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Does Service Employees’ Appearance
Affect the Healthiness of Food Choices?
Huneke, T./Benoit, S./Shams, P./Gustafsson, A.,...
Can the look of a waitress effect customers attention to
certain type of food?
Healthy option
Unhealthy
option
Why would i...
Experimental setup
 56kg
 171cm tall
 BMI 19.2
(healthy)
 Weight same as healthy person
 Dress of hedonist lifestyle
...
Results: Unhealthy lifestyle in others triggers attention to
unhealthy food choices
Source: Huneke, T./Benoit, S./Shams, P...
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This is a short presentation of the results of a research project investigating how service employees appearance influences the healthiness of food choice made by customers. We find that the overweight waitress has no effect and the waitress with an unhealthy lifestyle triggers attention towards unhealthy food.

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How service employees appearance influences healthiness of food choice

  1. 1. Does Service Employees’ Appearance Affect the Healthiness of Food Choices? Huneke, T./Benoit, S./Shams, P./Gustafsson, A., (2015), Does Service Employees’ Appearance Affect the Healthiness of Food Choice?, Psychology and Marketing, 32 (1), 96-106.
  2. 2. Can the look of a waitress effect customers attention to certain type of food? Healthy option Unhealthy option Why would it? The logic of social comparison theory: 1. Decision making is influenced by people comparing themselves to others and to what they consider as “normal”. 2. Often behavior is contagious and people sticking out from this norm make others also depart from it, because they trigger assimilation behavior. 3. Research Question: Can a healthy versus unhealthy waitresses trigger consumers to be attracted to certain healthy or unhealthy meal alternatives? Source: Huneke, T./Benoit, S./Shams, P./Gustafsson, A., (2015), Does Service Employees’ Appearance Affect the Healthiness of Food Choice?, Psychology and Marketing, 32 (1), 96-106.
  3. 3. Experimental setup  56kg  171cm tall  BMI 19.2 (healthy)  Weight same as healthy person  Dress of hedonist lifestyle  Visible tattoo  Paler skin  Shadows under eyes  85kg (wearing a “fat suit”)  171cm tall  BMI 29.1 (overweight) Waitress with unhealthy lifestyle Healthy waitress Overweight waitress Source: Huneke, T./Benoit, S./Shams, P./Gustafsson, A., (2015), Does Service Employees’ Appearance Affect the Healthiness of Food Choice?, Psychology and Marketing, 32 (1), 96-106. Healthy option Unhealthy option Experiment: Participants were served by a waitress in three different health appearance and then provided menus with healthy and unhealthy meal options. Using eye-tracking equipment, researchers looked at 2 variables capturing the attention to the food choices:  Total observation duration (TOD): Represents the visual measure of the time a person spends considering different options (-> level of interest)  Time to first observation (TTFO): Reflects the order of visual impact between different areas of interest, expressed in time (-> being instinctively drawn towards)
  4. 4. Results: Unhealthy lifestyle in others triggers attention to unhealthy food choices Source: Huneke, T./Benoit, S./Shams, P./Gustafsson, A., (2015), Does Service Employees’ Appearance Affect the Healthiness of Food Choice?, Psychology and Marketing, 32 (1), 96-106. 2 triggered triggered triggered 1 3 If food service companies want to support their customers in healthy consumption waitresses should not openly show an unhealthy lifestyle. What does that mean for food service companies? Waitress with unhealthy lifestyle Healthy waitress Overweight waitress Unhealthy option Healthy option Healthy option

This is a short presentation of the results of a research project investigating how service employees appearance influences the healthiness of food choice made by customers. We find that the overweight waitress has no effect and the waitress with an unhealthy lifestyle triggers attention towards unhealthy food.

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