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An Overview of the Foodservice Consumer

  • John S. A. EdwardsEmail author
Living reference work entry

Abstract

This chapter provides the second part of the introduction to foodservice and focuses on the “demand side,” that is the consumer, in order to offer a better understanding, thereby putting the foodservice industry into context.

The number of people eating out of the home has increased worldwide although the rate of increase varies with the Asia-Pacific region increasing at the fastest rate. Although there are little reliable international comparative data, it would seem that in many countries, the amount of money spent on eating out is similar to that spent on eating at home.

The possible reasons for people eating out are identified, and approaches to meet this demand center either on putting the focus on the consumer and building the product (and service) around those reasons or putting the emphasis on the product then identifying consumers for those products and services. In most cases, though, consumers, when dining out, are not only looking for food, drink, and service that meet and satisfy their expectations but they are also looking for other factors, which here and elsewhere are often referred to as experiences. A number of factors synergistically, create that experience. More recently, these ideas have been developed and brought together describing the situation as the experience economy.

This chapter in looking at the consumer when eating out considers factors such as the growth and size of the eating out market, along with current patterns of eating out; the frequency of eating out and what establishments are chosen; the most important factors driving decisions; and the time taken to eat out.

However, a note of caution is offered, principally the fact that meals eaten out of the home may be less healthy than those cooked at home, and foodservice operators will need to consider all of the issues involved as they move forward.

Introduction

This chapter provided an overview, an introduction to foodservice and the foodservice industry. This chapter of the introduction considers the demand side, that is the customer and consumer aspects of foodservice, in order to provide a better understanding and put the foodservice industry into context.

Background, History, and Development

Eating out is not new. It is something that has taken place for centuries although until the latter part of the nineteenth century, it would probably have been confined to a small proportion of the population. Throughout the world, the main type of eating establishment has always been the street kitchen (vendor), where a busy person could buy a precooked dish for a modest sum (Pitte 1999). In Roman times, cooking equipment for the poor was primitive, fuel was in short supply, and the ever-present danger of fire in houses ensured that little cooking was undertaken at home. Instead, individuals used the numerous cookshops where they could purchase dishes that included slices of roast pork, salt fish, goat’s milk cheese, or more often, a handful of olives, raw beans or figs (Tannahill 1988).

This situation prevailed for many centuries, but it was not necessarily the lack of time that was the issue but often the lack of facilities. In the middle ages, in Europe, for example, few houses, particularly in cities, had adequate kitchens or cooking facilities, hence much of the food consumed at home was purchased from public cookshops where customers could either buy hot ready-prepared dishes or they could send their own joints to be cooked (Hammond 1993).

The first mention of cookshops in the UK was in London in 1183 (Curtis-Bennett 1949), and many were grouped together, often according to what they sold, hence in London, for example, streets were given the appropriate name (Pudding Lane, Pye (Pie) Corner). During the middle ages, most countries had cookshops and by comparison, those of China’s were well advanced. As well as the more traditional eating houses, China also had fast food operations, hotels, taverns, teahouses, noodle shops, and wine shops (Tannahill 1988).

Various estimates have been made as to the size of this early eating out population and one consideration is that up to the middle of the nineteenth century and the spread of the railways, something like 90% of the population would never have travelled further than 5 or 10 miles from their home (Tannahill 1988). Hence, with the exception of people such as merchants and pilgrims, most of those who were able and could afford to eat out would have done so within the geographical limits of their own town. What has changed and what is new is that in the last hundred years, eating out in its various guises, and for a variety of different reasons, has become increasingly popular and is now very much part of everyday life.

Global data on the changes in eating out are difficult to find, but one example, illustrative of the changes and growth in eating out, compared with food eaten at home, can be taken from data collected by the US Department of Agriculture and shown in Fig. 1.
Fig. 1

Percentage changes in spending on eating at home and eating out. (Source: Adapted from Perry (2015) using data from United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service)

As can be seen, more and more people are eating out of the home, caused by a number of factors; these include:
  • A growing population which is also aging

  • More women in the workforce, hence not at home and able to shop, prepare, and cook meals

  • Greater urbanization;

  • Higher disposable incomes

  • A more hectic lifestyle, often with long working hours, competing with demands for a limited amount of time

  • Increasing availability of foodservice outlets, at work and elsewhere, offering a variety of cuisines at prices people are able to afford and willing to pay

In many countries, eating out has become a way of life, often considered as being “circular.” As more people eat out, eating out places and meals become more readily available and cheaper, and therefore, more people eat out, and they do so for a myriad of reasons.

Reasons for Eating Out

The reasons for an increase in the number of people eating out are not merely a matter of the ability to pay or the degree of convenience, important though they are, but also the matter of social relationships in the home, perceptions of treats and luxuries, and sets of values and judgements about food and eating in public which are differently distributed across the population (Warde and Martens 1998).

Historically, it was considered (Murcott 1997) that eating out was most likely to be associated with a series of socioeconomic characteristics, outlined below, although it is doubtful whether these hold good today. They may, perhaps, be relevant to “fine-dining,” not so with fast food and other quick-service restaurants.
  • High income

  • Being of a higher social class

  • In full-time employment

  • Highly educated

  • Being younger

  • Being unmarried

  • Having no children in the household

In Europe, it was not until the mid-1960s that authors really attempted to analyze, understand, and explain the phenomenon of eating out, identify what diners might be looking for, and what influenced their decisions both to eat out and affect their “enjoyment.” The work generally credited with starting the process, The Marketing of the Meal Experience (Campbell-Smith 1967) which, in addition to approaching and evaluating eating out in marketing terms, also established the term, the meal experience, a term to broadly describe the factors associated with eating a meal.

In his deliberations, Campbell-Smith (1967, p. 75) identified 43 separate reasons why people eat out and categorized them into four broad areas, namely:
  • Functional eating at home or in “digs” lodgings)

  • Pleasurable eating at home

  • Eating at work, school, or university

  • Eating in other situations

Since then, a number of authors have developed their own characterizations of eating out.

Cullen (1994) provides a much simpler distinction and gives two categorizations: social eating and convenience eating. The former a means to an end, which must also fulfil a social function if they are to be successful; the latter consisting of meals and snacks which enable more time and effort to be devoted to other activities. In practice, social eating is further divided into two categories: the formal social event which is part of a planned routine and entails activities such as dressing-up. These meals only adjust slowly to changing circumstances, such as income, and are probably associated with an older age group. Informal social functions are not connected to any specific activity and dressing-up is not involved.

Johns et al. (1996), drawing on other work, have suggested that the “product” of any foodservice operation is “an amalgam of tangible and intangible components.” The quality of the meal experience they consider as being equivalent to the overall service quality which they divide into three broad categories or factors:
  • Those concerned with customer traits and preferences

  • Those which are directly important in terms of managing the foodservice outlet (although it is not clear why these should be of any consequence to the consumer)

  • Those which seem intuitively to be attributes or benefits of eating outside the home

O’Conner (2000) considers four basic reasons for eating out on a continuum ranging from “pure pleasure” to “pure necessity,” although he acknowledges that there is considerable overlap. The categories suggested are:
  • Necessity for example, travel, work, or study

  • Contingency for example, association with other activities such as shopping and leisure

  • Time-saving for example, association with female employment

  • Pleasure for example, social, family and friends meeting, celebrations, gastronomy

What these all have in common is that they present a very mechanistic categorization of eating out. The assumption perhaps is that each occasion fits neatly into a box, and once this initial sort has been completed, there is little else that can be done other than to measure the effectiveness of this categorization. But is that the case?

Social scientists take a somewhat different stance and often classify the circumstances of eating out into enabling and constraining factors. These include aspects such as the economic ability to be able to afford to eat out (economic access), appropriate social skills (social access), and the levels of provision (Wood 1990).

Gillespie and Cousins (2001) suggest that the reasons for eating out can be summarized under seven headings:
  • Convenience, for example, being unable to return home as in the case of shoppers or people at work or involved in some leisure activity

  • Variety, for example, trying new experiences or as a break from home cooking

  • Labor, for example, getting someone else to prepare, serve food, and wash up or simply the physical impossibilities to house special events at home

  • Status, for example, business lunches or people eating out because others of their socioeconomic group do so

  • Culture/tradition, for example, special events or simply because it is a way of getting to know people

  • Impulse, for example, simply spur-of-the-moment buying

  • No choice, for example, those in welfare, hospitals, or other forms of semi or captive markets

To which we might also add:
  • Pleasure – social occasions, both formal and informal, special occasions, or celebrations

  • Purely as an experience – to experience and enjoy different cuisines, as part of another event, as a change, mood.

Clearly, the rationale and reasons for eating out will vary enormously, although in one study of fast food restaurants, the most frequently reported reasons for eating out were that fast food is quick (92%); restaurants are easy to get to (80%); and food tastes good (69%). The least frequently reported reasons were: eating fast food is a way of socializing with family and friends (33%), restaurants have nutritious foods to offer (21%), and restaurants are fun and entertaining (12%) (Rydell et al. 2008).

Approaches to Addressing Consumer Demand

Identifying and satisfying consumers’ and potential consumers’ demands can be approached in a number of ways but in essence all focus on whether the product and service should be put first, then consumers identified or encouraged to consume that product and service; or whether consumers are put first, their needs, wants, and aspirations identified, then the product and service adapted to satisfy those aspects.

Kotler and Armstrong (2018) have identified and explained this situation in each of these concepts:
  • The production concept: This suggests that consumers will favor and prefer products (and services) which are expensive and, as a result, seek these out. It could be argued that “Michelin Star” restaurants might fall into this category.

  • The product concept: This suggests that consumers will favor those products and services which are perfect in terms of quality, innovation, and provide the best value for money. The product and service are the most important issues and every attempt should be made to improve these. It suggests that when applied to foodservice outlet must use the finest ingredients and so on, produce the best possible food and meals along with an exceptional standard of service. In that way, consumers will recognize the quality of the offering and seek to buy it. This might manifest itself in a number of ways in “up-market” restaurants, but perhaps in many cases, it is an approach which satisfies the foodservice operators’ own interpretation of what is required and to meet his or hers ego, rather than providing products and services that the consumer actually wants.

  • The selling concept: This assumes that the consumer does not really know what he or she wants, and that the only way of achieving sales is to promote the product in some way. It might be argued that some approaches to healthy eating follow this idea and place a greater emphasis on, and seek to sell, the idea of “healthy” products rather than to explain their benefits and provide dishes which meet the desired criteria and which the consumer actually enjoys and therefore wants.

  • The marketing concept: This concept turns the focus on to the consumer and attempts to identify exactly what the consumer would like, where, when, and how he/she would like it and at what price he might be prepared to pay. The product and service are then developed accordingly. It could be argued that fast food exemplifies this concept.

A development on from this is the Societal Marketing Concept which addresses some of the concerns of consumers with regard to shared values and environmental issues. Can the needs, wants, and aspirations of the consumer be satisfied but with due regard to areas such as the environment? For example, is the packaging minimalistic, recyclable; is the food sourcing sustainable; and is waste avoided?

As in so many instances, none of these approaches on their own might be entirely suitable and a combination could be used in order to bring the foodservice provider and consumer together.

The Meal Experience and the Experience Economy

The theme running through a lot of the reasons for eating out center on the fact that in many instances, people who eat out are not necessarily looking solely at the food and may well be influenced by many other aspects (Edwards 2013). In addition, they may, perhaps unbeknown to themselves, be looking for an experience.

The meal experience identified a number of issues, but the concept was taken to another level with “the experience economy,” articulated and popularized by Pine II and Gilmore in 1998/1999 (Pine II and Gilmore 2011). Here the authors argue that we have moved on from our original roots, based on agriculture, extractive, and mining, through production and services and what people now demand is much more subtle. They are not looking, necessarily for goods and services, although these are or maybe important, if not essential. In many instances, consumers are looking for more, they are looking for experiences, which are not delivered but staged! Fig. 2.
Fig. 2

The progression and development of economic value. (Source: Adapted from Pine II and Gilmore 1998)

Hence, in many foodservice operations, the emphasis is not necessarily on providing meals and service, although these are important, the emphasis is on providing an experience; not on delivering a service but of staging a “production” throughout the meal; not necessarily on providing a service which is not only intangible but also something which is completely different from other outlets and is, therefore, memorable; the meal is not simply delivered to the table but revealed over time, over the course of the complete meal; not something provided by the restauranteur but staged by the staff, waiters, or waitresses who in reality are actors within the “show”; no longer customers but as so often referred to in hospitality as guests; and the outcomes are not benefits, both tangible and intangible, but on sensations. The relevance and application to the foodservice industry are summarized in Table 1.
Table 1

The application of the experience economy to the foodservice industry

Traditional dimension

Traditional foodservice approach

Transforming eating out to an experience

Management

Manager

Host or mine host

Staffing

Waiting staff

Cast, crew, actors

Production/manufacturing

Food preparation

Food theatre

End users

Customers or clients

Guests

Delivery/sales

Food is served

Meals are staged

Customers

Customer interaction

Guest engagement

Timeline

Meals served as courses

Meals revealed over time

Customer relations

Customer service

Complete performance

Customer requirements

Functional operation

Experiential

Delivered

Customer led

Host led

Offering

Intangible operation

Memorable event

Characteristics explained

Benefits emphasized

Sensations realized

Characteristics static

Measured interaction

Generosity throughout

Sources: Adapted from Pine II and Gilmore (1998, 1999)

Clearly though, while many foodservice outlets might now be perceived as belonging to and benefiting from an understanding of the experience economy, a number, for example, prisons and hospitals, might not fit into this category but in the latter category, hospitals, where food is generally regarded as part of the treatment, there may be some merit to this approach. Similarly, consumers may not be looking for an experience but simply be hungry and looking for something to eat.

A more recent construct (Collier et al. 2018) that represents unique service experiences is the Idiosyncratic Service Experience (ISE). This is made up of perceived employee effort, surprise, and perceived employee empathy. These, it is said, promote feelings of delight which lead to a higher tolerance to future failures, decreased price consciousness, and stimulated self-enhancing word-of-mouth. Exception making or the willingness of an employee to break a service norm influences ISEs and evaluations of delight. It will be interesting to see if and how these might be applied to the foodservice industry.

Current Patterns of Eating Out

Worldwide, food consumed out of the home now represents an increasing proportion of total food consumption as previously shown in Fig. 1, and a myriad of statistics are available. Caution needs to be exercised with many of these figures, not only for reasons of definition and categorization identified in this chapter, but also partly because some data are contradictory and in a number of global household surveys, only 42% actually met the minimum criteria deemed reliability (Smith et al. 2014). In addition, many of the reports available show changes, for example, in consumption patterns without really explaining why, leaving the reader to surmise. Despite these limitations, most of the available data provide a broad indication of trends and developments.

Growth and Size of the Eating Out Market

Notwithstanding, from the data available, and as noted earlier, the global foodservice industry had a compound annual growth rate of 4.5% between 2012 and 2016 with total revenues of US$3628.6bn (Business Wire 2018). This global breakdown of this is given in Fig. 3.
Fig. 3

Global breakdown of all consumers spending on eating out (2016). (Source: Cushman and Wakefield 2017)

The number of people eating out is increasing and the Asia-Pacific region has been the fastest growing region with spending on eating out averaging an annual growth of 9.8% in the years 2006–2016. In the period 2017–2026, the annual average growth is forecast to be of 7.5%.

In the Middle East and Africa, the annual average growth rate was 7.4% between the years 2006 and 2016. The annual average growth for the years 2017–2026 is forecast to be at 7.3%.

North America and Europe are generally regarded as being the most mature markets, hence growth between 2006 and 2016 has been lower at 6.1% and 4.2%, respectively. The annual average growth forecasts for 2017–2026, however, remain positive but are lower with North America forecast to grow by 5.5% over the period and Europe by 4.9% (Cushman and Wakefield 2017).

Despite the fast growth in the Asia-Pacific region, the USA is currently the world’s largest foodservice market and which is estimated will continue to be so up to 2026 with China retaining its second place, as seen in Table 2. It is interesting to note from this table the rapid growth of India and to a lesser extent Venezuela and Indonesia with the decline of Canada. It is far from clear why this growth might be happening although one explanation advanced in the reports centers on increases and changes in ages of the populations together with higher incomes and opportunities in outlets located in places such as shopping malls (Cushman and Wakefield 2017).
Table 2

Rankings of the largest foodservice markets 2006–2026

Country

2006

2016

2026

The USA

1

1

1

China

3

2

2

India

14

3

3

Spain

2

4

5

Japan

4

5

7

UK

5

6

4

Brazil

6

7

8

Italy

7

8

9

Thailand

12

9

6

Germany

8

10

11

France

9

11

12

South Korea

11

12

13

Venezuela

27

13

10

Hong Kong

15

14

16

Russia

13

15

17

Turkey

17

16

19

Canada

10

17

23

Taiwan

20

18

18

Colombia

21

19

20

Indonesia

23

20

14

Source: Cushman and Wakefield (2017)

Meals Eaten Out

Eating out, with the exception of Latin America, is primarily associated with the evening meal, followed by lunch then breakfast, as shown in Fig. 4. However, this trend may be changing in some markets. In the USA, for example, respondents are more likely than average to report that they eat breakfast at a restaurant (21% versus 16% globally). Many establishments are capitalizing on this by expanding their menus with items suitable for consumers who have little time for a formal meal. Coffee shops, for example, are enlarging their menus to include more breakfast options, while some quick-service restaurants have introduced breakfast service or made “breakfast” available all day (Nielsen 2018). The Asia-Pacific and North America are particularly avid out-of-home diners.
Fig. 4

Percentage of diners eating meals out of the home. (Source: Nielsen 2018)

Frequency of Eating Out

Eating out has not only become more prevalent with people reporting that they are eating out on multiple occasions as shown in Fig. 5. Nearly half of global respondents (48%) eat out of the home weekly or more often, with more respondents in Europe reporting that they only eat out once per week (Nielsen 2018).
Fig. 5

Frequency of eating out of the home. Note: Figures do not sum due to rounding. (Source: Nielsen 2018)

Establishments Frequented When Eating Out

Globally, 57% of diners who say they eat out do so at fast food restaurants, whereas the figure for North America is 69%. Malaysia (51%), Taiwan (50%), and Vietnam (48%) are the most likely to say they eat food from street food vendors, Fig. 6.
Fig. 6

Establishments frequented when eating out of the home. (Source: Nielsen 2018)

Most Important Factors When Eating Out

In terms of what drives the decision as to where to eat out, reasonably food prices and food quality are the two most important attributes in all continents, Fig. 7. Price is of far more importance in Europe, by 10%. Interestingly, perhaps, is that service is of least important in North America, and good hygiene is most important in the Asia-Pacific region, least important in Europe and North America. Could it be that when considering where to eat out, these two aspects are taken as given and should be expected? Type of cuisine and convenient location are most important in North America.
Fig. 7

Top six factors in importance when eating out. Note: Percentage stating which is the most or the second-most important factor when choosing where to eat out. (Source: Nielsen 2018)

Time Spent Eating and Drinking

Eating, both in and out of the home, is an important leisure activity, although unfortunately no internationally comparative data are readily available to separate the two issues. The available data show the total amount of time people spend eating and drinking varies by country, Fig. 8. Here it can be seen that European countries occupy the top three positions spending over 2 h, with the USA at the bottom, taking less than half the time as the top country, France. These data, as interesting as they might be, also provide an indication as to what type of foodservice operation might be most suitable for each country and what operators might need to consider when they expand internationally.
Fig. 8

Time spent daily eating and drinking – hours (h) and minutes (m). (Source: Statista 2018a)

Caution When Eating Out

The continued expansion of the eating out market is not without its negative aspects, some of which were considered in this chapter, and which the foodservice industry needs to take into consideration. It has been suggested, for example, that eating out might be less healthy than meals consumed at home, and while data are available for a few countries, primarily the USA and UK, very little comparative data are available globally.

The rapid growth of the fast food in China has become a public health concern. Data collected from multiple sources and analyzed identified over two million fast food facilities where the total revenue had increased from US$10,464 m in 1999 to US$94,218 m in 2013. This was attributed to increased income, greater urbanization, busier lifestyle, fast service, assurance of food safety, and new brands and foods. However, the rapid increase in consumption had negative health consequences including obesity-related risks (Wang et al. 2016).

Certainly it has been suggested that taste preferences or other factors, independent of demographic characteristics, might explain the decision to eat at fast food or sit-down restaurants. In the USA, greater frequency of eating at fast food restaurants has been associated with less healthful eating habits, but no associations were found between frequency of sit-down restaurants (Close et al. 2016).

In the most recent study (Robinson et al. 2018), the energy content of meals served in “full-service” restaurants’ in the UK were shown to be higher than fast-food chains. In a study of more than 13,500 meals served in 21 full-service restaurants and 6 fast-food chains, the mean energy content of main meals was 977 kcal. It was shown that the average energy content of main meals served in full-service restaurants was 268 kcal higher than that of main meals served by fast food restaurants. Full-service restaurants also tended to serve more high calorie main meals and provide fewer main meals meeting public health recommendations for energy consumption.

Interestingly, though, irrespective of whether or not a person is trying to lose weight, cooking dinner frequently at home is associated with the consumption of a healthier diet which may also assist when eating out of the home. Strategies are needed to encourage more cooking among the general population and help infrequent cookers better navigate the food environment outside the home (Wolfson and Bleich 2015).

It has been suggested, therefore, that if foodservice operators are to address these issues and increase their businesses, they should focus on health and convenience, particularly at breakfast. Consumers often have less time for meal planning and preparation, but quality, taste, and freshness remain critical. Hence, menus which include and emphasis healthy benefits are even better positioned to succeed (Nielsen 2018).

Summary and Conclusions

This chapter, being the second part of the introduction to foodservice, considers the “demand side,” that is the consumer, in order to offer a better understanding, thereby putting the foodservice industry into context.

The demand for eating out has increased, and although there are little reliable, readily available, and comparative international data, it would seem that in in many countries, the amount of money spent on eating in the home is similar to that spent on eating out of the home.

People eat out for a number of reasons which are identified, and approaches to meet that demand center on either putting the focus on the consumer and building the product and service that satisfies those demands or putting the emphasis on the product then and identifying consumers for those products (and services). In most cases, though, consumers, when dining out are not only looking for food, drink, and service that meet and satisfy their expectations, but they are also looking for other factors, which here and elsewhere are often referred to as experiences. A number of factors, synergistically, create that experience. More recently, these ideas have been developed and brought together, describing the situation as the experience economy.

This chapter, in looking at the consumer when eating out, considers factors such as the growth and size of the eating out market, along with current patterns of eating out; the frequency of eating out and what establishments are chosen; the most important factors driving decisions when eating out; and the time taken to eat out.

However, a note of caution is offered, principally the fact that meals eaten out of the home may be less healthy than those cooked at home, and foodservice operators will need to consider all of the issues involved as they move forward.

And Beyond

What then is the future for the foodservice industry and eating out of the home, and where are they heading? What will people be eating in the next 5, 10 years, or even beyond? How will the foodservice industry adapt to meet changing trends and demands, or will the foodservice industry lead, grow the market, and provide an offering that consumers will react to? These are but some of the questions often posed by many trying to keep abreast, or more importantly, ahead in the market place.

However, forecasting the future is not easy:

The only thing we know about the future is that it is going to be different. (Drucker 1986)

Predictions are difficult, especially when they involve the future. (Usually attributed to Mark Twain)

But some effort to provide a forecast is needed for businesses to develop and survive.

Clearly, and as already alluded in this chapter and An Overview of the Foodservice Consumer, the foodservice industry does not operate in a vacuum and needs to be aware of what is happening, locally, nationally, and globally. Population trends – the growth, aging and movement of populations, sustainability, availability, and growing scarcity of resources including energy and water – are just some of the issues that need to be considered. In other words, it is important for the foodservice industry to remember and consider the “bigger picture” in order to fully appreciate where it might be heading and how, therefore, to react to it.

Many foodservice companies have part of their organization specifically devoted to keeping up-to-date with trends and have budgets allocated accordingly. Other market research-based companies also provide such a service but these tend to be expensive, especially for an individual.

There are a number of websites which provide “snippets” of information, summaries if not full reports which are useful for anyone to help keep abreast. A sample of such sites is given below:

Information snippets from full reports

Foodservice Market – Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends, and Forecast, 2016–2024. (TMR 2018)

The global contract catering market is anticipated to reach revenues of around US$264 billion by 2023. (Cision 2018)

Full reports

The global food and beverage market. What’s on the menu? (Cushman and Wakefield 2017)

What’s in our food and on our mind. Ingredient and dining out trends around the world. (Nielson 2018)

One very useful source of information is Statista (2018b) who provide a free service with a lot of information, much of which covered is relevant to the foodservice industry and which has been used in these introductory chapters. Pieced together, these can provide information thereby enabling foodservice outlets to keep abreast of changes, so as to position themselves to react to, reflect, or influence changes in supply and demand.

And Finally

In a perverse way, the influence of the foodservice industry can be illustrated by the “Big Mac Index.” This index, developed by “The Economist” and published annually since 1986, compares the purchasing power of a McDonald’s “Big Mac” in each country measured in US$, thus providing a measure of the purchasing power parity (PPP) between different countries. An extract from the most recent index is given in Fig. 9.
Fig. 9

Big Mac index – global prices (US$) for a Big Mac in July 2018. (Source: Adapted from Statista 2018c)

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bournemouth UniversityPooleUK

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