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Price-ending practices and cultural differences in the food service industry: a study of Taiwanese restaurants

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Abstract

Menu price endings communicate more than economic worth. Restaurateurs encourage consumers to attribute intrinsic meaning to specific price endings, such as quality and value, but these derived meanings are not universally accepted. This study indicates that Taiwanese restaurateurs use price-ending digits in varying frequencies and may attribute different meanings to menu price-ending digits compared to US restaurateurs. For instance, digit 4 is perceived as a negative number and rarely used for price-ending purposes by the Taiwanese. Although digit 8 is perceived as a lucky number, it is used less frequently than digits 0 and 5. There is an emerging trend to use digit 9 as a price-ending choice in the quick service restaurant (QSR) segment indicating adoption of Western pricing practices. In spite of widespread westernization, the Taiwanese still hold many traditional cultural beliefs that affect their pricing strategies. Food production methods have remained largely traditional, although there is an emerging trend to adopt Western methods in the QSR segment.
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Keywords: Taiwan; consumer behavior; menu prices; persuasion; price endings; restaurants

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Hospitality Management, The Ohio State University, 313 Campbell Hall, 1787 Neil Ave, Columbus, OH 43210, USA

Publication date: March 1, 2004

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