Journal List > J Nutr Health > v.47(6) > 1081367

J Nutr Health. 2014 Dec;47(6):463-474. Korean.
Published online December 31, 2014.
© 2014 The Korean Nutrition Society
Customer perception and expert assessment in restaurant food environment by region: Focused on restaurants in Suwon, Hwaseong city
Mi Hyun Oh,1 Jeong-sook Choe,1 Young Kim,1 Sang Eun Lee,2 Hee Young Paik,2 and Mi Jin Jang3
1National Academy of Agricultural Science, Rural Development Administration, Wanju-gun, Jeonbuk 565-851, Korea.
2Department of Foods and Nutrition, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-741, Korea.
3Department of Public Health and Nutrition, Graduate School of Public Health, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-741, Korea.

To whom correspondence should be addressed. tel: +82-63-238-3590, Email:
Received April 22, 2014; Revised May 15, 2014; Accepted November 12, 2014.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.



The aim of this study was to assess the food environment, particularly focusing on restaurants in three areas (Suwon city, Hwaseong Byeongieom-dong, and Bibong-myun).


A total of 662 persons were surveyed on customers' perceptions of the food environment in restaurants. A structured questionnaire composed of 30 questions on 7 factors, sanitation (4 items), displaying information (5), food quality (12), information on nutritional and healthy food choice (6), restaurant's accessibility (1), availability (1), and affordability (1) was used. In addition, an expert assessment of restaurant sanitation, and information on nutritional·healthy food choice was conducted through visiting 126 restaurants.


Scores (range of score : 1~7) for each factors assessing the restaurant food environment were 5.06 for sanitation factors, 5.05 for displaying information factors, 5.13 for taste·appearance factors, and 4.35 for healthy menu factors. Informations on nutritional·healthy food choice showed a low rate: only 16.24% of the subjects answered that there is a message encouraging choice of healthy foods and 27.4% answered that menus contain nutritional information. Significant differences in food environment were observed by region (city, town, rural). The restaurants food environment in the rural area turned out to be poorer than that of the other two areas. In comparison of customer perception and expert assessment, significant differences were observed for 'Employee appearances and uniforms are clean and tidy' (p < .05), and 'There is a message encouraging the choice of healthy foods' (p < .05).


This study provided evidence for differences of restaurant food environment by regions. In the rural area, there is a problem in restaurant's accessibility, availability, and affordability because of a lack of variety in menu items and restaurants. This results suggest that there is a need for more healthy food restaurants in the rural area.

Keywords: restaurant food environment; Korean restaurant; customer perception


Table 1
Structure of the questionnaire
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Table 2
Reliability and validity analysis
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Table 3
General characteristics of the subjects
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Table 4
General characteristics of the subjects by regions
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Table 5
Customer perception of restaurant food environment by regions
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Table 6
Customer perception of information on nutritional and healthy food choice by regions
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Table 7
Comparison of customer perception of restaurant's Accessibility, Availability, and Affordability by regions
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Table 8
Comparison of customer perception and expert assessment about sanitation
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Table 9
Comparison of customer perception and expert assessment about nutritional·healthy food choice information
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This work was carried out with the support of "Cooperative Research Program for Agriculture Science & Technology Development (Project No. PJ008995)" Rural Development Administration.

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