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Defining food authenticity: an efficient promotion for ethnic restaurants (EURAM 2016)

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Suggesting authenticity concepts for ethnic restaurants: efficient marketing strategy and promotional methods

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Defining food authenticity: an efficient promotion for ethnic restaurants (EURAM 2016)

  1. 1. Defining food authenticity: An efficient promotion for ethnic restaurants Elena Chatzopoulou – Newcastle University (BUSINESS SCHOOL), Prof. Matthew Gorton - Newcastle University (BUSINESS SCHOOL), Dr. Sharron Kuznesof - Newcastle University (FOOD & AGRICULTURE) e.chatzopoulou@ncl.ac.uk
  2. 2. Authenticity Authenticity means for the consumers something trustworthy and original  one of the cornerstones of contemporary Marketing  reinforcing a brand’s identity and  a strategy for a product’s differentiation and positioning However, limited understanding of the meaning from the producers’ side. Introduction
  3. 3. Authenticity Objective authenticity Taking into consideration the actual object and its tangible and absolute characteristics. That product has to be examined by an expert who shall judge its true and honest nature. Constructivist authenticity (Indexical) Authenticity has various versions which are not objectively but rather symbolically constructed. Authenticity meaning can be negotiated and interpreted by the members of the society. Post modern authenticity (Existential) Poorly explored in literature. Activity-based approach, relies on the hedonistic fun and eclecticism of lived experiences. It is about fun and pleasure through consumption. Consumers unfamiliar with the culture tend to believe in this type. Objective Authenticity • Object Constructive Authenticity • Society- community Post-modern Authenticity • Self Literaturereview
  4. 4. Ethnic restaurants Ethnic restaurants are the second most influential representative of a foreign culture after the mass media. Especially for consumers who are unfamiliar with the restaurant’s culture, the restaurant shall act as an ambassador for the country and its culture. Literaturereview
  5. 5. Literature gap Limited understanding of the authenticity meaning from the producers’ side. Research questions How and to what extent restaurateurs perceive of and construct an “authentic” eating experience for their customers? Do they meet consumers’ expectations and perceptions? Literaturegap &Researchquestions
  6. 6. Methodology (Qualitative research) Techniques: In-depth interviews, during which the projective technique of two ethnic restaurant menus was applied Sample: n=19 Mediterranean restaurant owners, Greek themed restaurants, located in the U.K. and Greece Approach: Grounded theory (constructivist - Charmaz) Data analysis: NVIVO 10: data storage, coding, categorization, memo-writing and data retrieval Coding: open coding and comparative analysis of codes and node groups across participants Methodology
  7. 7. Authenticity Some of the parameters taken into consideration are: the recipes, the ingredients, the restaurant’s decoration, the ethnicity of the staff, etc.  Staff (Greek restaurant owners prefer Greek chefs) “... The person who cooks and makes the recipes must certainly be Greek. Some ideas come through his DNA… a foreigner will create it differently...” (Male, restaurant owner, Greece) “… We can't have just Greek speaking staff in a restaurant you know... of this size...” (Male, restaurant owner, U.K.)  Ingredients (for cultural aware restaurateurs ingredients are perceived as important contributors to the authenticity of the Greek restaurant on the contrary with third generation restaurateurs for whom freshness and flavour of ingredients superseded the Greek origin) “… Capers must always be from Andros island and not from Turkey. Can you understand?.. It always has to be original… Greeks have to be honest…” (Male, restaurant owner, Greece) “… Greek lamb?.. For example, some of the best lamb in the world is right here, comes from Wales... so why would we buy things like that?” (Male, restaurant owner, U.K: 3rd generation Greek) Findings
  8. 8. Authenticity vs. identity By taking into consideration these parameters restaurateurs construct authenticity meanings based on their identity. These authenticity meanings are either indexical or existential for the restaurateurs:  culturally aware restaurateurs tend to judge food authenticity according to indexical measure  restaurateurs less tied to the culture, with a market orientation, seem to follow the existential authenticity Findings
  9. 9. The authenticity modelFactorswhichrestaurateurstakeintoconsideration toconstructauthenticitymeanings Indexical authenticity Existential authenticity Description of the restaurant Concept derives from a specific origin (Greek, Cretan, etc.) Something general (touristy, Mediterranean, etc.) Source of the recipes From a specific origin (from memory, from relatives, from traditional cookbooks) Not from a specific origin (Internet, standard recipes) Origin of the ingredients Imported products from the origin e.g. PDO products Ingredients from a different origin, not necessarily PDO Type of customers Locals, loyal customers Tourists, non-regulars Reason for dining in the restaurant To taste authentic food, to feel closer to home, to be reminded of holiday memories For an elicit/different/new experience or to share the experience afterwards The owner's/manager's role Targeting profits but also an ambassador of the country and its culinary culture Focus on profits Other restaurants as "role models" A restaurant from the origin, a traditional restaurant Fusion cuisine, sometimes “fine dining” restaurant Findings * *Not a clear identity: stuck in the middle
  10. 10. Restaurateurs vs. consumers The factors of menu, decoration, atmospherics, the use of traditional recipes, the food quality, the music, the costumes or even the ethnicity of the employees, echo those reported in the existing literature about consumers’ influential factors when judging the authenticity of ethnic restaurants. This paper has offered a conceptualisation of the term authenticity from a producer perspective. Restaurateurs construct authenticity meanings filtered by their identity “lens”. Findingsinrelationwiththeliterature
  11. 11. Future research In the future, a comparison with consumers’ perceptions could be beneficial and that is possible by conducting in-depth interviews with customers of ethnic restaurants. Moreover, a similar research about ethnic restaurants of different ethnicities may result in a more globalised definition of food authenticity. Futureresearch
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  15. 15. Thank you e.chatzopoulou@ncl.ac.uk

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