Globally, research has indicated an increase in the use of food away from home for various reasons. In South Africa, the sit-down and fast-food restaurant industries have shown a growth in income over the last decade. However, internationally, research that explores the food away from home market in developing countries, such as South Africa, is limited. The aim of this study was to look at the market for food away from home and its consumption among Tshwane households. It was deemed important to investigate this growth to comprehend which factors influence the use of food away from home among consumers. To obtain the necessary data to meet this aim, a situational analysis was conducted. A database of the key role-players in the Tshwane Metropolitan Urban food away from home market resulted. An electronic questionnaire was developed and distributed to respondents selected either through multi-stage stratified or referral sampling. The questionnaire, adapted from an existing food choice questionnaire, contained questions relating to demographics, food consumption in general, and several factors believed to influence food away from consumption. Data analysis involved the use of descriptive statistics, inferential statistics in the form of a Chi-square test and exploratory factor analysis.
The location of the establishments was mapped using a geographic information system (GIS). This gave an overview of the market and was used for the sampling procedure. Results of consumers overall use of food away from home per establishment, and per individual menu item, provide evidence that, although certain restaurants and particular menu items are very popular with Tshwane consumers, in most cases, consumption of food away from home does not take place weekly. This possibly indicates that Tshwane residents think of food away from home as a form of socialisation, mostly over the weekend, as it tends to be viewed as a luxury and not the norm.
The food choice questionnaire was subsequently adapted to examine the influences that play a role in food away from home consumption. Exploratory factor analysis reduced the items into coherent factors. The factors that influence food away from home consumption were thus identified as: health (? = 0.913); sensory appeal (? = 0.776); convenience (? = 0.818); physical setting (? = 0.613); mood (? = 0.873); comfort (? = 0.754); ethical concerns; (? = 0.733) and establishment appeal (? = 0.75). From the factor means, it is clear that the sensory appeal of food away from home is the most important consideration for Tshwane consumers. The appearance of the establishment is also viewed as a factor that influences customers consumption experience. Ethical concerns received decidedly less consideration among the households under investigation. To appeal to the market, business practices in the restaurant industry need to address in the quality of the food product and the hygienic appearance and maintenance of the facilities themselves.