updated - January 23, 2020 Thursday EST
A recent study by Stanford Graduate School of Business reveals that customers prefer authenticity over cleanliness.
The results showed that customers are willing to overlook slight in cleanliness as long as the dining place offers authentic cuisines. Though they may be give low ratings for cleanliness, it's something that can be foreshadowed by their opinion of the restaurant's authenticity. The study showed that they value authentic yet unhygienic restaurants just as much as the hygienic ones. There's a lesser value for restaurants with low grades in both hygiene and authenticity.
Glenn Caroll, the study's head researcher, and his colleagues sampled user reviews posted online for 9,734 restaurants in Los Angeles County. The researchers determined that consumers look at two social factors when assessing restaurants. First one is the imperative code that's the rational judgment of a restaurant's implementation of the health regulations, and the other is interpretative code which focuses on the restaurant following cultural norms when preparing the dishes.
The study juxtaposed these factors and the restaurants' health grade from the public health department. They countered the results with the number of stars the businesses receive for cleanliness and created a hygiene score based on written reviews. To analyze the authenticity, they did the same thing but this time, searched for keywords relating to authenticity.
When consumers find two contradicting factors, they tend to overstep one factor and focus on the other. In this case, they rather focus on the authenticity over the cleanliness.
The results of the study supports the recently repealed bill in California. The government repealed a law saying that anyone in the food business must require gloves when handling ready-to-eat foods after the outcry from sushi chefs and bartenders. Same goes for the hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurants who don't particularly pride themselves for cleanliness.
Though the study focused on restaurants, it can be used other line of businesses that are also focused in producing or delivering services seen as authentic.
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