The matching effect of local food and color on ethical dining behaviors: the roles of credibility and green image

Eun Joo Kim, Esther L. Kim, Minji Kim, Jason Tang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: This study aims to identify how restaurants can effectively initiate communication via social media to promote ethical dining behaviors. This research investigates the psychological mechanism of how the matching effect of color and a sustainability activity influence customer attitude toward a restaurant and the role of perceived credibility and green image. Design/methodology/approach: Two experimental studies were conducted. Study 1 used a 2 food source (non-sustainable vs sustainable) × 2 color consistency (inconsistent vs consistent) factorial design (n = 231). Study 2 used a 2 food origin (world-famous vs locally renowned) × 2 color consistency (inconsistent vs consistent) factorial design (n = 220). Findings: The results indicate that the matching effect from the marketing effect of sustainability significantly promotes customer attitudes and visit intentions when background color is consistent. An unexpected matching effect was found between a non-sustainable restaurant using world-famous food with its associated color. This research demonstrates a moderation effect of credibility and a mediation effect of green image to explain the ethical decision-making process for customers. Practical implications: The findings provide suggestions for restaurant marketers to effectively advertise sustainability initiatives and practices using color as a marketing tool via social media. Originality/value: This research is one of the earliest studies to investigate the effect of color consistency with primary information to demonstrate how consumers respond to restaurant sustainability in social media messages using local food.

Keywords

  • Color psychology
  • Local food
  • Marketing message
  • Matching effect
  • Perceived credibility
  • Sustainability

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