The Influence of the Smiley Scheme on the Brand Value of Danish Restaurants in Relation to Consumers’ Decision-making Behaviour

Amalie Glied-Olsen

Studenteropgave: Kandidatafhandlinger


Consumers behave differently depending on their needs in a particular situation. When choosing a certain restaurant, a great variety of factors may play a role in the decision-making process. One way of narrowing down the choice of restaurant can be the smiley-reports issued as part of the Smiley Scheme program provided by the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration. The smiley- reports are a simple way, by the use of smileys, to communicate the outcome of authority inspections related to food risks with particular focus on hygiene within the food service industry.
This master’s thesis investigated and analysed the influence of the smiley-reports displayed at restaurants in Denmark on consumer behaviour. Earlier research about symbolic values of brands and marketing within the service industry have been reviewed to gain an understanding of the topic to present and understand the research area. This has been used to construct the practical consumer element of the thesis.
The objective of the research was to gain a better understanding of the influence of the Smiley Scheme on consumers’ decision-making behaviour and, thus, the possible effect on restaurant’s brand value. The research was inspired by the fact that the Smiley Scheme was presented as highly successful by the authorities because the number of positive inspection reports has increased significantly since the introduction of the Smiley Scheme.
A study was conducted on the Smiley Scheme in terms of how consumers use the information from the reports in connection to a restaurant visit. The study was carried out by the use of a questionnaire with 161 answers.
The results showed that Danish restaurant customers are well-aware of the Smiley Scheme and the smiley-reports as means of communicating the results. However, the main reasons for selecting a restaurant were factors other than the results in the smiley-report. In addition, the findings indicate that the selection process of a certain restaurant also depends on socio- demographic factors, such as the place of residency and age group.
The conclusion from the analysis is that the results from the inspections publicized on the smiley- reports does not have any significant influence on the consumer behaviour related to the selection of restaurants. Consequently, other marketing instruments than a happy smiley-report, as it is designed at the time of the publication of this thesis, would be more successful to attract customers. Service Management, (Kandidatuddannelse) Afsluttende afhandling
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