1.0 Hamburg by German sailors anchoring Baltic ports.

1.0 Introduction

This
chapter offers a brief outline on the background of the study and sheds light
on the status and magnitude of the research problem, the research objectives
and questions, theoretical framework as well as a justification or significance
of the study, delimitations, assumptions and limitations. This chapter further
provides key terms and abbreviations well explained and expanded.

The
origin of fast food industry dates back to 1800s relating Thomas Jefferson who
brought the French recipe for “pommes frites” (French Fries) for the
first time to the US in 1802 (Bedoya, 2003). Despite, French fries had not been
popular until 1920s (Schlosser, 2002). Another fast food favorite has a similar
interesting story that is hamburger. This hamburger is originally a Russian
recipe that was brought to Hamburg by German sailors anchoring Baltic ports.
Afterwards, these sailors migrated to Cincinnati and keep devouring this
Russian delicacy (Fantasia, 1995).

Thus,
the history of modern fast food industry is of at least hundred years old
(Schlosser, 2002). It was first introduced in the early 1900s with automatic
vending machines from which simple foods and drinks could be bought by
inserting right coins in the machine (Chavadi and Kokatnur, 2008). This
innovative idea was picked up by the business community who made it popular
with a slogan of “less work for mothers” and it later brought a huge change in
the habit of the people in taking their foods. This concept also earned easy
acceptance by the customers in cars, public commuters and trains (Chavadi and
Kokatnur, 2008).

Another
important fact associated with the development of fast food popularity is the
massive entrance of women into the workforce right after the World War II when
people were in search for alternatives for efficient food preparation (Bedoya,
2003). The modern fast food restaurant was appeared to be one step forward
toward more efficient food consumption (Ritzer, 1996). Hence, fast food came
into existence partially because of a need to “eat on the run” (Bedoya, 2003).
Following this need, restaurants evolved into fast food layouts with services like
early drive through or drive-in restaurants (Schlosser, 2002).

 

In this current age of globalization
where businesses are spreading across different countries, culture plays a
significant role in the management and operations of enterprises. Among the
diverse elements of culture, food is one of the most sensitive and the
preferences and behaviour of consumers towards food consumption are widely
visible across countries (Asamoah and Chovancová, 2011a). Within Ghana’s
domestic market, the restaurant sector was the largest and fastest growing part
of the economy. The growth rate in the restaurant sector had been at 20% and
was predicted to continue at that rate for some time. Growth was occurring
among new upscale restaurants that served continental or ethnic foods (such as
Chinese) as well as new fast food outlets (Ashitey, 2008). There were three
identifiable segments within the fast food market in Ghana: strong indigenous
brands, international franchise outlets, and single, neighborhood
establishments (Omari, Jongerden, Owusu Essegbey, Frempong, & Ruivenkamp,
2013). While fast food was generally considered inexpensive to consumers in
Western countries, it was costly in developing countries like Ghana. This was
due to the large investment and overhead costs associated with restaurant
development, along with the prestige associated with eating out of the home. Fast
food in developing countries tended to be sold at Western prices, but the
average income was considerably less, so eating at restaurants was a luxury,
but one that a younger, educated, growing middle class was embracing
(Veselinovic, 2015).

 

1.1  Background of the study

Rapid urbanization coupled with busy
lifestyle and advancement in technology has greatly changed the way of life of
many people including people in the developing countries. The effects of these
changes have altered the tradition of cooking and eating at home. People are
now more reliant on ready-to-eat meals offered by businesses for their daily
sustenance and popular among them are fast foods.

 

The fast food
industry’s growth has been spurred on by globalization and the general increase
in the incomes of the wider global population. More-so in the developing world,
more inclusive economic growth has created a new market for the fast food
industry, particularly due to the increased demand for and consumption of
convenient, quick serving and ready-made meals (Tabassum & Rahman, 2012). This
new fast food Industry has unlocked the development of retail centers in townships
and rural areas in Ghana.

 

Brands have become one of the most discussed phenomena of market
research in recent years. Branding, therefore, has become a very significant
concept in just about all organizations. Brand image is the current view of the
customers about a brand. The impressions consumers have of a company extend
well beyond the product or service the firm provides. According to Porter
(1985) brand image is a mental image that reflects the way a brand is
perceived, including all the identifying elements, the product or company
personality, and the emotions and associations evoked in the consumer’s mind.
It can be defined as a unique bundle of associations within the minds of target
customers. Keller (2003) defines brand image as perceptions about a brand as
reflected by the brand associations held in consumer memory. It is a set of
beliefs held about a specific brand. In short, it is nothing but the consumers’
perception about the product. It is the manner in which a specific brand is
positioned in the market. A positive brand image can be considered as a crucial
ability of a corporation to hold its market position. Brand image consist of
other variables which include brand awareness and brand reputation. Brand
awareness refers to the extent to which consumers are familiar and have
knowledge about a brand. Awareness enables the consumer to recognize and recall
a brand in different situations, Aaker (1996). Brand awareness also acts as
critical factor in the consumer purchase intention and certain brands will
accumulate in consumer’s mind to influence consumer purchase decision.
Recently, the rising of consumer consciousness has made consumers
to choose to purchase their familiar and favorable brand. Hence if businesses
want to overtake their competitors, they have to make sure that consumers like
their products or brands. Branding
experts argue that customer experiences are at the heart of a brand, and if a
company wants consumers to fall in love with their brand, then they need to
improve customer experiences (DuPre , 2015). Macdonald
and Sharp (2000) mentioned that even though consumers familiarize and are
willing to purchase a product, brand awareness is still an important factor to
influence purchase behavior. J. Rayport and B. Jaworki (2003) states that the
when a decision to purchase a product is made, personal evaluation of product
purchase process begins. A satisfied consumer will demonstrate the loyalty to
the brand in a way that shows the willingness to repeat the purchase and
provide positive comment to the social group using word of mouth technique,
Schultz (2005). The purchase decision can be stimulated by the knowledge of the
brand and consumer trend to rely on the brand image they are already aware of.
Brand image is constructed through advertising, word of mouth, celebrities, media.
This is done through creating a specific meaning to a brand, Muniz and O’Guim
(2001).

It is found that positive brand image could influence customer
loyalty so that they would repurchase more product or service and recommend
others to buy as much as 41.8%.  They
distributed 394 questionnaires using seven fast food brands like McDonald’s,
Burger King, Hardee’s, Jakobe’s, KFC, Lotteria, and Popeye. It shows that
McDonald’s got the highest brand equity. The study revealed that the rank of
the most visited restaurants were McDonald’s (50.3%), followed by KFC (26.5%),
and Pizza Hut (15.3%). Where’as the rest, like A&W, Texas Fried Chicken,
Wendy’s, and Popeye were only visited by 2%.

Recently
in Ghana the Fast Food industry constitutes about 8%-10% of the national
industrial output thus a major contributor towards the national economy.
Currently  there are more than ten fast
food outlets which include Chicken inn, Mawarko, Nandos, Steers, Papaye, KFC, Frankies,
only to mention a few. Recent
trends in food demand show that the concept of food has undergone a radical
transformation in recent years. Ghanaian fast food brand image constitutes of
the Logo, packaging, the taste, service quality, hygienic conditions, price,
and quantity, among the others. Although fast food
chains have enjoyed unimaginable success in the 21st century, the
fast food industry is under threat as society becomes increasingly concerned
with both the health effects
of this kind of food and the way it is produced. Today foods are not intended
to only satisfy hunger and to provide necessary nutrients for humans but also
to prevent nutrition related diseases and to improve physical and mental
wellbeing of the consumers, Menrad (2003). Consumers are also worried about the
reliability and the readily availability of the fast food for they are spending
most of their lunch hours standing in long queues for the food. The other
aspect that is hindering the Ghanaian fast food industry is the unavailability
of a lot of dishes in the fast food restaurants and some food outlets are very
expensive. Due to stiff completion packaging and the colours that constitute
have become close to same making it hard for consumers to quickly depict
between brands. Most of these fast food’s prices are relatively high, because
they are mostly found in the central part of big cities, therefore causing long
delays in acquiring meals during lunch hours or rush hours. This study will explore how consumers perceive any brand and
examine the effect of brand image on consumer behavior in the Ghanaian fast
food industry. There is significant research gap linking brand image and
consumer behavior thus the present study aims to gather primary data from the
consumer of the fast food products about the degree of influence of brand image
on their behavior. 

 

1.2 Statement of the problem

Customer
activities effectiveness has been questioned given the increased rate of food
outlets. The increased rate of food outlets has impacted differently on
consumer perception through such issues as health effects, quality, price and
so forth. To add on, factors such as packaging and corporate color have almost
become the same therefore making it hard for consumers to quickly identify
their fast food brand. Hygiene conditions, long queues, unavailability of a
variety of food menus, and how these fast food outlets are located has also
been an issue that have had a huge impact on what a consumer would consider as
the image or representation of a company. With this in mind, the purpose of the
study is therefore to conceptualize and measure brand imagery elements and
their influence on consumers through examining the effect of brand image on
consumer behavior in the Ghanaian fast food industry.

1.3  Research objectives

To
identify components that constitutes brand image of a company.To
analyse consumer perception on brand image in the fast food industry.To
analyse how brand awareness influence consumer purchasing and repeat
purchasing behaviour.To
recommend strategies to be adopted by the fast food industry in developing
a desirable brand image.

 

1.4
Research questions

What
are the components that constitutes brand image of a company?Why
do consumers prefer one brand over the other in the fast food industry?To
what extend does brand awareness encourage consumer purchasing and repeat
purchasing behaviour?What
are the possible ways to maintain a good brand image in the fast food
industry?

 

1.5
Significance of the study

The researcher will add a contribution that helps both the firm
and the policy makers to be aware of the current situation of consumer
behaviour in the fast food industry towards brand image and to forecast the
future of these markets. The findings of this study are also important for the
government bodies interested in designing public health programs.

To the researcher

The researcher is given an opportunity to have an in-depth
understanding of the concepts of consumer behaviour and brand image in relation
to the performance of the fast food industries. The research process will
impact the culture of researching in the mind of the student. The research
process will offer the researcher an opportunity to have personal time
management assessment.

 

To the customer

Research sought to allow for an improvement on the product that
they usually buy. The research aims to give greater chance that customer
expectations would be met.

To the university

The research will be a form of a base for further studies to be
done around the topic by other researchers and helps bridge the gap that is
created by this challenge.

1.6 Research assumptions

The respondents cooperated and
answered the questions correctly.All the required information was
accessible.All responses from questionnaires to
the sample population are reliable and they can be used to represent the
whole population.

 

1.7 Delimitations of the study

The
scope of the research was limited to the effectiveness of brand image on
consumer behaviour in the fast food industry the research was conducted within Ghanaian
national boundaries, in Accra. Fast food consumers were considered as the
respondents. Participants in this research constitute hundred (200) people and
this sample was a representative of the whole population.

1.8 Limitations.

One
of the greatest challenges that the researcher encountered during the
commencement of the research was time. The financial resources that were
required to cover all the requisite costs associated with the production of
this research were limited. Furthermore, some respondents were unwilling to
divulge information that they felt was private and confidential, thereby
limiting the researcher. The researcher reassured the respondents that the
findings will be held in confidence and be used for academic purposes only.

 

1.9
Definition of terms

Brand
– It is a name, term, sign, symbol, design or a combination of these that identifies
the makers or sellers of the product or services.

Brand
image – Is a set of beliefs, ideas and impression that an individual
holds concerning an object.

Brand
recall – This is when consumers correctly
generate the brand from memory.

Brand
recognition – This is when
consumers correctly distinguish the brand as having previously seen or heard.

Brand
loyalty – It is an attachment that a customer has to a brand.

Brand
awareness – It can be referred to as the as the ability of consumers to
recognize or remember a brand.

Brand
equity – It is a set of brand assets and liabilities linked to a brand,
its name and symbol that add to or subtract from the value provided by a
product or service to a firm and/or to that firm’s customers.

Consumer
behaviour – It is the process where persons or groups select, buy, use,
or dispose of goods, services, ideas or experiences to satisfy needs and wants.

 

1.10
Organisation of the research report

Chapter
one

Chapter
one gives the research and establishes the foundation of succeeding
chapters.  It begins with the background
of the study followed with the statement of the problem, research objectives,
research questions, significance of the study, scope of the study, limitation
of the study, definition of terms, organisation of the research report and the
chapter summary.

Chapter
two

This
chapter presents literature review from other authors. It looks at different
approaches of the research topic. It also explains the historical background of
the study, it clarifies the gap of the research, compares the schools of
thought and to delimit the research problem.

 

 

Chapter
three

The
third chapter discuses pertinent issues in data collection, from both primary
and secondary sources and analysis. It looked at the introduction, research
designs, population and sample, sampling procedures, research instruments, data
collection and procedures, data analysis and presentation procedures, validity
and reliability, ethical considerations and finally the chapter summary.

Chapter
four

Presentation
of findings will be done in chapter four. These findings are further analysed
and brought into context of the research. Finally these findings are critically
analysed.

Chapter
five

This
chapter consist of conclusive argument and discussion of the current research
limitations. With respect to the current research, future directions are also
evaluated.

 

1.11 CHAPTER SUMMARY

Fast
food businesses have been growing in popularity in Ghana in the past
decades. Run by both local entrepreneurs and foreign multinational firms, they
serve the Ghanaian consumer with variety of exotic dishes including pizza, hamburgers,
fried chicken, French fries etc. Their operations are more formal and are
generally located in buildings on the high streets or buzzing areas of cities
and gas stations. There is however a paucity of
national data and literature on consumer perceptions and preferences of fast
food consumption in the country. This paper therefore sought to fill the
research gap by exploring the influencing factors, perception and preference of
fast food consumers in the Ghanaian society with particular emphasis on
students in tertiary education.

The chapter looked at the main thrust of the
research study through background of the research, statement of the problem,
research objectives, research questions and conceptual framework. Similarly,
looking at the importance of the study through significance of the study. The
chapter gave insights into matters that could affect or not affect the study
through delimitations, assumptions and limitations of the study. The chapter
finishes with definition of key terms.