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Effects of adding an Italian theme to a restaurant on the perceived ethnicity, acceptability, and selection of foods


Effects of adding an Italian theme to a restaurant on the perceived ethnicity, acceptability, and selection of foods



Appetite 22(1): 11-24



ISSN/ISBN: 0195-6663

PMID: 8172487

DOI: 10.1006/appe.1994.1002

We investigated whether a change in the perceived ethnicity of a food can be produced without manipulating the food item itself, and if that change in ethnic perception is accompanied by a change in acceptability and food selection behavior. Italian and British foods were offered in a British restaurant for four days. Foods were offered for 2 days under control conditions, when the restaurant was decorated as usual. The identical foods then were offered in the restaurant for 2 more days under experimental conditions, when ethnic names were used on the menu to describe foods, and the restaurant was decorated with an Italian theme. Perceived ethnicity and acceptability of items were rated by customers each day, and item selection was tracked. The Italian theme increased selection of pasta and dessert items, and decreased the selection of fish. The Italian theme also increased the perceived Italian ethnicity of British pasta items, fish and veal, and increased the perceived Italian ethnicity of the meal overall. These findings show that changes in perceived ethnicity and food selection can be accomplished without altering food items, but merely by manipulating the environment, and may imply a unique strategy for increasing perceived menu variety.

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Accession: 002362752

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