Investigating the Factors Influencing Consumer Eating-Out Habits

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Date

2006

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Journal of Academy of Business and Economics

Abstract

Americans are eating out in greater numbers and in greater frequency than ever before. This phenomenon may not pose any major health threat as long as diners make healthy eating choices. Unfortunately, the popularity of fast foods, which typically contain excessive fat and calories, poses a tremendous threat to public health because of the well-known detrimental effects of excessive intake of fat, cholesterol, calories and salt on public health. Therefore, it is critical to public policy makers as well as to health care professionals to know what factors influence the food choices of restaurant diners. Earlier studies indicated that consumer eating habits may vary according to the demographic characteristics (such as income, age and occupation), and psychographic characteristics (such as lifestyle and personality traits). However, these results are for Americans in general, and may not be valid for restaurant diners specifically. In this study, we explore the influence of these determinants on consumer preference of food (such as red meat, strictly vegetables, and everything in between) when they eat out. Our results support the hypothesis that consumers with different eating-out habits indeed vary according to their demographic and psychographic characteristics. Our research also found that a consumer’s profession (white-collar job vs. blue-collar job) has a moderate influence on the decision to become vegetarian. Also those who are health conscious are more likely to become vegetarian. Finally, we outline the significance of our results to marketers, and restaurant owners.

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Keywords

Eating-out behavior; customer satisfaction; vegetarianism; consumer food choices.

Citation

Pillai, Vijayan and Subir Bandyopadhyay, “Investigating the Factors Influencing Consumer Eating-Out Habits,” Journal of Academy of Business and Economics, 6, 2 (2006), 54-64.

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Article