Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2018

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

M.S. in Food and Nutrition Services

Department

Nutrition and Hospitality Management

First Advisor

Mary G. Roseman

Second Advisor

Laurel G. Lambert

Third Advisor

Eun Kyong Choi

Abstract

With the vast amount of quick service restaurants (QSRs) that are available to consumers in the United States (U.S.), the hospitality industry has become an integral part of Americans’ diet and lifestyle. This study examines how McDonald’s customers’ perceptions of health and nutrition, quality, and value vary demographically (gender, age, ethnicity, educational level, and body mass index [BMI]) by McDonald’s visit frequency. An online survey was employed to collect data of participants who were 18 years of age and older, McDonald’s customers, and a resident of the U.S. Of the 843 respondents who filled out the survey, 607 (72%) surveys were usable. The survey consisted of 17 statements regarding McDonald’s menu items, along with demographic questions, and questions regarding McDonald’s visit frequency. The data were compiled and analyzed using SPSS version 24. Frequencies of participants’ demographics were computed and multiple regression analyses were employed to investigate the relationship of McDonald’s visit frequency among the following: demographics, perceptions of health and nutrition, quality, and value, and the 17 statements. Findings regarding demographics only show that individuals most likely to visit McDonald’s are obese and between the ages of 35-44, whereas individuals aged 55 and older are least likely to visit. When examining demographics with the three perception categories, there is a difference in significance regarding age and visit frequency: those aged 35-44 are no longer significant, and individuals least likely to visit McDonald’s are now 45 years and older; additionally, those who obese are still more likely to visit McDonald’s than their BMI counterparts. Customers who visit McDonald’s most often had significantly higher perceptions of health and nutrition and quality of McDonald’s food than they did of value perceptions. Lastly, results show that customers appear to frequent McDonald’s for factors such as taste and the availability of healthy options, but adequate helpings, controlled product quality, and the availability of low-calorie meals are negatively associated with visit frequency to McDonald’s.

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Nutrition Commons

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