Purpose: The study selected five small-scale food operations as visual stimuli and eye-tracking experiment was conducted with 36 female participants in a laboratory setting. Heat maps were used to visualize viewers' visual attention on the storefronts. The eye-movement data were analyzed using one-way repeated ANOVA to identify a significant difference between stimuli in terms of average fixation duration, fixation counts and revisits. An independent t-test was also used to examine statistical difference among text and image in menu board. The significance cut-off of p-value was set to <0.05. Design/methodology/approach: The exteriors of food-service establishments are major business representation. However, few studies have been conducted to examine customers' visual processing toward small-scale restaurants. The present study accordingly aims to discover customers' different levels of attention to the frontage in food stands through eye tracking, which would be practical for future owners to plan their exterior shop design. Findings: The findings can be summarized as follows: First, upper board shows the highest level of attention, suggesting an optimal location of menu board for grasping customers' attention. Second, customers also gaze the inside of a store along with the food on display, which are related with food hygiene and the perception. Third, textual information on menu boards tends to attract more visual attention than those of images. Overall, the current study indicates various customers' attention toward the location of menu boards as well as the type of visual information on menu board. Originality/value: The results of this study make a new insight into customers' viewing behavior toward exteriors of food-service establishments. This study is one of the first attempts to explore how customers distribute visual attention to the exterior images of food stand by using eye-tracking technology. The findings of this research thus enrich the food-service literature and offer meaningful discoveries on customers' visual behaviors. For example, this study suggests that customers tend to be attracted to textual information on menu boards rather than graphical ones.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.
© 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited.
- Customer visual attention
- Food stand
- Menu information