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Satisfying the online food crave: The case of online food aggregators

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The food and beverage (F&B) sector has witnessed a significant rise in online food ordering and delivery companies. Through the consumer journey framework, this study aims to uncover the triggers pertaining to each stage in this journey. An exploratory qualitative research approach was adopted: semi‐structured interviews were conducted with 33 customers and 17 experts in the food industry from the Lebanese, Saudi Arabian and Emirati markets. A systematic understanding of the journey was devised alongside the triggers per stage to help both restaurants owners and online food aggregators to further develop their penetration and retention of customers using such platforms. The growing shift in emerging markets from ordering food over the phone to placing an order through OFAs has brought several implications on the customer purchase decision, as well as on the restaurants’ business perspectives. While this has had a dual growing impact both on the customer journey at large, and the way in which restaurants operate and market themselves, this field is yet under‐researched particularly in emerging markets in the Middle East.
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Int J Consum Stud. 2022;46:1413–1427.
© 2021 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
The current technology- driven era has been characterized by an un-
precedented rise in Internet penetration and usage at various paces
and in different parts of the global markets, coupled with an expo-
nential upsurge in smartphone ownership. This trend has boosted
globalization by minimizing the impact of physical and geographical
borders (Malik & Kapuria, 2020). The Internet is nowadays widely
used by individuals for innumerable purposes. Countless online solu-
tions have emerged and became part of one’s daily life, most notably
social media platforms, mobile applications, and the various chan-
nels of digital communication. The world’s 2.7 billion smartphone
users spend 90% of their time on their devices using apps; this devel-
opment has altered people’s lifestyles and transformed occasional
app use into a daily habit (Belanche et al., 2020). The significant
decrease in the usage of traditional media— with most users now fa-
vouring online sources— gave rise to an integrated, ever- connected
society (Markina et al., 2019). In order to adapt to this new market
reality and benefit from its ensuing opportunities, businesses had
to reconsider and modify the ways they operate and reach out to
their customer base. In fact, most leading companies have adopted
innovative online business strategies so as to recover from the unde-
niable declining sales through traditional channels (Ramadan, 2019).
This shift has particularly affected the food and beverage (F&B)
sector, which has largely adopted online communication tools to
reach out to their customers. In 2013, this has in turn led to the rise
of online food platforms, or what is commonly known as online food
aggregators (OFAs) allowing ordering and delivery, hence playing
the role of middlemen between restaurants and customers. Food
aggregators are apps/online portals that allow foodies to evaluate
menus, prices, posted reviews, as well as place orders via the app. In
the past few years, these OFAs have enhanced their operations to
act as new- delivery players offering delivery services for restaurants
through their own logistics networks and fleet of drivers (Hirschberg
Received: 21 August 2021 
Revised: 15 November 2021 
Accepted: 17 November 2021
DOI : 10.1111/ ijcs .12768
Satisfying the online food crave: The case of online food
Maya F. Farah | Zahy Ramadan | Jana Kanso
Adnan Kassar School of Business,
Department of Marketing, Lebanese
American University, Beirut, Lebanon
Maya F. Farah, Adnan Kassar School of
Business, Depar tment of Marketing,
Lebanese American University, Beirut, P O
Box: 13- 5053, Chouran, Beirut 1102 2801,
The food and beverage (F&B) sector has witnessed a significant rise in online food or-
dering and delivery companies. Through the consumer journey framework, this study
aims to uncover the triggers pertaining to each stage in this journey. An exploratory
qualitative research approach was adopted: semi- structured interviews were con-
ducted with 33 customers and 17 experts in the food industry from the Lebanese,
Saudi Arabian, and Emirati markets. A systematic understanding of the journey was
devised alongside the triggers per stage to help both restaurants owners and on-
line food aggregators to further develop their penetration and retention of custom-
ers using such platforms. The growing shift in emerging markets from ordering food
over the phone to placing an order through OFAs has brought several implications on
the customer purchase decision, as well as on the restaurants’ business perspectives.
While this has had a dual growing impact both on the customer journey at large, and
the way in which restaurants operate and market themselves, this field is yet under-
researched particularly in emerging markets in the Middle East.
customer engagement, customer service, service delivery, service innovation, service strategy,
technology and service
... Recent studies on FDPs have tended to utilize statistical analysis (Fakfare, 2021;Hwang et al., 2021;Mehrolia et al., 2021;Wang et al., 2019) and qualitative research (Farah et al., 2021), while few have made use of multi-attribute decision-making (MADM) methods, forming a methodological gap in the research area. Unlike classic statistical approaches, which require a minimum of 200 samples to validate the causal association between variables (Hoe, 2008), MADM methods only require 10 samples (Tsai, 2020;Tsai & Chen, 2021) to produce useful research (Tsai & Chen, 2021). ...
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The emergence of the COVID‐19 pandemic dramatically lowered the foodservice industry’s income overnight. Conversely, the practical measure of remaining at home to deal with the pandemic’s impact has boosted the online food delivery business. In this study, a consumer perspective was adopted and an adapted version of the extended unified theory of acceptance and use of technology (UTAUT2) was used alongside multi‐attribute decision‐making methods (DEMATEL, DANP, and modified VIKOR) to construct a model for evaluating and selecting a food delivery platform (FDP). The results of the INRM (influential network relation map) revealed that the first dimension to be improved upon and adjusted should be security, followed by effort expectancy, performance expectancy, social influence, facilitating conditions, hedonic motivation, and habit. The DANP influential weights suggested that habits were the most important dimension, followed by hedonic motivation, while performance expectancy was the least important. According to the results of the gap analysis, the first dimension that required improvement was performance expectancy, followed by effort expectancy, facilitating conditions, security, social influence, habits, and hedonic motivation. It is expected that the findings of this study can serve as a reference for consumers selecting FDPs to better satisfy their dining needs. The novel model is discussed in terms of theoretical, practical, and managerial implications.
... From a marketing perspective, social networking sites (SNS) have turned consumers into "prosumers" (Borges-Tiago et al., 2020;Chaker et al., 2022) through their influential electronic word of mouth (eWOM). Consumers' eWOM facilitates the spread of fake news on SNS, which can negatively impact consumers' attitudes and behaviors toward brands and SNS (Farah et al., 2021;Talwar et al., 2019Talwar et al., , 2020Visentin et al., 2019). ...
Purpose The spread of fake news on social networking sites (SNS) poses a threat to the marketing landscape, yet little is known about how fake news affect consumers’ perceptions, attitudes and behaviors. This study aims to explore when consumers believe fake news, whom they blame for it (e.g. negative attitudes toward brands or SNS) and when they choose to share it. Design/methodology/approach Data obtained from 80 open-ended, semistructured interviews, conducted with SNS consumers and experts, is analyzed following the principles of grounded theory and the Gioia methodology. Findings Factors affecting consumers’ perceptions of fake news include skepticism, awareness, previous experience, appeal and message cues. Consumers’ brand- and SNS-related attitudes are affected by consumers’ blame, which is determined by consumers’ perceptions of the vetting efforts, role and ethical obligation of SNS. Consumers’ motives for sharing fake news include duty, retaliation, authentication and status-seeking. Theoretical and practical implications derived from the study’s novel conceptual framework are discussed. Practical implications This study identifies communication strategies that marketing professionals can use to mitigate and counter the negative effects of fake news. Originality/value By simultaneously considering consumers’ perceptions of the source, information and medium (i.e. SNS), this study presents a novel conceptual framework providing a marketing-centered, dynamic view on consumers’ fake news experience and connecting consumers’ perceptions, attitudes and behaviors in the context of fake news.
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This study aims to empirically measure the distinctive characteristics of customers who did and did not order food through Online Food Delivery services (OFDs) during the COVID‐19 outbreak in India. Data is collected from 462 OFDs customers. Binary logistic regression is used to examine the respondents’ characteristics, such as age, patronage frequency before the lockdown, affective and instrumental beliefs, product involvement, and the perceived threat, to examine the significant differences between the two categories of OFDs customers. The binary logistic regression concludes that respondents exhibiting high‐perceived threat, less product involvement, less perceived benefit on OFDs, and less frequency of online food orders are less likely to order food through OFDs. This study provides specific guidelines to create crisis management strategies.
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Purpose The theory of consumption values (TCV) has successfully explained much consumer choice behavior, but few studies have investigated the values that drive food-delivery application (FDA) use. This study aims to bridge this gap by extending the TCV to the FDA context to examine food consumption-related values and interpreting and rechristening generic consumption values to adapt the TCV to the FDA context. Design/methodology/approach An explorative mixed-method research approach was taken to conduct focus group discussions with 20 target users to develop the questionnaire and then administer it for a cross-sectional survey (pen and pencil) to FDA users aged 22–65 years; 423 complete responses so received were analyzed using structural equation modeling. Findings The findings show that epistemic value (“visibility”) is the chief driver of purchase intentions toward FDAs, followed by conditional (“affordances”), price (part of functional value) and social value (“prestige”). Food-safety concerns and health consciousness (proposed as part of functional value) did not share any statistically significant association with purchase intentions toward FDAs. Research limitations/implications The findings of this study are insightful for FDA service providers competing for higher shares in the market by helping them understand ways to influence consumer choices and purchase intentions. Originality/value It is the first study that combines FDAs 2014 an online service that it is attracting a lot of investment 2014and TCV which has continued to be one of the most relevant theories of consumer behavior. It extends the TCV by adapting it to the FDA context with food-consumption-related values. Thus, it adds to the relatively scant literature on FDAs on the whole which is essential, as FDAs represent the business model of new economy, i.e. online-to-offline (O2O). Finally, this study formulates a conceptual framework that may serve as the basis of future research.
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During the global 2020 COVID-19 outbreak, the advantages of online food delivery (FD) were obvious, as it facilitated consumer access to prepared meals and enabled food providers to keep operating. However, online FD is not without its critics, with reports of consumer and restaurant boycotts. It is, therefore, time to take stock and consider the broader impacts of online FD, and what they mean for the stakeholders involved. Using the three pillars of sustainability as a lens through which to consider the impacts, this review presents the most up-to-date research in this field, revealing a raft of positive and negative impacts. From an economic standpoint, while online FD provides job and sale opportunities, it has been criticized for the high commission it charges restaurants and questionable working conditions for delivery people. From a social perspective, online FD affects the relationship between consumers and their food, as well as influencing public health outcomes and traffic systems. Environmental impacts include the significant generation of waste and its high carbon footprints. Moving forward, stakeholders must consider how best to mitigate the negative and promote the positive impacts of online FD to ensure that it is sustainable in every sense.
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This research examines the phenomenon of food delivery services from the mobile app user’s perspective and how consumers’ lifestyles are changing because of the convenience provided by the apps. By means of an online survey targeted at US food delivery app customers, our study analyzes the main motivations that lead them to use and recommend these technology-based services. The results of the study revealed that some of the theory of planned behavior model variables (i.e., attitude toward the behavior, subjective norms), influence customer use and word-of-mouth (WOM) intentions. Security influences intention to spread WOM, whereas customer lifestyle compatibility influences intention to use the food delivery apps. A post hoc analysis revealed that perceived control is only important for older customers, who need to perceive that they control the apps before they will recommend them to other customers. The findings of the study are discussed and contrasted with previous research in the field. The managerial implications derived from the findings provide practical guidance for food delivery app companies. Further research avenues are suggested to encourage scholars to continue investigating the challenge of the diffusion of mobile apps in the food delivery and related sectors.
Purpose Off-premise restaurant service has a new addition – food delivery robots. This new technology and off-premise service, in general, has received little research attention, despite continued year-over-year sales growth for both carry-out and delivery. Therefore, this study aims to analyze off-premise service modes, including food delivery robots, for service quality gaps between consumer expectations and actual performance and among the various modes. Design/methodology/approach Performance of three off-premise restaurant service modes (robot-delivery, human-delivery and carry-out) were evaluated using a mixed-methods approach. Consumer expectations were ascertained about food- and service-related performance factors using a survey, and a field observation study was conducted to obtain actual performance data for these factors. Findings from both approaches were compared to identify gaps and differences. Findings For food-related performance, consumers reported lower expectations for food safety and food quality from robot- and human-delivered food; however, no differences were observed among the three modes in the field study. Consumers also expected lower service-related performance from robot-delivery for service efficiency and ease of use (than human-delivery and carry-out) and monetary value (than carry-out). Consumers deemed robots the most sustainable and human-delivery the most convenient compared to other modes – however, not all service-related expectations aligned with actual performances. Originality/value This study was the first to comparatively examine off-premise restaurant service. Identification of a missing link in service gap analysis was among the theoretical contributions of this study. Managerially, this study provides previously unavailable insights into opportunities for improvement for off-premise service and use of delivery robots.
Amazon, the leader in the e-retailing sector, has revolutionized online shopping through its vast areas of customer solutions, particularly with its Amazon Prime membership. Nonetheless, shoppers' behavior and attitudes in similar programs are yet to be researched. Accordingly, this study aims to examine the effect of self-control on trust, affective attachment and impulse buying in online membership programs. Herein, researchers integrate retailers-consumers' relational variables alongside shop-pers' behavioral dimensions, to understand the long-term relationship members have with Amazon Prime. A quantitative approach was adopted for this purpose, based on data collected over a period of 2 months from 630 respondents surveyed across the United States of America. Findings show that while self-control first delimits impulsive shopping, it also reinforces shoppers' cognitive and affective ties with Amazon Prime, counterintuitively increasing their impulsive buys. This study is thus the first to demonstrate that retailers' membership programs such as Amazon Prime may come at the expense of consumers. This is due to the fact that such programs appear to reinforce impulsive behavior, while giving a false sense of self-control to the shopper.
Online meal delivery platforms (OMDPs), like UberEats, have received more attention since quarantine was established to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The research into antecedents of satisfaction and continuous usage intention for OMDPs, in general, is under researched. The current study compared the antecedents of satisfaction before quarantine to the antecedents during quarantine through the lens of Expectation-Confirmation Theory. Through multiple regression analyses, the researchers found that before quarantine, sharing economy ethos, price-value, food quality, ease of use and confirmation of beliefs had a significant impact on satisfaction while during quarantine, food quality, service speed, ease of use, and confirmation of beliefs were significant. Practical and theoretical implications are discussed.
The Purpose: This study aims to identify the characteristics of customer satisfaction of the restaurants delivery applications that is increasing globally, especially in Korea. Due to demographic changes, social trends and the development of food science, customers no longer want to visit restaurants. This represents an important change in the restaurant business, and related research is also very urgent. Research design, data, and methodology: With 296 surveyed questionnaire, the study analyzed to verify the validity and reliability of measured variables in Korea. And structural equation model was used for hypotheses test of the research. Results: The result showed that consumers' usefulness, mobility, and reliability influenced on satisfaction. Specifically, mobility and reliability influencing the satisfaction and loyalty as well. And significant impact of satisfaction and loyalty are also corroborated. However, the path from informative to both satisfaction and loyalty was not statistically significant. This means food application developers should no longer focus on providing too many information, instead, concentrate on improving mobility and trust of mobile applications. Conclusions: This study analyzed the influence of attributes of food delivery applications on satisfaction and loyalty, and suggested crucial strategic implications of delivery marketing companies involved in the implementation of mobile application developers.
The growth of new technological innovations has given rise to a highly digitized retailing world that is re-defining the consumer purchase journey. Innovations, such as Amazon's Alexa, Dash-buttons (physical and virtual), and Spark, have indeed led to the creation of an Omni-channel journey that reshaped the shopping experience. Such tech-disruptions are likely to have a significant bearing on shoppers, brands and retailers, which is expected to vary between the short and the long-term. A quantitative research based on 600 U.S. Amazon customers studied the long-term incremental sales effect of e-retailers' tech innovations when driven by impulsive shopping behavior. The findings show that while retailers' tech-driven solutions would increase shoppers' impulsiveness, and hence sales, their continued interaction with such purchasing solutions would decline over time, making the overall innovation cycle much shorter.