cues is not due to superficial response bias but to truly changed perception. These findings, albeit limited to assimilation effects, suggest that combined understanding from both psychological and neuroimaging studies would help deepen our understanding of the taste experience.
Article
Using the decision- and experiential-oriented perspectives as theoretical guides, this article reported an empirical assessment of service quality in restaurant operations. We proposed and tested a conceptual model of service quality using structural equation modeling. Using data from a sample of 284 customers from two large full-service restaurants in southern China, we investigated the relationships of service quality, customer satisfaction, and frequency of patronage. The results supported the significant links between service quality and customer satisfaction, service quality and repeat patronage, but not customer satisfaction and repeat patronage. The study has provided important insights into service quality and customer satisfaction in the field of restaurant operations.
Article
Recent research shows that environmental cues such as lighting and music strongly bias the eating behavior of diners in laboratory situations. This study examines whether changing the atmosphere of a fast food restaurant would change how much patrons ate. The results indicated that softening the lighting and music led people to eat less, to rate the food as more enjoyable, and to spend just as much. In contrast to hypothesized U-shaped curves (people who spend longer eat more), this suggests a more relaxed environment increases satisfaction and decreases consumption.
Article
We designed an experiment that examines how knowledge about the price of a good, and the time at which the information is received, affects how the good is experienced. The good in question was wine, and the price was either high or low. Our results suggest that hosts offering wine to guests can safely reveal the price: much is gained if the wine is expensive, and little is lost if it is cheap. Disclosing a high price before tasting the wine produces considerably higher ratings, although only from women. Disclosing a low price, by contrast, does not result in lower ratings. Our finding supports the notion that price not only serves to clear markets, it also influences expectations that in turn shape a consumer's experience. In addition, our results suggest that men and women respond differently to attribute information concerning wine. (JEL Classification: C91, D03, D83, M31)
Article
One objective of this study was to compare taste test ratings with amounts consumed and postconsumption ratings made as iced teas of different strengths were repeatedly consumed. The second objective was to determine whether sensory specific satiety could be used as a rapid indicator of long term acceptability of the teas. Subjects first rated their liking of and the flavor intensity of several samples of lemon flavored iced tea. Two tea concentrations were selected from this test to represent distinctly different flavor intensities. Taste test liking ratings of the strong concentration were higher than those of the weak concentration. Subjects consumed either the strong or the weak iced tea ad lib on 20 different afternoons over a 2-month period and rated their liking of the tea after each session. We measured the amount of tea consumed each time. On repeated consumption the subjects liked the weaker tea better than the stronger tea. Subjects consumed about the same amount of each tea. A different group of 15 subjects participated in a sensory specific satiety study of the same two teas. Those subjects drank more of the weak tea than the strong tea.
Article
Using price data collected in Indianapolis and Lafayette, Indiana, rank order correlations between price and quality were computed. These were compared to correlations based on price data obtained from the publications of consumer product testing organizations. It was found that price-quality correlations based on the price data furnished by consumer product testing organizations may not reflect price-quality correlations for specific markets. A second finding of the study suggests the existence of variability across store types with respect to price-quality correlations.
Article
Prior investigations have indicated that relationships between price and product quality are considerably weaker for non-durables than for durables. Among non-durables, packaged food products frequently have exhibited the poorest correspondence between price and quality. This study, utilizing data from Consumers Union, analyzes the relationships between price and a measure of product quality for 679 brands in forty packaged food product classes over a fifteen year period. The study generally confirms earlier preliminary conclusions that the correlation between quality and price for packaged food products is near zero. In addition, the findings indicate that convenience foods, particularly frozen foods, display the poorest correspondence between price and product quality with more than 43 percent of all frozen food product classes exhibiting negative relationships between price and product quality. Some possible explanations for these findings and their implications for public policy are advanced.