Transparency, authenticity and purchase intentions: Chinese independent restaurants

Huijun Yang, Hanqun Song, Qing Shan Ding, Hanjun Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Drawing on signalling theory and focusing on independent restaurants, this study aims to investigate how business signals (transparency information and exposure) affect business transparency, food authenticity and, ultimately, purchase intentions. Design/methodology/approach: Using a 2 × 2 between-subject experimental design, Study 1 examines the recipe and an internet-famous restaurant, and Study 2 assesses the food supply chain and a celebrity-owned restaurant. Analysis of covariance and PROCESS are used to analyse the data. Findings: The results suggest that while revealing information on recipes and food supply chains positively affects business transparency, exposure has no significant impact. Additionally, secret recipes and revealed food supply chains contribute to higher food authenticity, whilst being a celebrity owner or internet-famous restaurant negatively affects food authenticity. Research limitations/implications: Restaurant managers must be strategic and selective about the kinds of business signals they wish to reveal to customers. Secret recipes lead to higher food authenticity, whereas the revealed recipes and revealed food supply chains elicit higher business transparency. Independent restaurants should not rely on celebrity owners or seek internet fame, as neither type of exposure contributes to transparency or authenticity. Originality/value: This study advances the theoretical understanding of signalling theory relating to the determinants of transparency and food authenticity in a hospitality context. Contrary to previous studies, it reveals that exposure, as a transparency signal, has no impact on either business transparency or food authenticity. It extends knowledge and understanding of different types of independent restaurants, especially internet-famous restaurants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4245-4265
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management
Issue number11
Early online date15 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2022


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