The Halo Effect Created for Restaurants that Source Food Locally

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Restaurant, Locally-sourced food, Local food, Locally sourced restaurant, Halo effect, Food-related lifestyles, Green restaurant practices, Food labeling

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Daniels College of Business, Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management


This research investigated inferences consumers make about restaurants that market their use of locally sourced food (LSF) ingredients using the halo effect as a theoretical foundation. Food produced and sold within a certain geographical radius (typically under 400 miles) is considered LSF. Hypothesized was that simply labelling a restaurant as using LSF would create a positive halo effect (a positive perceptual bias) and promote beliefs about the restaurant’s attributes that were unrelated to LSF. The results of an experiment with 313 participants suggest that LSF labeling in restaurants produces a positive halo effect. Participants assumed that a restaurant using LSF was more environmentally friendly, served a healthier/more nutritious menu, was more conveniently located, and was more likely to use natural/organic ingredients than was a similar restaurant that did not use LSF. Additionally, participants’ food-related lifestyles were significant moderators, with those most concerned about (1) the healthiness of the food they eat, and (2) the joy they get from eating and socializing over food, being most strongly influenced by the positive LSF-halo. Overall, the results indicate that restaurants may benefit from the positive glow created from the halo effect of sourcing food locally.

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