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An Applied Research into Understanding How Socio-Demographic Factors Affect the Eating of Outside Food for Urban Population

Journal of Hospitality Application and Research

Volume 17 Issue 1

Published: 2022
Author(s) Name: Kannan Sekar, Lakshman Mahadevan | Author(s) Affiliation: Rajagiri Business School, Kochi, Kerala, India.
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Abstract

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Purpose/Aim – This article aims at analyzing the consumers’ eating out habits and preferences as to restaurant service attributes and factors affecting eating out, through a primary survey of 193 urban respondents who were interviewed through a structured questionnaire. For leveraging consumer insight about eating outside food, and to understand how socio-demographic factors affecting eating outside food are important to the restaurant industry for developing strategies to attract potential consumers in order to tap the emerging market potential. Eating of outside food corresponds to both dining out as well as ordering through food apps. The study also investigates how the COVID pandemic has affected the consumption of outside food. Design/Methodology/Approach – A survey was initiated, and data collected from 193 respondents across urban areas. A convenient sampling was used for the purpose. A Random Forest was used to find the key socio-demographic factors influencing the eating of outside food. Paired t-test to test differences between pre-COVID and the current situation for dine out as well as ordering through apps was conducted. The analysis was conducted in R studio. Findings – The study finds there is significant difference in eating of outside food (both through apps as well as dine out) between pre-COVID times and the current situation. It also finds that family type, education, annual income and occupation are significant factors in the ordering of food through food apps and age is found to be a significant factor where people prefer to dine out. Research Limitations – The study was conducted in India and this study can be replicated in the adoption of food apps in other countries as well. Important constructs like personal innovativeness, network effects and habit are not yet studied. Sample size should have been larger and wider for better explanatory power. Explanatory power will be high when we include behavioural constructs along with the socio-demographic variables. Practical Implications – Food tech companies can make a segmented marketing approach using this research. The study results provide practical implications for the Indian restaurant and food tech industry. It provides strategic inputs to the food tech industry for developing effective strategies as per consumers socio-demographic attributes. Restaurants also can use this report to get insight into their customers. Restaurants can customize menu according to different socio-demographics. Originality/Value – There has been no research conducted in understanding how socio-demographic factors affect the app usage as well as dining out during the context of COVID. Previous research studies have not looked into the family type, Occupation type, Sector in which the person works and the type of housing. A Random Forest model would provide us with key significant socio-demographic variables and hence this study could be used.

Keywords: Dine Out, Outside Food, Food App, COVID, Paired T-Test

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