Current Weather
The Spy FM

Ordering Food Online? That’ll Be More Calories, Cost And Complexity

Filed by KOSU News in US News.
July 23, 2012

Think about it — when you order something online, you avoid long lines, there are infinite options at your fingertips, and no one can see your face. So it comes as little surprise, then, when people order food online, they might go a little overboard.

Actually, sometimes a lot overboard.

Ryan McDevitt, an assistant professor at the University of Rochester’s Simon Graduate School of Business, examined 160,000 orders of a North Carolina pizza chain over four years. He found that online orders by the same people who had previously ordered in traditional ways were 15 percent more complex, 4 percent pricier, and 6 percent more calorific. For example, people quadrupled their bacon toppings online.

But as McDevitt told the Wall Street Journal blog Real Time Economics recently, people may just feel less inhibited when ordering food online.

“They have the same choices as before, but they’re removing the social transaction costs,” he says. “From my own personal experience, I feel more comfortable ordering something online than at the counter.”

For example, somebody standing in a long line at the coffee shop may decide against ordering a double-whip grande skim mocha latte with an extra shot if they notice 15 people behind them checking their watches — or not.

The research suggesting lower consumer inhibitions lead to more and different purchases has implications for Web sales beyond just calorie-loaded pizzas, McDevitt suggests.

“Because the potential embarrassment experienced from purchasing a pizza is comparatively limited, an even more dramatic shift in the sales distribution seems likely for more sensitive products when consumers become able to transact anonymously,” the paper says.

We were thinking about personal health care products. What were you thinking? [Copyright 2012 National Public Radio]

Leave a Reply

9AM to 10AM The Takeaway

The Takeaway

A fresh alternative in morning news, "The Takeaway" provides a breadth and depth of world, national and regional news coverage that is unprecedented in public media.

Listen Live Now!

10AM to 11PM On Point

On Point

On Point unites distinct and provocative voices with passionate discussion as it confronts the stories that are at the center of what is important in the world today. Leaving no perspective unchallenged, On Point digs past the surface and into the core of a subject, exposing each of its real world implications.

View the program guide!

11AM to 12PM The Story

The Story

The Story with Dick Gordon brings the news home through first-person accounts. The live weekday program is passionate, personal, immediate and relevant to listeners, focusing on the news where it changes our lives, causes us to stop and rethink, inspires us.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center